Scholars Explore National Debt in D.C.


This quarter’s colloquia discussion on the national debt leaped outside the classroom walls as 12 Cutler Scholars traveled to Washington, D.C. in late October to talk about the issue with a diverse group of politicians and their staff members. Distinguished Professor of Economics Richard Vedder, a co-facilitator for the colloquia sessions this quarter, offered to organize a trip to the seat of the budget discussions. With the assistance of Matthew Denhart, a McClure/Fuller Cutler alumnus who works for Dr. Vedder in D.C., three packed days of meetings and activities were scheduled on Capitol Hill.

Scholars had the opportunity to sit down with Ohio alumni Ryan Berger (Legislative Director to Tennessee Senator Bob Corker) and Doug Dziak (attorney and former legal counsel to Senator George Voinovich), as well as with Senator Bill Johnson (Ohio 6th District), Senator Rob Portman’s staff (Member, Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction), and Jeremy Hekhuis (Legislative Director to Senator Sherrod Brown). In addition, Scholars attended a welcome reception hosted by OU alumnus and Foundation Board member Gary Nakamoto at the CXIII Rex Club in Alexandria, Virginia, went on a staff-led tour of the Capitol, and attended a Committee hearing on The Eurozone Crisis: Destabilizing the Global Economy.

“This was an outstanding opportunity to expand our knowledge of the issues surrounding the national debt outside the walls of the seminar room,” said Gusterov Scholar Elena Mihajlovska. “We were able to pose tough questions to legislators who wrestle with these issues and to gain a deeper understanding of the decision making-process. We were able to take the theory of what we have studied and apply it in a real-world environment.”