The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

January 21, 2013

President should work with Congress to pass fiscal reform

ENID, Okla. — Now that the inauguration is over, President Barack Obama must deal with the deficit.

“We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit,” Obama said during Monday’s inauguration address. “But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.”

Obama’s victory didn’t provide a mandate. There should be no more drawing a line in the sand.

Nationwide, 47 percent did not vote for President Obama, demonstrating the deep divide in our great nation. Here in Oklahoma, the reddest state in America, Obama didn’t capture a single county in either presidential election.

Moving forward, Obama has a chance to forge a lasting legacy of fiscal responsibility that could begin now. We don’t need a leader to blame their predecessor or pass the buck to the next administration.

America’s last balanced budget was a dozen years ago. We need immediate action that won’t kick the can four years down the road.

As deficit hawk Sen. Tom Coburn says, we have an obligation to our grandkids to live within our budget. That includes Congress, which our senator recently described as the “most unproductive and unpopular” in modern history. (A recent poll found Congress to be less popular than cockroaches.)

We hope Obama works with Congress to fix this financial mess. The sustainable plan must be credible, specific and comprehensive.

We should increase the debt ceiling, but this must done with future budget cuts. We have to reduce spending, and everyone must take a bite of the austerity apple.

As the nonpartisan Concord Coalition suggests, this sweeping fiscal reform should put the entire federal budget on the table. That includes domestic discretionary spending, entitlements, revenues and defense spending.

Lincoln was right: A house divided against itself cannot stand.

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