A day after voters re-elected Barack Obama, Yahoo! asked them what they'd like the president to tackle in his second term. Here are one voter's thoughts.
COMMENTARY | President Barack Obama has been re-elected for a second term, albeit with a much diminished majority than in 2008. He is now confronted with a choice. He could double-down on the left-wing agenda that blighted his first term.
Or, with his legacy in the hazard, Obama could choose to be a statesman. With that in mind, here are a few things he can do.
The president must finally tackle the country's fiscal crisis. Trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see are unsustainable and, in the long run, would swallow up any progressive initiatives that the president contemplates. At the same time, raising taxes would only make things worse as that would throw the American economy into another recession.
Obama should form a commission that should come up with a legislative package that will do the following things:
- Reform entitlements, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.
- Reform the tax system, making it simpler, easier to comply with, and more capable of fostering economic growth.
- Examine discretionary spending with a view of consolidating and even eliminating government departments and agencies.
The key to making this effort work is to make the effort bipartisan. So President Obama should appoint the man he defeated, Mitt Romney, as the commission's chairman. Romney is well known as a turnaround artist and had proposed to use that experience as president. Obama could reach across the aisle, show seriousness that he intends to at last solve some of the most vexing problems facing the United States and, in the process, be a statesman.
If Obama were to do this, he would anger his liberal base. But the president is not running for re-election ever again. So he is freed to rise above his left-wing upbringing and become a great president.
-- Mark Whittington, 56, Houston
- Politics & Government
- Health Care Policy
- Barack Obama