Monday, February 23, 2009

Imagination Emergency

President Obama is gathering a couple hundred of the best and brightest for today's Fiscal Responsibility Summit:

The White House "Fiscal Responsibility Summit" gets under way today for a marathon session on long-term budget-busters such as Social Security, Medicare, federal purchasing and tax policy.

The session, our colleagues Ceci Connolly and Lori Montgomery report, is intended in part to counter Republican criticism that the new administration's costly response to the economic crisis is needlessly pushing the country deeper into debt.

The bipartisan meeting features five topic-specific breakout sessions, and will include lawmakers, economists and a range of special interest leaders. A full list of the attendees and breakout group moderator follows.

Breakout Groups:

Social Security
Moderators: Chair of the National Economic Council Larry Summers and Gene Sperling of the Treasury Department

Moderators: OMB Director Peter Orszag and Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes

Tax Reform
Moderators: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer

Budget Process
Moderators: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Deputy OMB Director Rob Nabors

Moderators: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew, and Rahm Emanuel

You think there will be Post It notes? You know there will be Post It notes. How about weighted multivoting?

My Post It note would read: CUT SPENDING and it would get all my votes.

The list of attendees is pretty interesting. While it is truly a bipartisan crowd, what really stands out is just how far the adminstration felt they had to reach out to get the correct amount of diversity.

Dr. Ho Tran, Asian Pacific Islanders American Health Forum (APIAHF)

Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, Black Women's Health Imperative

Marty Ford, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities

Ellie Smeal, Feminist Majority

Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women's Policy

Jackie Johnson Pata, National Congress of American Indians

Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza

Because God knows you're not going to get anywhere on trying to cut the deficit without input from these groups. You know I was starting to worry about the increasing size of the deficit and national debt. But knowing that these folks are on the watch, I can put my mind at ease.

Finally, my favorite attendee has to be Peter G. Peterson from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. I guess when your name is on the foundation's letterhead, there's not much discussion about who gets to go to the White House.

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