Debates about federal budget cuts dominated the political realm recently. President Obama and congressional leaders narrowly avoided a complete government shutdown by finally agreeing to a plan that should reduce the federal deficit by nearly $40 billion from this year’s budget. But elected officials remain fundamentally divided over the direction of national priorities, with Republicans pushing for more cuts in social programs and Democrats petitioning for higher tax rates for the wealthy. Most Americans have experienced financial losses or uncertainties recently. Deerfield has not been immune, with our endowment lower and the need for financial aid higher. No one wants to face further pain through more taxes or cuts. But the reality is that we will all have to make further sacrifices so our nation can “live within its means.” As we become eligible to vote, it is imperative that we make an effort to stay intelligently informed, and then select leaders who will protect individual rights and those who truly need help, while holding all Americans accountable in building a sustainable future.