Obama Says He'll Touch The Third Rail

Despite promises of trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, Obama says he takes fiscal responsibility seriously.

The incoming President told the Washington Post that he plans to convene a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” immediately, and in Obama’s world, fiscal responsibility means getting a grip on entitlement spending. That’s actually a refreshing change from Bush, who bragged about his fiscal responsibility, but did little to attack entitlement spending — which is the real beast.

President-elect Barack Obama pledged yesterday to shape a new Social Security and Medicare “bargain” with the American people, saying that the nation’s long-term economic recovery cannot be attained unless the government finally gets control over its most costly entitlement programs.

That discussion will begin next month, Obama said, when he convenes a “fiscal responsibility summit” before delivering his first budget to Congress. He said his administration will begin confronting the issues of entitlement reform and long-term budget deficits soon after it jump-starts job growth and the stock market.

What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further,” he said. “We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.

We like the spirit, but we’ll be sceptical until we see a plan. Obama has shown a willingness to piss off the left of his party (Rick Warren, tax cuts, etc.) but can he give the bird to people on the public dole and tell them to take a haircut? That’ll take some serious guts. That’s great that Obama wants to make the hard decisions under his watch, but Congressmen have primaries in just over a year. No doubt many of them would like to kick the can some more.

(via Marginal Revolution)

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