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David Walker
Political/Philanthropic leader

David Walker

Former Comptroller General of the United States, David Walker is president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

End the spending binge

In response to the On Leadership question: Can Americans handle the painful truth about government budget deficits -- that getting them under control will require both tax increases and cuts in government services -- or will they reject any leader who dares to deliver it? What's a leader to do?

I know that Americans can handle the truth because I have been to 46 states in the past four years conducting town hall forums and meeting with business, government, community, media, youth and other leaders about our nation's deteriorating financial condition.

Americans know that the federal government has been on a spending binge for most of this decade and that it has promised far more than it can deliver. They are increasingly concerned about escalating deficits and debt as well as our heavy reliance on foreign lenders. Public opinion polls and recent election results confirm that Americans are growing more frustrated and even angry with Washington's ways.

It's time to begin a process that will engage the American people with the hard facts, the plain truth and the tough choices relating to our nation's large structural deficits that, without action, will only grow with the passage of time. This process needs to involve capable, credible and committed individuals who will engage the American people and then develop various non-partisan and non-ideological recommendations that can achieve bipartisan support.

This approach is essential in order for elected officials to make the required tough budget control, spending and tax decisions sooner rather than later and without losing their jobs. President Obama has noted his intention to form a Presidential Fiscal Commission to engage the American people and make related recommendations. The time for it to get started is now!

By David Walker

 |  February 3, 2010; 4:11 PM ET
Category:  Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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