Demand a Plan

Getting Started with ‘Demand a Plan’

Demand a Plan is one of the easiest ways for you to get started in helping to solve the debt crisis and to make your voice heard by your federal elected representatives. The program is simple: you ask your representatives a few simple questions related to their plan to eliminate the federal debt and then send the responses you’ve received to our information center. We then consolidate the information from the responses and publish a summary on our web site. This makes it easy for you to see exactly how your elected representatives are planning to solve the federal debt crisis – representative by representative, state by state and overall. While you feel that their responses may not surprise you, we’ve been shocked with some of the responses and it’s very important that we publish any existing plans and their positions on the debt.

To participate, you simply send an email like the one below to both of the US Senators for your state and to the US Congressman for your US Congressional district. Most of our federal representatives do not publish their email addresses, so you’ll need to copy the text below, click on either the US Senate or US House of Representatives link and complete the communication form provided on their web site (paste the text of the email below into the ‘message’ field). Your first response will likely be either:

• A standard acknowledgment response, stating that they will be getting back to shortly. A response can take weeks or even months, so you can either be patient or call their office after a reasonable period of time has elapsed.
• A form letter that says they are interested in what you are concerned about, and that you need to schedule a call with their office or provide additional clarification via email. If this is the best that they offer, please take the time to follow up. This is your chance to engage with your elected representatives and not only voice your concern, but more importantly to demand a plan.
• A form letter with some degree of real substance

Regardless of your pathway to receiving a substantive response, it is very important that you forward your responses to our analysis team at demandaplan@tnar21.org so that we can share what you’ve learned with your fellow Americans. If you did not receive a substantive response via email, but rather had a conversation with one of your representative’s staffers, please provide a summary of your conversation, the date and time of the conversation and who you spoke with.

Taking ‘Demand a Plan’ to the Next Level

Once you start engaging with your elected federal representatives, you might be shocked or outraged at the response, or perhaps you’d simply like to learn more. If so, don’t stop engaging! Demand dates and numbers, and probe to understand which programs they would cut in order to achieve a balanced budget and start paying down the debt. Get feedback on ideas that you have to solve the debt crisis.

If you don’t get very far, challenge them to a public televised town hall discussion on the debt crisis. Our volunteers can help you plan, organize and execute a successful debt discussion with your federal elected representatives. If they refuse, use the power of opinion editorials in your local newspapers and local radio shows to publicize their refusal to engage in public discourse over such an important topic. Again, our volunteers can help with who to contact, drafts of text you can use, etc. Be sure to provide updates of your progress so that we can update our web site and publish new blasts to help your efforts on social media and other sites.
Most importantly, please be sure to provide updates on your progress, challenges and interactions via email to demandaplan@tnar21.org.

Sample Initial Letter to a US Senator or Congressman

Dear Senator xxxx (or Representative xxxx),

Our federal debt now exceeds $19 trillion – that’s 1.5 times our total annual gross domestic product and a price tag of over $156,000 for every taxpayer in America. The interest alone cost us over $432 billion in 2016 – or more than $3,500 for each US taxpayer! Social Security is on the brink of insolvency and Congress keeps adding more and more debt without offering a viable solution.

I am extremely concerned and perplexed about America’s long term financial outlook and would like to understand your plan to pay down the $19 trillion that we owe. Please let me know:

• What is your plan to pay down the federal debt?
• In what year will we get to a balanced federal budget?
• In what year does the federal debt principal repayment begin?
• In what year will the federal debt be fully paid?
• What federal programs will be cut or reduced in order to pay our enormous financial debt?
• What will you personally be doing to ensure that Congress will act on the plan that you’ve outlined?

Starting now to reduce our debt will lead to a stronger economy, both now and in the future. We need action now to begin to pay down our long-term debt and to help our fragile economy grow, keep taxes low, and protect vital programs for those who need them most. One thing is virtually certain: inaction will likely lead to financial calamity for America.

Your prompt and thoughtful response is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely yours,
<Your full name>
<Your address>
<Your phone number>

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