The Buck Stops Here: Establishing Accountability

Mar 20, 2007
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


The Hon. Tim Penny 
Former U.S. Congressman (D-MN)
Senior Fellow, Humphrey Institute
University of Minnesota

Click Here to view Tim Penny's powerpoint presentation.

The Hon. Maurice McTigue
Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Vice President
Mercatus Center 

Click Here to view Maurice McTigue's powerpoint presentation.

This past November, voters sent a clear message to Washington: accountability matters.  Americans want ethical behavior and fiscal responsibility.  They want to know where their money is being spent and what these dollars are delivering.  With taxpayers' total fiscal exposure now at $50 trillion in Social Security and Medicare IOUs and debt, Congress can no longer afford the status quo.

A more transparent and accountable process of governance will not only satisfy the public demand for a more open and honest Congress; it will also increase the likelihood of policymakers achieving their myriad policy aims. 

In this session, former policymakers Tim Penny and Maurice McTigue drew upon their experiences with reforming government and explored what Congress can do to live up to its election promise of increased accountability.

They addressed the following questions:

  • What actions can Congress take to regain the public's trust?
  • What exactly is accountability?
  • What is the "price of government?"
  • What are the potential consequences of a PAYGO system?