On Friday I was back “on tour” with the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour, this time being my first time on the Tour as a representative from the Concord Coalition, although I’ve been working at Concord for almost a year now. (The last time I had been a panelist on the Tour was back in late 2006 representing the Brookings Institution.)
We visited Princeton University, and this time I brought a really good prop. I wish I could say that’s me looking really young in the above photo, but it’s my oldest daughter, Allie, who came along to see not exactly the Tour, but Princeton. (In the photo with her are, L to R, Gene Steuerle of the Peterson Foundation, my Concord colleague Harry Zeeve, and Alice Rivlin of Brookings.) Having talked about my four kids very often whenever I speak about the importance of fiscal responsibility, I found myself unable to even mention I was a mom when I actually had one of my kids there–let alone point Allie out to the audience! (She would have been absolutely horrified.)
No, that’s me (the older version of Allie) in the photo below, with another great “prop” who showed up at the forum during the Q&A. This chemical engineering professor visiting from China (Beijing) very courageously, but graciously and humbly, remarked at how he had just come to this country a couple months ago and was very interested in learning how China’s investment in U.S. Treasuries was doing–which is why he was attending this fiscal policy/economics event. He also expressed confidence in and optimism about the strength of the U.S. economy. I thanked him and his country for having lent us so much money all these years and expressed hope that it will continue to be a mutually-beneficial relationship. At the same time, I said that the U.S. still must change our ways so that we don’t become unsustainably dependent on the kindness of strangers–or even the kindness of kind friends.