“Death by Tea Party” – A Commentary
While I agree with the premise of your article, the President has to step up his game and stop reacting to his adversaries. President Obama has to understand the gravity of the hostile environment toward his presidency, and take proactive actions to minimize the dire consequences. He ran a flawless campaign to get elected but seem to be underperforming in his management of the Presidency.
The president seems to always be two steps behind in this game of political chess; he was outmaneuvered during the last impasse where he had to back away from his objective of not extending the Bush tax cuts for all income groups just so he can extend unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed.
While his decision was humane, he allowed himself to be backed into a corner and did something that further contributed to the deficit and not benefit the long term economic health of the country. In this latest debate over the debt ceiling, he assumed that his adversaries would do the right thing and raise the debt ceiling to keep America from defaulting on its obligations to its creditors, again he underestimated his opponents desire to make him look weak and destroy his presidency.
The President was once again outmaneuvered this time around by caving in on an agreement that pleased no one. The President and his advisors have to get ahead of the game and not allow themselves to get cornered by his adversaries in addressing these critical policy issues. The President had two third of the American public backing him up on moving forward with a balance approach towards debt control which is to reduce spending and raise revenue.
This approach would have allowed the United States to reduce a bigger chunk of the deficit; instead he chose to follow congress’ lead and punt this very important debate to a committee that more likely will end up making more cuts and not fully accelerate the rate of debt reduction or invest in job creation. I hope I’m wrong in this assessment, but watching the turn of events over the past few years, I’m not betting on black.
Furthermore, with unemployment still at 9.2% and about 20% in the African-American community the President cannot afford to sit on the sideline and wait for the next election for him to take action in addressing these challenges. More tax cut policies and trickle down economics doesn’t seem to provide enough incentives for companies to stop hoarding cash and put people back to work.
Similarly, the Keynesian approach seems to have limited success in today economic environment, so logic would dictate a more balance approach to addressing our economic challenges. Rather than more deficit expenditures on new government programs, the President should work to raise more revenue through tax reform and invest in critical infrastructure projects that will create jobs. This deficit neutral approach would provide certainty to taxpayers regarding the tax code; address the unemployment challenges; thereby, creating more consumer demand that should contribute to the long term growth in the economy.
Finally, it’s important to note that President Obama’s adversaries will not go away and will more likely continue to work toward his demise. Therefore, the President must stick to his convictions and lead in a manner that requires cooperation more than compromise.