So asks Judd Gregg in The Hill:
Throughout his term, President Obama has avoided leading on the issue of fiscal responsibility. He walked away from his own commission, the one led by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, when he found its report filled with inconvenient choices.
Now in a week when leadership is needed to push this critical committee to do something big and bring the nation's fiscal house back into order, the president once again disappears.
It causes one to wonder, why?The general consensus is that neither he nor the people around him feel there is a great upside to doing something that involves making so many difficult decisions to straighten out our nation's fiscal future.
Like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), he sees no real need to move in this direction. After all, any significant action would require fixing Social Security; overhauling taxes; returning to healthcare reform, especially as it affects Medicare and Medicaid; and, most importantly, agreeing not just to slow growth of the federal government but in fact to reduce it.
There is no great concern at the White House that our government is getting too large. They look at Europe - where governments routinely absorb 30 percent to 40 percent of the economy - and believe we can certainly have the same, especially considering that higher taxes will inevitably follow such a growth, maybe even a value-added tax. As far as the White House is concerned, the taxing potential of our nation has miles to go.
The fact is, much of the left does not believe in cutting one cent from government spending, and indeed, believes that stimulus spending is still the way to go. Paul Krugman is a visible example of this mindset, warning us that we risk depression unless we do what he says and massively stimulate the economy with trillions in new spending.
The president has been ducking hard choices for years. It shouldn't surprise us that he is AWOL when the supercommitttee needs him the most.