Sen. Gary Hart. Sen. Bill Bradley, Msnbc's Lawrence O'Donnell, Sen. Bob Packwood and Sen. John Danforth. (Chris Eckert/Esquire magazine)
Between working, eating, sleeping and, you know, life, lingering tasks can be hard to squeeze into a three-day period, let alone over a single weekend. (That laundry mountain didn't build itself).
It becomes even more challenging when that lingering task is the federal budget of the United States of America. We keep putting it off, but it isn't going away any time soon. But, a small group of former legislators managed to the unthinkable, without calling someone a terrorist, without slamming their character based on what they did in college, or questioning their loyalty to the Constitution.
Esquire magazine called on Senators Bill Bradley, Gary Hart, John Danforth, Bob Packwood and our very own host with the most Lawrence O'Donnell to balance the federal budget by 2020. (Yes, before his days moonlighting on cable TV, Lawrence worked as a Senate aide for Daniel Patrick Moynihan). They all came in to this project with a range of political beliefs and party affiliations.
For three long days in August, the guys toiled away in one conference room, hammering out solutions to one of the biggest problems facing our country today. There were raised voices and many disagreements. But, the guys powered through. They managed to balance the budget, add a surplus of $12 billion, reform Social Security and its longevity and maintain current tax rates for a decade.
Capitol Hill could stand to learn a thing or two. The full report is in the latest issue of Esquire.