US Needs a Lesson In Leadership
In the summer issue of “National Affairs,” Fred Barnes has an essay titled “Learning from Canada.” It’s about how the liberal government, led by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Finance Minister Paul Martin, turned around Canada’s ruinous fiscal situation and put the government on a solid and sustained fiscal course.
With the national debt and growth of government out of control, strong leadership and bold action were essential. Chrétien and Martin provided the leadership and were able to implement real reforms.
After a concerted campaign to convince the public that the fiscal problems were real, Martin told the House of Commons that “Canadians have told us that they want the deficit brought down by reducing government spending, not by raising taxes, and we agree.”
Further, “The era of tax and spend government is gone.”
Barnes notes that, “The government’s 1995 budget was a game changer.” All programs were systematically reviewed for their need and effectiveness and cut as appropriate. They did not raise taxes. This from a liberal government.
The real lesson here is leadership. Canada has it; we don’t. Until we get leadership and commitment from the liberals and especially the president, we are not likely to solve our own debt and deficit problems. In this capacity, President Obama is a failure.
It is not leadership to give prime time political speeches aimed at pitting groups against each other. It is not leadership to trash Congressman Ryan’s plan in a political diatribe, instead of acknowledging the opportunity to work the problem together.
Would Obama’s position have moved to where it is without pressure from House Republicans? The president must get serious and out in front. If he does this, he won’t have to worry about re-election. He could learn a lot from our friends up north.
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