Rich Galen

Everyone is talking about jobs and tax rates; government spending and entitlements. All symptoms. No one is talking about the cause of the problem: The economy is creaking along barely above water, businesses are frightened, and Americans are uncomfortable buying things because they aren't sure they will have a job next month.

Jim Glassman, who is the executive director of the George W. Bush Institute, got it right the other day when he made the case that growing the economy would significantly reduce unemployment (and unemployment benefits) thus increasing tax revenues without increasing tax rates.

Glassman told me that if the U.S. economy grows by just four percent per year starting in 2017 then within five years the debt will be reduced by $3.7 trillion, using Congressional Budget Office data.

That $3.7 trillion seems within shouting distance of the $4 trillion number Speaker Boehner and President Obama were talking about over this past weekend.

Rather than chiding the Congress and going for cheap laughs among a press corps held hostage in the briefing room (you don't laugh at the Presidential jokes, you don't get called on next time), President Obama should be showing some leadership by utilizing the millions of very smart people in the Executive Branch to figure out how to get this economy moving again.

Otherwise, Halperin will have been correct: The President is acting, not like a Barack, but like a Richard.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at