B²: Tax Day

Tax Day is the worst.

It stands as a reminder of how much money we’ve given the government in the last 365 days (interest free!) thanks to a complicated code no one understands.

And yet, our debt is hovering dangerously close to $20 trillion. TWENTY TRILLION DOLLARS.

Everyone knows tax reform needs to happen, but the debate remains over when and how. As Capitol Hill prepares to have this tough conversation, the media is ready and waiting to ask you about it. Do you know how to talk taxes and tax reform?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “You keep talking about cutting taxes, but we’re $20 trillion in debt. Shouldn’t we raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay off our debt?”

(Option #1) B²: “Rather than asking Americans to pay more, Congress should be asking themselves how they can spend less. <Insert talking point>.”

(Option #2) B²: “Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. <Insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, remember that it’s important to define the problem in order to fix it; let’s not get lost in the wonky weeds. Focus the conversation on spending and throw out a couple examples of absurd expenditures to prove your point. Most people will agree that simplification and transparency must be upheld as goals one and two in the tax reform process…

B²: The Debt Limit Debacle

The United States is close to maxing out its credit card…again.

Yep, the U.S. owes more than $18 trillion ($18 trillion!) and is on track to exhaust its allowance in 2 weeks (November 3).

In an article on, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew made his position clear: “not increasing the debt limit would be ridiculous…” He “insisted that a hike is not a commitment to new spending but an ability to pay the bills on money already spent.”

What Secretary Lew failed to note is the frequency of this discussion. Congress finds itself in this position too often and refuses to address the root cause – out of control spending! In other words, increasing your credit card limit doesn’t force you to stop buying things you can’t afford.

Another interesting point to the debt limit controversy is the pesky fact that the amount the U.S. owes reportedly exceeds what the U.S. produces in goods and services (GDP). Basically, we owe a lot of money, and the amount of money we owe now exceeds what our country can produce. Not good.

As we get closer to the deadline, the news cycle will create a panicky narrative full of questions like: “Where do we go from here?” “Should the limit be raised?” “Are you suggesting we default?”

Are you prepared to talk about the debt limit and offer possible solutions to address the spending issue rather than raise the limit?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “The U.S. runs out of money on November 3. Shouldn’t the debt limit be raised to cover what we owe?”

B²: “Congress has raised it before and they may do so again. But increasing the debt limit doesn’t solve our country’s spending problem, which is the root cause. We’ll find ourselves here in a few months, but with more bills to pay, if we don’t…<insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, insert talking points that put this issue into perspective. Focus on how absurd it is that we’re in this position (AGAIN) and then offer viable solutions to prevent this from happening in the future. Those solutions may be painful, but a nation that owes more than it produces cannot sustain itself.