Maybe it’s just that he’s waiting for others to craft the reforms so he can see how people react before signing on to anything. This way, he accrues the benefit of supporting a popular reform without the political risk of backing a proposal which might alienate his base.
I endorsed Jon Huntsman for President, in part, because of his bold tax reform plan. In his speech last night, the man the former Utah Governor once sought to replace addressed the issue thusly: “It’s time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I’ll sign them right away.” He went on to repeat his mantra about having the rich pay more.
Note how in the passage cited above, the president asked someone else to write the reforms and send them to him. He failed to offer a plan of his own.
In a similar vein, here’s how he addressed entitlement reform: “I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.”
Prepared to make? Prepared to make, Mr. President? The President of the United States should be doing more than just make preparations, he should be proposing solutions.
Let me quote what Huntsman said about Medicare reform:
I admire Congressman Paul Ryan’s honest attempt to save Medicare. Those who disagree with his approach incur a moral responsibility to propose reforms that would ensure Medicare’s ability to meet its responsibilities to retirees without imposing an unaffordable tax burden on future generations of Americans.
Paul Ryan is not the president. (Hopefully, one day he will be.) Yet, he has put forward a solution. He did more than just indicate his preparation to act. He made a decision about where he stood — and expressed it in the form of a proposal that could be enacted into law. Isn’t that what leaders are supposed to do?