February 14, 2011

President Should Take Advantage of Receptive Public

David M. Primo

Senior Affiliated Scholar

The President has missed an opportunity to present serious budget reform to an unusually receptive public.  
 
The public is as receptive as it ever will be to serious budget reform. President Obama has the opportunity to play a ‘Nixon goes to China’ role on entitlements. If he proposes an increase in the retirement age, it will be hard for Republicans to oppose it.  If he proposes a major revamping of Medicare, it will be hard for Republicans to oppose it.

But President Obama does not seriously address spending.

The president has reneged on his modest pledge last year to bring deficit spending down to 3% of GDP by 2015, and he's also ignored the recommendations of his own deficit commission. If he won't step up now, when will he?  Once the economy recovers, we'll hear that tax revenues are up and that cuts aren't needed.  If the economy worsens, we'll hear that more failed stimulus spending is needed.