Jonathan Alter wrote a book about Barack Obama’s first year in office called “The Promise.” That’s a great title because it works on so many levels. For example, over the past four years, Obama’s career has been marked by a constant promise: He has continually said he is on the verge of doing something serious abut the national debt.
He started making the promise back when he was in the Senate. In “The Audacity of Hope,” published in 2006, he expressed alarm at the “mountain of debt” caused by $300 billion annual budget deficits. (They’re now $1.6 trillion.) During the presidential campaign, he pledged to put away childish things and tackle the tough budget issues.
During the transition, he said the time to act on the debt is now. “What we have done is kicked the can down the road,” he told The Washington Post. “We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further.” He said he would start a budget initiative in February 2009.
After the stimulus package passed, he and his aides said it would soon be time to turn to deficit issues. The same promise was made after health care reform. He made the pledge yet again at a press conference this week. Right now is not the time, the president always says, but tomorrow we will get serious.
But tomorrow never comes.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Now that David Brooks has come out in criticism of Obama's leadership on the national debt, maybe the President will listen and do something about it (he likes David Brooks, because of his support as a conservative for his candidacy). In an interview on Charlie Rose, Brooks said that his contacts in the White House indicated that they were focused on 'minutia', not the big picture, and he wondered where the candidate of 'hope and change' had gone.