Ken Connor

Has the president ever publicly proposed a single significant structural change in any entitlement? After Simpson-Bowles reported? No. In his February budget? No. In his April 13 budget "framework"? No. During the debt-ceiling crisis? No. During or after the supercommittee deliberations? No.

[It] is the Republicans who passed – through the House, the only branch of government they control – a real budget that cut $5.8 trillion of spending over the next 10 years. Obama's February budget, which would have increased spending, was laughed out of the Senate, voted down 97 to 0. As for the Democratic Senate, it has submitted no budget at all for 2 1/2 years.

In trademark Washington fashion, demagoguery and cheap talk are winning out over substantive action. Both parties are equally guilty of playing this game when it suits their purposes, fiddling away while Rome burns. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, however, time is running out. The current crises plaguing the Eurozone could be our Cassandra; if we don't enact bold reforms, and now, ours may very likely be the next default on the horizon.

No amount of spin, or rhetoric, or blame-gaming can change the mathematical facts on the ground: Our debt has spiraled out of control and we are rapidly reaching a point of no return. This Congress and this President have had more than enough time to act, but they have failed to do so. If their dismal approval ratings are any indication, there will be a price to pay for this inexcusable indolence come November 2012.


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.