The title of this blog is borrowed from an organization Fix the Debt: Citizen’s Petition – Fix The Debt. I had an opportunity to hear a speaker from Fix the Debt recently – Paul Stebbins, Executive Chairman, World Fuel Services Corporation. He was both articulate and very passionate. We should all be passionate about this issue.
During the 2012 edition of the INCPAS Professional Issues Update, I spent about 15 minutes at the end of the program talking about the issue. Some members thought the topic, or at least my presentation of the topic, was inappropriate. For example, one member commented:
I feel strongly that a line was crossed with this year’s PIU. I feel totally inappropriate to inject political views and/or address the govt deficit. The Society whether intended or not crossed a line with the video of the CPA and his organization focusing on fiscal responsibility. The Video whether intended or not was “pro Ryan” commercial, too. [sic]
Well, I appreciate everyone’s personal views on a wide variety of topics. But I assure you, this – the national debt – is not a political issue. This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democratic issue. It’s not an Independent or Libertarian issue. It doesn’t matter who occupies the White House or controls the Congress. The issue of the fiscal condition of the United States is an American issue. It is a moral issue. It should be of interest and concern to all of us. Take one minute to watch this video, We the People Say: Fix the Debt!
And it’s not just people “on the street.” The Wall Street Journal on October 25, 2012, included a front page, headline article, CEOs Call for Deficit Action (Reuters). These CEOs (along with others) present a compelling argument:
“There is no possible way; you can do the arithmetic a million different ways” to avoid raising taxes, said Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna. “You can’t tax your way to fix this problem, and you can’t cut entitlements enough to fix this problem.”
We will all need to “feel some pain” if we, as citizens, are willing to address the fiscal challenges ahead of us. Some taxes will go up and some programs will be cut.
There are other resources if you want to learn more. One such resource is from the AICPA – What’s at Stake? A CPA’s Insights into the Federal Government’s Finances
And after the election, no matter who wins, we need to take responsibility to deliver messages to our elected officials that we expect (demand) for them to work together to find solutions to our current fiscal situation.