Recognizing that it is our duty to leave the country in better shape for our children and grandchildren, we are concerned by the threats posed to America’s future by our most pressing economic problem – the national debt. As CEOs of advocacy groups that rely heavily upon a healthy economy, we are worried that our ability to effectively preserve and promote our respective interests is significantly hindered by America’s growing debt.

It is both unfair and reckless to leave behind debt of this magnitude as this generation’s legacy. Everyone – from politicians in Washington, D.C. to schoolteachers in Iowa – must see it as their responsibility to be part of the solution when it comes to reining in this unsustainable burden of debt, which is why each of us is a member of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

Started by former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, the Campaign has mobilized key members of the business, government, and policy communities to discuss the need to address our mounting debt in a timely, comprehensive, and bipartisan manner. During his State of the Union address last Tuesday President Obama even highlighted their work on debt and deficit reduction as it relates to healthcare reform – the single largest driver of the national debt – stating that the reforms he was prepared to enact would “achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission.”

As the Campaign continues to make its presence felt through grassroots efforts in its 23 active state chapters and through events such as last week’s Common Ground Summit that brought together leaders from a broad range of backgrounds – including participants United Way and Women Impacting Public Policy – there are still those that doubt the effectiveness of this effort.

Try telling that to over 345,000 concerned Americans that have signed the Campaign’s Citizen’s Petition who are spreading the Campaign’s message well beyond Washington, D.C. and New York City. Or the Campaign’s nearly 30 partner organizations that include the Minority Business Roundtable and the National Small Business Association – in addition to the over 2,700 small businesses that have partnered with the Campaign – that are letting our elected officials know the uncertainty caused by this debt is a major hindrance on their ability to grow and prosper. And the Campaign has facilitated the sending of more than 100,000 letters to Congress to urge action on a comprehensive debt deal

In his recent column appearing in The Hill, Dr. David Hill asks, “Where are the school teachers…and the regional sales managers? “

Dr. Hill, please meet Neeraj Salhotra, a teacher, and member of the steering committee of the Texas state chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

And let us introduce you to Hunter Collins, Assistant Manager of White Interiors and member of the steering committee of the Georgia state chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

Another critique Dr. Hill has of the Campaign is that too few people are familiar with its ideas. We would encourage anyone that is wondering what the Campaign stands for to visit and read the Campaign’s principles. Simply put, the Campaign is a non-partisan movement to responsibly put America on a better fiscal and economic path while protecting the most vulnerable.

Dr. Hill may question the leadership or the potential for success of the Campaign, but he cannot ignore why it exists – the unsustainable trajectory of the national debt. As long as America continues down this reckless fiscal course the Campaign will be active in ushering in substantive action to restore order to the nation’s fiscal house.


Needham is the CEO of the Missouri Association of Manufacturers, and a Steering Committee member of the Missouri chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

Fuentes is the president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and a Steering Committee member of the Florida chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.