Only a few hours before the Republican presidential debate in Charleston on Thursday, January 19, 2012, a non-partisan public forum will be held at the College of Charleston focusing on a key election issue: the rapidly rising federal debt and what can be done about it. The Fiscal Forum will take place at 3 p.m. in room 115 of the Beatty Center (5 Liberty Street). The event is free and open to the public.

This Fiscal Forum will feature Mark Sanford, former governor of South Carolina, and two national experts on the federal budget: David M. Walker, former U.S. comptroller general and current CEO of the Comeback America Initiative, and Robert M. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition and member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Debt Reduction.

The panel will discuss the federal government’s trillion-plus annual deficits and possible solutions that include cuts in defense and non-defense spending plans, changes in Social Security and Medicare, tax reform and improvements in the congressional budget process.

“Prior to any election it is important for voters to understand complex issues that can be overlooked,” says Claire Curtis, political science professor. “The Concord Coalition is a non-partisan organization dedicated to helping people understand the challenges with our current deficit.  The Concord Coalition focuses on how to build a sound economy for future generations. All of our students should have an interest in such an economy.”

“This forum will provide students and community members with the facts, data, and economic theory, which will improve their understanding of the current deficit and debt concerns,” says Peter Calcagno, professor of economics. “This knowledge will allow voters to better understand candidate positions on fiscal issues from both parties and make a more informed decision in the primary and general election.”

The event is hosted by the Department of Political Science at the College of Charleston, the Comeback America Initiative and The Concord Coalition.

For more information, contact Erin Blevins at or 843.953.5724.