GOP math: $5.15 = $5 million
House hunting hurdles

Listen up, D.C.

In the wake of the House of Representatives' effort to add $300 billion over the next decade to the country's deficit via a tricked up mess of a tax bill, comes a report of ordinary citizens who think their leaders -- our leaders -- aren't taking the best steps to solve our most pressing political, social and fiscal problems.

A group of average Janes and Joes met a couple of weeks ago to examine several hot-button issues facing America and suggest solutions. The result: Most think we need higher taxes.

Many even say repeal of the president's trademark 2001 tax cuts is warranted. Yep, those cuts that the House early Saturday morning voted to expand.

True, this was an exercise, a one-day hypothetical look at the country's problems and ways to deal with them. No real pressure and no worries about implementation or what the actual results of their opinions might bring.

But, according to Edmund Andrews' story in today's New York Times, the diverse group he observed as they deliberated in Philadelphia was not as polarized as Capitol Hill. And, more noteworthy, its members weren't averse to making tough choices.

Before you dismiss the report because it appears in the liberal Times, let me point out that the session sponsors were three very politically and philosophically different groups: the Brookings Institution, a center-to-left leaning organization; the Heritage Foundation, planted solidly on the right; and the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan fiscal policy group.

In addition to the Philadelphia panel, similar conferences were held in San Diego and Kansas City. Complete results will be published later this summer.

When the full report comes out, I hope the researchers hand deliver copies to every Member of Congress.


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