OTHER OPINION: Obama’s time to lead on entitlements

By The Washington Post

You might expect winners to be more ready than losers to compromise. Magnanimity in victory, and all that. It often works the other way, though. Victors misread their triumph and overplay their hands.
Republicans, who failed to retake the White House and lost ground in the Senate, are beginning to accept that they will have to bend on a core principle in the fiscal talks now under way. Democrats, meanwhile, are sounding more and more maximalist in resisting spending cuts.
The Post’s Greg Sargent reported that union leaders and other liberals came away from a White House meeting encouraged that administration officials agree.
“They expect taxes to go up on the wealthy and to protect Medicare and Medicaid benefits,” one attendee said. “They feel confident that they don’t have to compromise.”
Don’t have to compromise?
Elections do have consequences, and President Barack Obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy. But he was clear on something else, too: Deficit reduction must be “balanced,” including spending cuts as well as tax increases.
Obama has understood this since at least 2009, when he told The Post’s editorial board that he would tackle entitlement reform.
“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 then.
Four years later, has the moment arrived? At some point, (Obama) has to prepare the American people – and his own supporters most of all – for the “hard decisions” required to put the country on a sound financial footing. That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise … Only one person is in a position to make it happen.
The Washington Post

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