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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.

Defusing our fiscal time bomb

Q: Winning an election often involves taking a strong ideological position to energize a partisan base. Actually governing, however, usually requires compromise. Will today's Republican leaders be able or willing to pivot successfully from campaigning to governing? Are there lessons from other fields on how to do it?

It seems pretty clear that the Republicans are poised to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and to make major gains in the U.S. Senate in next week's midterm elections. Republicans have been able to do so, in large part, by capitalizing on the public's concern about federal spending, deficits and debt, coupled with the general anti-incumbent mood. It will be interesting to see whether President Obama and the new Congressional leadership can pivot after the elections in a manner that will allow some progress in defusing our fiscal time bomb. It clearly is in our nation's interest for them to do so, and hopefully they will. If not, we could face an even bigger fiscal crisis. Even if we can avoid a crisis until after the 2012 election cycle, absent meaningful action, the public's growing discontent will likely take a toll on a whole new set on incumbents in 2012.

By David Walker

 |  October 26, 2010; 9:58 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Congressional leadership , Crisis leadership , Economic crisis , Government leadership , Managing Crises , Political leadership , Politics , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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