The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tim Rusch, Demos, (212) 389-1407,

Christy Hicks, TCF,
(212) 452-7723,

Demos and The Century Foundation Announce Launch of 'The Fiscal High Road' Project and Website --

Initiative Aims to Strengthen Social Insurance, Promote Broadly Shared Prosperity and Set the Record Straight on Federal Spending


Demos and The
Century Foundation, two national public policy research organizations focused on
economic inequality and the middle class, today launched an initiative to
strengthen social insurance programs and develop a roadmap for a fair and
responsible federal budget. The project gets underway as the White House
prepares for its February 23 "Fiscal Responsibility Summit."

that there is a wealth of sometimes competing and confusing information in our
national discussions about the economic crisis and the path to a recovery, "The
Fiscal High Road" project will provide information and analysis squarely aimed
at strengthening America's social insurance programs, such as Social Security
and Medicare. The effort's central message is that these social investments,
along with robust infrastructure spending to support good jobs, education and
opportunity for America's families, are the key to widespread economic stability
and long-term prosperity.

The project will advance its message and policy
goals, based on in-depth research and empirical data, while rebutting widely
perpetuated, misleading claims of an "entitlements crisis" that distracts our
elected leaders from focusing on solutions to some of our greatest challenges,
such as containing rapidly rising health care costs and addressing comprehensive
health care reform.

"It is not necessary to choose between adequate
social investment and fiscal prudence," said Robert Kuttner, an economist and
Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. "We can have both if we finance the costs
of well designed and comprehensive social insurance, and reform our health

As part of the launch of The Fiscal High Road project
( Demos and The Century Foundation are making available
several publications designed to advance new ideas for strengthening America's
social insurance programs, rebuilding an opportunity infrastructure and planning
for a robust, good-jobs-based economy of the future. The project's documents
outline the reality of our current challenges and counter many of the false
claims now fueling much of the media and political debate about the economy.
These pieces include: a powerpoint presentation for use by advocates and
lawmakers; a primer detailing the current condition of our social insurance
programs and offering ideas for a path forward; and a new "claim versus reality"
factsheet that sets the record straight about entitlement spending, the public
debt and the future of the nation's economy.

Greg Anrig, Vice President
of Programs at The Century Foundation, said: "With the enactment of a $787
billion economic recovery plan, combined with additional federal commitments in
excess of $1 trillion to help repair the broken financial services industry,
many Americans are understandably fearful about the nation's long-term fiscal
health. The numbers are big, the issues are complicated, and media reports
related to federal deficits and debt are often enormously confusing. That's why
we need less scare-mongering and more reality-based perspective."

"One of
the key arguments advanced by fiscal conservatives over the years is that
spending on social insurance and infrastructure needs is the equivalent of
'mortgaging our children's' future," said Tamara Draut, Vice President for
Policy and Programs at Demos. "The reality is quite the opposite. These
investments are vital for the well-being of future generations and fueling the
US economy of the future. Without them, the real danger is an eroding
opportunity ladder and a vanishing middle class."

In the coming months,
The Fiscal High Road project will launch a data and policy resource center,
develop an advocacy network, and will be engaged in educating journalists,
legislators, and the public about issues critical to fair and sustainable
economic policy at the national and state level. In the process, it will serve
as a peacemaker in the generational wars that are being stoked by well-financed
groups that want to cut Social Security and other successful government

Demos is a think tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Through cutting-edge policy research, inspiring litigation, and deep relationships with grassroots organizations, Demos champions solutions that will create a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity.