"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
Over the past few years, I have often complained (some would say “whined”) on this here blog site about President Obama’s failure to LEAD. However, in recent days I have seen evidence reported in the news that he might actually be starting to demonstrate the leadership necessary to effectively run this country.
A key element for any politician’s ability to govern is COMPROMISE. Mr. Obama has shown a general unwillingness to do so during his first term as President, but now the worm may actually be turning. The first hint was reported in a Reuters News article the other day originally titled “President seeks compromise with Congress on deficit” by Mark Felsenthal. The highlights of this article read:
“U.S. President Barack Obama will offer cuts to Social Security and other benefits programs in a budget proposal next week aimed at winning over enough congressional Republicans to pass a broad deal to reduce the deficit.”
“While Obama's previous budgets have largely been ignored in Congress, the White House wants to use this year's proposal…..to move beyond the fiscal fights that have consumed Washington since 2010.”
“House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who let taxes rise for the wealthiest Americans earlier this year, has ruled out any further revenue increases and was lukewarm about Obama's latest proposal.”
“...(A) senior administration official on Friday said the president will offer to apply a less generous measure of inflation to calculate cost-of-living increases that would affect Social Security and other government programs when he reveals his budget.”
“That change would result in lower payments to some beneficiaries of the Social Security pension program and is staunchly opposed by many Democrats as well as labor and retiree groups”
"This isn't about political horse trading," the official said. "It's about reducing the deficit in a balanced way that economists say is best for the economy and job creation."
"What I think he would like to have is a grand bargain which puts these fiscal issues behind us for a good number of years," said Rudolph Penner, a former Congressional Budget Office director. "If he doesn't get the grand bargain, his second term is not going to be a very happy one."
“Analysts familiar with the administration's thinking, and who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the White House is considering a plan to raise revenues by limiting tax deductions to 28 percent for wealthier taxpayers.”
“He may have to focus his charm on Democrats to get them to accept using the different inflation gauge, the "chained Consumer Price Index." Supporters of the switch say the standard CPI index overstates price rises, but opponents say moving to the chained CPI would unfairly deprive older Americans of benefits they have been promised.”
“Obama's proposal would cut the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years….and is expected to undo at least some of the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration that went into effect last month.”
“Obama's budget for the fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1 will also contain a proposal to expand access to early childhood education, the official said. That program would be paid for by raising tobacco taxes, the official added.”
“In addition, the president wants to increase revenues by placing a $3 million upper limit on tax-preferred retirement accounts and by barring people from collecting disability benefits and unemployment insurance at the same time, the official said.”
For the entire article, see: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/05/fiscal-obama-idUSL2N0CS08F20130405
For me, the REAL highlights of this article involve phrases like “focus his charm on Democrats,” “offer cuts to Social Security and other benefits programs,” "raising tobacco taxes," and “barring people from collecting disability benefits and unemployment insurance at the same time.” But the details also indicate his willingness to address topics like how COLA is calculated and actual budget deficit and federal debt reduction. Without a “balanced” dialogue – which up until now the President has refused to engage in – nothing can ever get done.
Mr. Obama has seen what happens when you use a “my way or the highway” approach. Using this tactic, he did get his “ObamaCare”, and he did get his “stimulus”. But at what price? The opposition is hell-bent on undoing “The Affordable Care Act” any way they can (and they are seeing some success). The President has also been pillioried – oftentimes across party lines - for his other plans and actions which seem targeted at fringe elements of his constituency. But I think that he just might have discovered – after four long years – that when the opposition is actually INVESTED in outcomes, there is far less gridlock, government actually works, and ALL the people can benefit.
So to the President I say this:
Bravo! Keep it up. Work WITH your opposition and the entire country will benefit.
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