The president had an opportunity to provide leadership in his State of the Union address and in his budget but declined. Without presidential leadership, any serious effort to reduce spending and reform entitlements will fail. Thankfully, the power of the presidency gives him the ability to pivot whenever he chooses.
For the president, dealing with our debt threat could be his “Nixon goes to China” moment. Only a liberal Democratic president may be able to reform entitlements. Fortunately for the president, those of us who backed his own debt commission’s plan have already gone to China. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) committed the heresy of backing some entitlement reform. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and I backed tax reform that would lower rates dramatically, stimulate economic growth and generate revenue by doing away with dysfunctional subsidies such as that for ethanol.
Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) are inviting other members to join our delegation. If the president decides to go to China, he’ll find plenty of company. We’re all waiting for him.