President Obama today is putting forward a politically safe budget that kicks the entitlement program problem down the road for the next president – or his second term – or making sweeping adjustments to the budget.
Where’s the AUDACITY? Where’s the leadership on reforming Social Security or Medicare? Where is the tax reform Obama and his aides have been tempting us with for months? Or how about something politically risky, like a cut in the wasteful ethanol subsidy that ultimately raises food prices for the inner city poor and drains the federal budget? Obama knows the ethanol subsidy is a mistake. I’m sure of it.
Slinking away from the real problems is not very audacious, now is it?
I guess one could say that this budget does represent an Audacity of Hope – the hope that someone else will fix these problems or that he can do it when the political heat is off.
I understand this. Who wants to run on having cut Social Security? Well, there you go again, asking silly questions.
Ronald Reagan did it.
In 1983, he struck a deal with congressional Democrats that raised the retirement age from 65 to 67 and started taxing Social Security benefits. It was a bipartisan deal struck at a time when the country was just coming out of a recession and Reagan’s reelection was far from assured.
THE COUNTRY CAN TAKE TOUGH MEDICINE FROM COURAGEOUS POLITICIANS IF IT IS NEEDED AND EXPLAINED.
And the country understands. Poll after poll reports that Americans get the peril posed by the deficit.
Now it just needs courageous politicians.
The Republicans aren’t really talking about entitlement reform either. They say the president must lead on this, which is true. But if they want him to dig in first, they could at least set the table.