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Many Ways to Stay Involved
August 4th, 2010

By Joe Goldman, AmericaSpeaks

AmericaSpeaks will ensure that the priorities expressed at the June 26 National Town Meeting are heard by leaders in Washington. Already, we have briefed dozens of members of Congress and their staffs. We will also continue to work with local groups across the country to help strengthen our democracy by convening diverse groups of Americans on other topics.

You can stay involved by watching for new articles and updates at the Our Budget, Our Future blog, hosting your own conversation on the nation’s fiscal future, and sharing your story about participating in the National Town Meeting with others.

You can also join or follow one of the many policy and advocacy organizations that are working on this issue from across the political spectrum. Take a look at the groups below (listed in alphabetical order) and sign up to join any of them that address your priorities and point of view. Let us know if there are other important groups that are missing from this list.

  • American Enterprise Institute: A conservative think tank that is “committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise.”
  • Bipartisan Policy Center: “The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a non-profit organization that was established in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell to develop and promote solutions that can attract public support and political momentum in order to achieve real progress.”
  • Brookings Institution: A left-of-center think tank that focuses on three areas: “strengthen American democracy; foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.”
  • Center for American Progress: A liberal think tank that is “dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action.”
  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: A left-of-center think tank that focuses on budget and tax policy to “help ensure that policymakers consider the needs of low-income families and individuals.”
  • Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: An initiative of the New America Foundation that seeks to educate the public about fiscal issues and is made up of past Directors of the Budget Committees, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget and the Federal Reserve Board.
  • Concord Coalition: A “grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about the causes and consequences of federal budget deficits, the long-term challenges facing America’s unsustainable entitlement programs, and how to build a sound foundation for economic growth.”
  • Economic Policy Institute: A liberal think tank that seeks to “broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers.”
  • Fiscal High Road: A project of Demos, The Century Foundation, and the Economic Policy Institute to “help strengthen social insurance programs and develop a roadmap for a fair and responsible federal budget.”
  • Heritage Foundation: A conservative think tank that seeks to “formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”
  • OurFiscalFuture.org: A website hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration and Public Agenda to compliment a report about reducing long-term deficits by the NAPA/NRC Committee on the Fiscal Future of the United States, called Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future.
  • Peter G. Peterson Foundation: A foundation with the mission to “increase public awareness of the nature and urgency of key economic challenges threatening America’s future and accelerate action on them.”
  • Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center: A joint project of two left-of-center think tanks, the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, which “provides timely, accessible analysis and facts about tax policy to policymakers, journalists, citizens, and researchers.”

Take some time to follow or join any of these organizations to stay informed and engaged.

  • Chris Lowe

    As a participant in Portland, Oregon, I think that if you are going to include such longstanding ideologically committed groups hostile to Social Security and Medicare as the Peterson Foundation you should have the good grace to include links to Social Security Works and to Healthcare NOW! which advocate for defense of our social safety net.

    http://www.healthcare-now.org/ (Medicare focus)

  • James Salsman

    Chris, I am sure that it wasn't as bad as a lynch-mob, but I am sad to say that the agenda was in fact pre-determined by the organizations listed above; some more than others. I believe the results were as close to accurate as could be expected given the pre-selected choices which did not bracket the expected responses of the participants based on national opinion polls.

    Please join me in asking AmericaSpeaks to produce a survey not designed by partisan committees, but from a priori knowledge of citizen's preferences, hopes, dreams, and desire, as measured every month by independent polling agencies. And please join me in asking that the choices address the most pressing budget problems instead of ignoring extreme weather cost increases and the most popular health reforms.

    For more information please see http://3.ly/usabudgetitems

  • Bhudson

    You seem anxious to identify the "left of center" institutions, but fail to place a "right of center" designation on the Peterson Foundation and the Concord Coalition.

  • Having attended the town-meeting in Augusta, Maine, on June 26, it is nice to see confirmation, in the diversity of this list of NGO-thinktanks, that I was not part of a partisan lynch-mob with its pre-determined agenda.
    But I would suggest an item for the agenda that should be pre-determined: the war on terror. War on what, who, where, why? It is the fabulous exaggeration of the idea of Beltway irresponsibility that brings Humpty-Dumpty to mind. I wonder what political crisis brought forth that metaphor? If Israel is the yolk of that egg, then ending the war on terror and its wastes and evasions of responsibility is as easy as calling on Israel to establish a secular state for all its citizens, including the defacto ones in Gaza, the West Bank, and in exile. Israel should adopt a Bill of Rights on the US model.
    Poof! The fairy tale ends, we get a good night's sleep, and tomorrow we get to work--wow, what a crazy party it must have been. My mixed metaphor fails for a good reason. We must act like adults now. There is no adult waiting in the wings to tell us what to do.
    "If you meet the Buddha on the way, kill him." I.e., we made this mess and we must solve it.

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