A positive sign

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daily Herald, Editorial

The best thing about President Obama’s desire to freeze most discretionary government spending for five years is not the fiscal austerity that the measure represents, it is the bridge that it builds between the president and a newly conservative Congress.

Speaking to the nation on Tuesday evening, the president took aim at the economy and government spending in ways that once would have been anathema to his administration. Proposing a five-year spending freeze was a follow-up to the president’s announcement, late last year, that he would freeze federal employees’ pay. It also hewed to the same path as his willingness to extend the so-called Bush-era tax cuts.

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Taken in total, these moves represent a move toward the center that is where America’s leaders are going to have to position themselves if they are going to actually lead the nation out of its economic doldrums and crushing deficit. With the president’s move toward the center, and toward realistic policy, perhaps the Republican-dominated House and nearly split Senate can follow suit… and something will actually get done in a cooperative manner.

It is possible to enact policy while dancing around extreme political positions. But the results are usually horrid. Last year’s health care “reform” is an example. Much better results for most Americans will come if the president and Congress can work together on economic policy and the many issues surrounding energy, the environment and health care. Tuesday’s speech was a good sign.