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The president drags his feet on leading

January 13, 2011 - Mike Maneval
At Reason magazine's website Veronique de Rugy and John Stossel are pouring cold water on expectations the Republicans will cut federal spending. But the new GOP majority would not be alone in failing to lead if this proves true, and much of the responsibility should fall upon President Brack Obama and his staff.

De Rugy notes the "Pledge to America," a campaign platform of sorts for the new Republican House, "makes no attempt to fundamentally reform entitlement spending, the primary driver of spending growth." She also criticizes the pledge for ruling out any spending cuts for the military-industrial complex.

While her points certainly are worrisome, it should not be forgotten that the compromise President Barack Obama negotiated on retaining the post-tax-cut rates, coupled with the stimulus plan and other measures of the past two years, contribute heavily to deficits and eventually the debt. And that debt is financed by Communist China, whose atrocious human-rights record I touched upon a couple of weeks ago here. Our dependence on that financing leaves America - a country willing to send nearly 4,300 Americans to their deaths in Iraq to displace a tyrant - colluding and conniving with worse tyrants. In addition to our own long-term fiscal stability, our national deficits undermine any commitment to human rights.

This isn't to say the tax compromise, with its relief for Americans on payrolls through Social Security tax cuts at a time consumers could really use the money to keep the economy treading water, is beyond understanding. Or that a costly stimulus plan of some variety wasn't necessary to prevent the economy from sinking altogether. But the president needs to temper these policies by demonstrating leadership on entitlement reform. The deficit commission's recommendations on raising the age of eligibility for Social Security - a program for which the President's own tax compromise diminishes solvency - would be a great place for Obama to start.

 
 

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