February 21, 2011
All of the attempts by the media to make stories out of the budget battles going on in Washington D.C. will not change the bottom line of how it will end up, no matter how many ways they try to create a story. Namely, the taxpayers will get stuck with more debt and more taxes again.
After all of the political punches are thrown, President Obama will get some of the unnecessary spending and tax increases he wants, the Democrats will get some of the wasteful spending and tax increases they want, the Republicans will get some of the spending cuts they want, and once again the overall deficit will continue to add to the national debt using the taxpayers’ credit card.
That’s not leadership.
Unlike what Obama has proposed, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is actually leading boldly to help get Wisconsin’s budget balanced. Governor Walker has proposed that public sector workers, mostly unionized, pay a portion of their health insurance, and a modest portion of their retirement contributions.
That sparked an uproar with demonstrations at the state capital by the unions last week, because their position is to give in on nothing even though the state is broke. The problem has been ignored for years and Gov. Walker has proposed a bold solution as a start to fixing the problem. That’s leadership.
My North Star National colleague Dan Calabrese last week cited Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder as doing the same thing. Leading! Tell people the whole truth, and propose and explain a real solution instead of another “I want to be re-elected” band-aid.
President Obama’s proposed budget does not follow the example of Governors Walker and Snyder. The president’s proposal just continues to kick the can down the road without a serious solution.
His claim of a $1.1 trillion deficit reduction over 10 years is certainly not a serious solution. That so-called reduction is about a 1 percent reduction per year, which will be eaten up by inaccuracies in the projections and rounding errors. When you compare the 1 percent per year to the annual deficits of over 70 percent per year for the last two years, that’s not a solution and that’s not leadership.
Being in a leadership position without leading is called position-ship.
And when you truly lead, you will be criticized because working on the right problems, setting the right priorities, surrounding yourself with the right people, and developing the right plans will not make everybody happy. This is especially true when it means cutting back on somebody’s pet project, such as, the pet projects of each member of Congress.
The 535-member Congress was not intended to be the leadership in Washington, D.C. Their job is to help maintain balance of power, advise the president, approve or disapprove legislation where needed, and repeal unwanted or unnecessary legislation. As Speaker John Boehner so appropriately stated, the president has to lead, and more importantly, lead the nation on behalf of the people in the right direction. A 535-member committee cannot lead.
Clearly, President Obama is in re-election mode. He may be “talking to the center” ideologically as some of the political pundits are claiming, but his liberal actions have barely moved. Just consider the fact that he and his support organizations are backing the union protesters against Governor Walker, and he is expected to do the same when other governors are forced to make some of the same tough choices in order to balance their state budgets.
Governors Walker and Snyder have chosen leadership. President Obama has chosen position-ship.
The American people will choose a leader in 2012.