Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's Obama's move

Obama has refused to lead the country in its most important crisis - the gathering bankruptcy of the country.  Paul Ryan, Republican Chairman of the House Budge Committee, has courageously presented a specific budget that restructures the shape of the Federal government and sets the course for fiscal recovery.  

He avoided raising taxes, which I think is a big mistake.  The only way out of our financial catastrophe, in my mind, is to both cut spending and raise revenues.  Revenues can be raised by tax reform that eliminates all loopholes and still lowers tax rates for both individuals and corporations.  This would stimulate the economy by lowering rates, and provide funds for necessary government by increasing revenues.  The way for Republicans to be taken seriously on this is to propose revenue increases and military cuts, because it is obvious that Democrats will only sign on to a program that does these two things.

But, Ryan deserves much praise for putting his plan on the table.  Where is Obama's plan?  Indeed, where is Obama?  Why didn't he lead this effort to run the country in a fiscally responsible way?  The truth is that this effort has to be bipartisan, and it can only be led by one person - the president of the United States.  But, Mr. Obama doesn't seem to like to lead.  

If Obama demagogues this issue by attacking Ryan and the Republicans on partisan terms, or stands back and lets the Pelosis savage this effort to bring responsibility to the government, I will be profoundly disappointed in him.  This is an issue even more important than his beloved health care reforms, or even our military efforts in the Middle East.  

Without reform of this magnitude, eventually all of the Federal budget will be to pay off the interest on the debt, with nothing left over for much of anything else.  

I think Republicans and Democrats both are going to have to seriously reduce expenditures on entitlements and the military, and will have to raise revenues.  

The Republicans have made their move.  It is up to Obama to respond.  How he does will tell us if he is a statesman and a leader, or just another partisan hack of a politician.  

I have hope that he will rise to the occasion with a response that moves the ball forward, rather than one that just tries to win the next election.