Friedman: "Go Big, Mr. Obama"

In his New York Times column this morning, Tom Friedman urged the president to “Go Big” to put the country on a “sustainable economic recovery path”. Friedman believes Obama should champion a large, bipartisan fiscal plan and should use the Simpson-Bowles Fiscal Commission plan as the starting point because it is calls for large enough savings to fix the problem and already has bipartisan support.

"People know leadership when they see it — when they see someone taking a political risk, not just talking about doing so, not just saying, 'I’ll jump if the other guy jumps.' In times of crisis, leaders jump first, lay out what truly needs to be done to fix the problem, not just to win re-election, and by doing so earn the right to demand that others do the same....

"First, he’d be proposing a deficit-cutting plan that matches the scale of our problem — one with substantial tax reform and revenue increases, a gasoline tax, deep defense cuts and cutbacks to both Social Security and Medicare. That is the Simpson-Bowles plan, and it should be Obama’s new starting point for negotiations. The deficit plan Obama put out last September is nowhere near as serious."

Just because the Super Committee was not able to agree on a fiscal plan does not absolve lawmakers from having the responsibility to fix our fiscal problems. Congress and the President must step in to lead the way forward. And, as Friedman also says, they must "Go Big".