So, we all take a deep sigh of relief that Washington didn't destroy the economy and finally passed a deal to raise the debt ceiling. That's nice. But, what didn't they do?
They didn't do tax reform. And they must.
They also didn't touch entitlements. And they must.
(However, they did threaten defense spending, so that is a hopeful sign)
Tax reform - Obama has a trigger that can force tax reform on the Republicans, so it should happen, right? The Bush tax cuts expire next year and Obama can use it as leverage, correct? Probably not.
Obama didn't take the Simpson-Bowles report last December and push it through Congress because, well, he just doesn't do that kind of thing.
Then, the Rivlin-Domenici commission also came up with a spending cut and tax reform plan to reduce the deficit. I don't think Obama has mentioned it.
Then, there is the bipartisan Gang of Six that has come out with their version of cutting and tax reform to raise revenues and reduce the deficit. Obama has given it some lip service, but can he draw a line and insist on it?
Unfortunately, Obama will likely use the deadline on the expiration of the Bush tax cuts to talk idealistically about taxing the rich, and trot out focus-grouped phrases like "billionaires" and "corporate jets" and promise that there will be no tax increases on the middle class if he is elected. So, he will likely squander his leverage to create real tax reform for this country that would both raise revenue and stimulate the economy (lower rates, close loopholes and eliminate tax earmarks). Actually, in order to get it done by then he needs to start now. But, oh yeah, there is that much more important thing - his re-election, or making sure that nobody gets too upset at him, or something, I'm not sure what it is that he is really concerned about.
We know what the Tea Party believes and will fight to the death for, even though I think they are moronically wrong, but I still don't know what Obama believes enough to fight for, to be in the lead and advocate for, to push for, to fight to the political death for. It is time for him to show himself and get in front rather than "lead from behind."