Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leadership and the Deficit

These lines from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels help explain to me why so many Republicans wanted him to run for President:

Leadership typically requires courage. But in our debt situation, really, how much and of what kind? This isn’t Philadelphia in 1776 or London in 1940. No one is risking life, liberty or sacred honor, let alone all three. The worst that could happen is one loses an election. . . .

If our leaders wish to draw out the best in us, they will have to start by assuming the best about us. Expressing and acting on this faith is, of course, an act of faith in itself. Maybe today’s Americans really will reject even trivial “sacrifice” and refuse to authorize the necessary changes to keep us from drifting over our Niagara Falls of debt. If so, we might as well find out now. If it turns out the cynics were right after all, then school’s out on our self-governance anyway.

I think that right now, with unemployment at 9%, is not the best time for the government to tighten its belt -- that should have been George W. Bush's job -- and I suspect Daniels and I would ask different sacrifices from different people. But I like his attitude. Somebody has to say that we need taxes high enough to pay for the government we want, that nothing the government does is free, and therefore we need to balance our expectations with our willingness to pay. If voters turn against politicians because they vote for tax hikes and spending cuts, well, tough -- the lives of ex-Congressmen are not really so bad.

No comments: