As the ‘First Friday’ of the series in this year’s Buechner Breakfasts on the first Friday of the month, School of Public Affairs Dean Paul Teske moderated the Sept. 2 discussion dealing with the Federal Debt in the Future and Colorado’s Consequences.
With unemployment in the U.S. at 9 percent and the presidential campaigns ramping up, Americans are getting “a lot of different messages on what’s happening,” said Andy Merritt, district director for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman. He also pointed out “Election years are a loss as it relates to policy.” Merritt added that he doesn't expect to see anything major until next year with possible acceleration around the end of this year.
Questioned by Teske about the potential impacts for Colorado, Merritt noted "Colorado has a lot of government-funded research and contracts. A lot of this defense funding could go away."
Panelist Henry Dubroff, Denver Post opinion writer and entrepreneur, quoted Winston Churchill " 'You can count on the Americans to do the right thing when they've exhausted all other alternatives.' I think we're out of alternatives," said Dubroff.
Dubroff also said the future of Medicaid is in serious jeopardy without some policy changes. "I do think we're headed to entitlement reform."
Lauren Larson, former chief of the Treasury Branch at the Office of Management and Budget and senior advisor at the IRS said "We need to look at all of our programs side-by-side to determine the best actions."
She pointed to the attention focused on President Obama's announcement this week (Sept. 8) because "it sounds like he is coming up with a jobs plan to boost our confidence in the economy."
The next Buechner Breakfast topic is Ballot Issues and Education Fixes in Colorado, and is scheduled for Oct. 7.
The Buechner Breakfast is presented through the Beuchner Institute for Governance named for John Buechner, School of Public Affairs faculty member who has served in a variety of roles including as University of Colorado President and University of Colorado Denver Chancellor.