It doesn't take a political scientist or genius economist to explain the queasy feeling you felt slapping your credit card onto retail counters to make holiday season purchases. Consumer confidence is better measured in one's internal organs than in charts and graphs. But Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (NCFRR), might throw light on what can be done to alleviate those feelings—and bring the federal budget and deficit under control—in a talk at Duke titled "Decision Time: Bowles, Simpson and the Federal Budget." It's moderated by Philip Bennett, a public policy professor at Duke and managing editor of the PBS program Frontline.
Bowles, a Greensboro native, was Bill Clinton's chief of staff for two years and president of the UNC system from 2005 to 2010. Simpson was a Republican senator from Wyoming for 18 years and one of 10 contributors to the Iraq Study Group Report. The bipartisan NCFRR was tasked with crafting a plan to balance the budget by 2015, but their recommendations thus far have not found legislative support. Admission to the 5:30 p.m. event is free, but tickets are required from the Duke Box Office. —Chris Vitiello