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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bob Bixby’s Lecture, “The U.S. Fiscal Deficit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”: Student Summary

We encourage students to submit summaries of Rockefeller Center sponsored and co-sponsored programs.  Read a student's account of a recent campus lecture by Bob Bixby, Executive Director of the Concord Coalition.

Usually, I’m not that enthusiastic about attending lectures in addition to normal class hours. But for my public policy class, my professor encouraged us to attend “The U.S. Fiscal Deficit: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Because I really wasn’t sure what a “fiscal cliff” was, I decided to attend the lecture.  I can honestly say that I am glad to have attended and now have a greater interest and understanding of what it is.


Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition gave a great, easy-to-understand presentation on the current status of the fiscal cliff and the greater debt crisis, both topics that easily confuse people.  What also made the presentation enjoyable was that my own professor, Charlie Wheelan, and classmate Adrian Ferrari ’14 were on the panel of speakers. Adrian commented to me afterwards, “I thought that Bixby did a great job with respect to outlining some of the basic budgetary problems American faces. Professor Wheelan gave a very relatable presentation about the failure of political leadership.” It was exciting to watch them give a great presentation.

I learned many things from the lecture, one of which is that policymakers need to take action about the fiscal cliff starting NOW. There would be catastrophic consequences if we reached the fiscal cliff, including a possible recession and cuts in important government programs like Medicare. The panelists also discussed the disconnect between ordinary American citizens and policymakers. Americans understand that something needs to be done, but they don’t want to necessarily give up the programs they rely on. Despite these political obstacles, Bob Bixby noted that there is still hope if we act soon. Most importantly, he reminded us that action can be taken by leaders outside of the political arena, even by college students like myself.

For more information on the lecture, please visit The Dartmouth's website. 

-Courtney Wong ’15

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