The National Debt and You

You may have noticed that lately I have not been blogging quite as often as usual and wondered what on earth I might be doing.  For the past three months I have been consulting on a project called, and while I’m planning to start blogging more regularly again, I didn’t want to get back into the swing of things without first telling you more about this project. is a public awareness campaign dedicated to educating mothers about important issues that will impact their children today and in the future. It is a project of Intellectual Takeout, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. Before I tell you more, let’s take care of that gorilla in the room and talk politics briefly.

Yes, if you read through all of the information at Intellectual Takout, you’ll find a point of view that is right of center.

No, is not about politics, lobbying, or elections.  It’s about education.

And now what you really want to know (she writes sarcastically…).  I personally fall both left and right of center depending on the subject.  Generally I’m fiscally conservative and socially very liberal.  Those far to the left usually berate me for being conservative, and conservatives have been know to call me a flaming liberal.

Now that we’ve taken care of that, we can focus on what really matters – educating folks about the national debt.

The Orange Couch

When I moved into my first apartment in 1998, my parents gave me an eight piece sectional circa 1984 with burnt orange velor fabric.  That phenomenally heavy Goliath of a couch served its time in that apartment for two years before making the journey to my first apartment with my then fiance, now husband.  It again moved when we bought our townhouse and in 2003, the orange beast set up shop in the family room of our first single family home.  Sometime between moving into our home and having our second child, I decided that enough was enough.  Our family was fiscally fit, our daughter was not a furniture destroyer, and I wanted to – gasp! -purchase my own sectional.  Preferably one that was not orange.

But we didn’t.

Instead I went with my great aunt to an upholstery fabric store, bought green pre-washed denim on sale, and turned my dining room into a third world quality factory.  By the time my son was born I had completely recovered the orange beast and today our lovely green sectional furnishes our rec room.

The National Debt

Somewhere along the way our nation decided that it’s better to throw away completely useful orange couches and borrow money to buy gorgeous leather sectionals from overpriced furniture stores.  Yes, this is a horrible oversimplification of the fiscal crisis our country is facing, but the point is this.  The lessons that many of us learned and still follow in our own homes today are seemingly being ignored by our nation’s leaders.

Check it out:

  • Currently the National Debt is more than 14 trillion dollars
  • In 2010 Congress spent 1.3 trillion dollars more than it budgeted
  • Congress raised the debt ceiling six times since 2006 and may again this spring
  • Congress borrows 38 cents of every dollar it spends
  • To pay off the National Debt it would cost every taxpayer $125,000.  That’s 125 leather sectionals

What You Can Do

The point of this project and this post is not to ask you to write to your legislators or even your local media, although both of those things are certainly within your rights.  Instead, what you can do is educate yourself about the budget deficit, the national debt, the debt ceiling, the balanced budget amendment and all things related to this not particularly exciting yet incredibly important topic. One place to start is at where you can learn more and find videos to share on Facebook.  The MomThink bloggers delved into the topic more deeply this week by traveling to Washington, DC to meet with elected officials and their staff to discuss the national debt.  In meetings with Congressman Roskam as well as with representatives from Rep. Paul Ryan, Rep. David Price, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Rep. Coffman and Speaker Boehner’s offices, the blogging team learned about upcoming legislation that may affect the future of the national debt, a bit about how we got here in the first place (hint…it’s a bipartisan problem), and how we may get out of it in the future (bigger hint…it requires a bipartisan solution).

Now it’s time to share the resources we gathered on this fact finding mission, including:

House Democrats Re: the Economy

Budget Committee Republicans

Balanced Budget Amendment Caucus

You can also check out the latest video:

So now that you’re thinking…what do you think?

MomThink Bloggers

(front row: Mariana Perez, Jenny Erikson, me!, Kimberly Seals Allers – back row: Molly Gold, Tara Kuczykowski, Representative Peter Roskam, Jennifer Fedor, Mandi Ehman, Julie Pippert, Molly Teichman, Allison Worthington)

Disclosure: I am a paid consultant to the communications team. I was not required to write nor compensated for writing this post.  I was not compensated for my participation in this week’s events nor were my travel expenses covered.  Bloggers participating in this program are independent bloggers and their opinions are their own.  They have not been compensated for their participation.  Their travel and related expenses were paid.

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  • I just want you to know that I am thrilled about this project. I can’t tell you how many times I have shaken my head in exasperation at how ridiculous the debt is and how out of control spending is.

    I’m not usually political either, all I ask is that SOMEONE listen. REALLY listen.

  • Amy ~ you chose wisely to spend your time away from your blog working with ITO to make MomThink come alive ~ there will much to share and learn and you are truely resourceful for making that door to heightened awareness and self education open both in your community and at large. Great job!

  • […] The National Debt and You – No!  Don’t run away.  (I totally would with that title.)  Amy does a superb job of explaining the problem in “mom terms” and well, if you DO click over to read the post, you might want to know that MY first couch was a red and gold striped hide-a-bed hand-me-down. […]

  • Interesting project. Something I always worry about when it comes to political PR is that the message will get trimmed so much that it becomes a caricature of itself. The “story” of the story becomes the focus.

    I know that we as citizens have severe attention deficit issues when it comes to things like this, and I really look forward to seeing how MomThink frames the problem. Hopefully this doesn’t end up as just another reason for moms to “express an opinion” rather than really consider solutions.

    Kudos, Amy! Looking forward to following along.