The Ripon Forum

Volume 44, No. 3

Summer 2010 Issue

Editor’s Note: In This Edition

By on October 23, 2014

For years, fiscal gurus and budgetary experts have been warning us about the long term implications of spending more than we take in.

The economy will collapse, they warned. Social Security and other important programs will become unaffordable. The standard of living that millions of people had grown accustomed to will no longer exist.

For years, we treated these warnings as distant events – as if they were rocks jutting up from a faraway shoal that America would never reach. In recent months, however, a consensus has begun to emerge that the warnings can no longer be ignored, and that a perfect storm is pushing our country toward the rocks.

It is a storm fueled by rising debt, runaway deficits, an aging population, and a level of entitlement spending that is spiraling out of control. It is a storm made worse by our leaders in Washington, who have pledged to deal with the looming crisis, but have then refused to make the tough decisions that are required to prevent it.

In this edition of THE RIPON FORUM, we look at this crisis with some of the same experts whose warnings of fiscal disaster are being proven right. Leading our coverage is former presidential advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who puts the storm into perspective and discusses why the worst of it could arrive sooner than we would like. Following his excellent commentary is an insightful essay by budget authority Maya MacGuineas, who explains what this crisis will mean for the Nation’s economy and how it could impact people’s lives.

To find out what Washington is doing — or rather not doing – to prevent this crisis from occurring, we also feature an essay by Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi, who was a certified public accountant prior to his election to the Senate and finds it outrageous that, in light of the fiscal challenges facing the Nation, Congress is failing to perform the one task he used to advise all of his former accounting clients to do – prepare a budget. One elected leader who is making tough calls is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has not just succeeded in passing a budget in a challenging fiscal environment, but has done so with bipartisan support. In a fine essay, Robert Ward of the Nelson Rockefeller Institute tells us how he has accomplished this feat and become “The Most Important Governor to Watch.”

In other topics, this edition of the FORUM also features rising GOP star John Thune discussing why President Obama’s call for revolutionary change has fallen flat across the country. House Small Business Committee Ranking Republican Sam Graves looks at one of these changes, the new health care law, and how it is harming entrepreneurs. And four departing U.S. Senators share words of wisdom about the future of the Nation and the GOP.

As with every edition, we hope you find this edition of the FORUM interesting and informative, and encourage you to contact us at with any thoughts or comments you might have.

Lou Zickar
The Ripon Forum

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