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Former Mayor Bill White on America’s Fiscal Constitution: Houston Matters for Thursday, April 3, 2014

Former Mayor Bill White on America’s Fiscal Constitution: Houston Matters for Thursday, April 3, 2014

AmericasFiscalConstitution-3dLeft1In his new book, America’s Fiscal Constitution – Its Triumph and Collapse, former Houston Mayor Bill White explores the history of America through its budgets – and specifically, the attitudes and approaches of our elected leaders towards the incursion and payoff of debt. It’s an unusual prism through which to examine our history. Most history books divide our nation’s past through wars, or personalities. Mayor White’s approach offers some perspective on how budgetary policy over the last 15 years or so, from both major political parties, has led to a willingness to accept debt-financed spending in ways we never accepted before. That departure has, in turn, led to a debt crisis, ongoing battles over the debt ceiling, and a continued erosion in the electorate’s trust.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we’ll talk with Bill White about how generally accepted limits to federal debt through much of our history have given way since 2001 to previously unheard of policies ranging from tax cuts during war, new permanent programs paid for entirely by incurring more debt, a growing dependence on foreign creditors, and claims that our economy’s success hinges on continued and routine federal borrowing. We’ll also explore what this all means for you and me here in Houston, where, like most big cities, we cannot operate in debt indefinitely.

Today is also the first day of our spring fundraising campaign. Over the last year, Houston Matters has explored a wide variety of issues and ideas. We’ve introduced you to your neighbors here in Greater Houston. You know more about the community in which you live because of this service. Your ongoing financial support makes it possible. Do your part to ensure that Houston “matters” in the years to come. Thanks!


  • Our Nation’s History with Debt: Former Mayor Bill White Discusses His New Book

    Former Houston Mayor Bill White discusses his new book, America’s Fiscal Constitution: Its Triumph and Collapse. The book discusses the different times in our nation’s history when our national debt spiked, how those spikes in debt were handled, how things are being done differently today, and what that could all mean for our future. White served as mayor from 2004 to

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  • Program Highlights Traditional Indian Dance and Music

    Dashavatar: The Ten Incarnations of Vishnu is a traditional Indian dance/theater production taking place Sunday, April 6, from 5-7 p.m. at the Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater. The program features dancers and music, all telling the story of the god  Vishnu’s many incarnations through time as he fights evil. We learn more about the program from artistic director Rathna Kumar and artistic

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About the Author

Craig Cohen

Craig CohenCraig Cohen is the executive producer and host of Houston Matters, which airs weekdays at noon and 7 p.m. on Houston Public Media, News 88.7 FM. Craig is a 20+ year veteran of broadcast journalism. He's spent the bulk of his career in public media, in roles ranging from programmer and manager, to talk show host, reporter, news director, and producer. He's interviewed politicians, industry leaders, authors, newsmakers, and the occasional Muppet. Craig seeks to make the world a slightly better place every day, by informing, enlightening, and entertaining.View all posts by Craig Cohen →