Yesterday I made a comment about President Obama’s lack of leadership in certain areas. I looked at what our cousins were saying about us, and the leadership of our country. I’d like to take another look at what our cousins are saying, while illustrating why I think our President is having leadership issues. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a denigration of one party over another, but a comment about leadership. Leadership is about influence. It is also about getting people to come to consensus for the good of the group. President Obama has exercised influence, but consensus has eluded him. He has not been able to bring the two parties together to develop positive solutions. This was something both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were able to do.
Our British cousins once again are able to illustrate this nicely. “America’s president sees himself as the champion of a fairer society.” I would agree with this assessment from our cousins. Our President declares how inequality and having “95% of gains of the recovery have flowed to the richest 1%” are having a negative affect on our nation. I would agree with this assessment too.
I would also agree with our cousins when they say, ”He [President Obama] wants to narrow income gaps and build ladders of opportunity for those at the bottom. By and large those are admirable aspirations.” And many economists are worried about this very thing. However, I also agree with our cousins when they point out, “The problem lies with Barack Obama’s solutions, which are too timid and reliant on left-wing nostrums, such as a big increase in the minimum wage and more spending.” OK cousin in your opinion what needs to be accomplished?
The first thing is tax reform. Instead of a tax code that contains many loopholes that benefit mainly the wealthy, our country needs a tax system where the loopholes are scrapped with improved efficiency. There is a proposal from David Camp that may create the necessary tax reform, but he is a Republican. Due to partisan politics it may not go anywhere.
The second thing our cousins say we need to do is overhaul entitlements. “Another priority is to overhaul entitlements – the government benefits, from pension payments to disability insurance, that operate on automatic pilot unless politicians reform them.” This could include wage subsidies. However, this solution was proposed by Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican which means it may go nowhere.
The third proposal from our cousins involves discretionary social spending. “America invests relatively little in areas that boost opportunity.” This means we invest little in pre-school, active labor policies, and getting the jobless back to work. “America has 47 federal training schemes, many of which overlap and few which work.” The Republicans have recommended that states take the lead in this. This is a pragmatic solution, but one that may not see the light of day due to the lack of leadership.
Well, President Obama the gauntlet has been thrown down and we have been challenged by our cousins. Will you lead the complete country, listening to both sides of the aisle, or will you continue on the path you are currently travelling. Any manager worth his or her salt learns early to listen to those that take a devil’s advocate approach to decision-making.
For the sake of the United States I hope you become the leader many thought you could be.
And that is my thought for the day!