Millions of Americans watched with bated breath as the sequester saga unfolded. On stage left was the president refusing to compromise with the “loyal opposition” (the Republicans) on decreased entitlement spending, among other issues. On stage right were the Republican congressmen refusing to consider any deficit reduction plan that raised taxes for the more affluent citizens. Meanwhile, the White House PR team painted an apocalyptic picture of America, post-sequester, if the Republican-dominated House of Representatives refused to yield to the president’s intransigent conditions.
Well, a new day has dawned, sequestration has become law and, contrary to the predictions of doom and gloom, we are all still here. The financial consequences of across-the-board budget cuts, if and when they are completely rolled out, will not be what anyone really wanted. However, this scenario should be a wake-up call to rein in federal spending that has been out of control, a call that should have been made some time ago.
Bill Clinton, far from my favorite president, was able to reach across the aisle, when necessary, to get bipartisan and bicameral cooperation on difficult but important pieces of legislation. Perhaps President Obama should take some pages out of the Clinton playbook and use this opportunity to reconsider his second term’s disdainful approach to members of the other party. After all, Mr. Obama has nearly four years to truly become the president of all Americans rather than of just the 53 percent who re-elected him.
Only by placing the best interests of all citizens above those of one party will his administration be able to begin the difficult but essential process of economic reform through more prudent spending and taxing measures. Not to do so inevitably will bankrupt a great nation, leaving a grim legacy for our children and grandchildren.