Some experts and policymakers believe our country could do more to prevent problems before they occur.

Dear Editor, Some experts and policymakers believe our country could do more to prevent problems before they occur. In particular, instead of postponing our response to the nation’s budget problems, we should use our resources today to prevent them from becoming worse. áNew reports show that current patterns in U.S. spending and revenue can’t be continued in the long run. Decisions must be made about the goals we want our country to meet and how we raise the money to meet them; there are steps we can take today to prevent fiscal problems from becoming bigger and more costly to fix. áThe solutions we come up with will be important to all Americans.

The options that Congress and President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will have to consider to rein in our future budget deficits will not be easy or popular – whether by raising taxes or by cutting vital programs like our military or Medicare. Unfortunately, it is hard to believe that enough political leaders will step forward to make these tough choices without a clear message from the American public that we are ready to make compromises to put our fiscal house in order. á

Here’s where you come in: on une 26, Chicagoland residents will join communities across the country in an unprecedented discussion about our federal budget. Hosted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan AmericaSpeaks, the event will focus on solutions we can develop together. Those solutions will be shared with leaders in Washington including President Obama and members of Congress. Local organizations such as the All Stars Project of Chicago; El Valor; Illinois League of Women’s Voters; the MacArthur Foundation; Mikva Challenge Foundation; and Wheaton College’s J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy are among many that have stepped up to ensure that Chicagoans from all walks of life have a chance to join in this important conversation.

Chicago is one of six cities hosting the largest of the forums, each of which will be linked by satellite and the Internet for what will be a truly national conversation.

The looming fiscal crisis is one of those moments where we must work hard and speak firmly about how to avoid disaster. Chicago has a chance to make a difference. By taking part in the discussion, we can send a message to Congress about the kind of nation and community we want to be. á Herman Brewer ááááá

Acting President and CEO ááááá

Chicago Urban League áááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááááá

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender.

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