A ‘balanced’ approach would tackle spending

During his re-election campaign, President Obama constantly reiterated that he wanted a “balanced” approach to solving the federal government’s fiscal problems. To Obama, this means that the nation’s wealthiest citizens must pay more in taxes, something that remained a point of contention Tuesday as the nation’s lawmakers continued to negotiate over resolving the “fiscal cliff.”

But even granting Obama his way, or part of what he wants, apparently is not enough. As negotiations have been ongoing, is has emerged that Republicans may accept higher taxes on the wealthy in some form, if nothing else to avoid everybody else’s taxes going up.

And the “balance”? Over the weekend, Obama made a speech to the nation in which he took a strong stand against spending cuts in the federal budget. To Obama, all the spending is important and it needs to be funded by higher taxes. This is the least “balanced” approach we can think of.

The federal government’s problems are entirely spending-driven. Spending and the annual deficits it creates are at historic levels. It is beyond uncompromising to insist that the government keep spending as it has been. Obama’s position embraces the unreal.

As a Democrat in his second term (he doesn’t have to worry about re-election), Obama is in a unique position to actually help solve the nation’s debt and deficit problems. Instead, he appears to be kicking off the 2014 campaign for his Democratic allies. In other words, it’s politics as usual and the leadership vacuum continues.