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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.

People can handle the truth

Q: New Jersey's new Republican governor, Chris Christie, has forced cutbacks in pay for teachers and superintendents, capped local property taxes, cut pension benefits for state workers, canceled popular public works projects and closed a $11 billion state budget deficit. Yet in spite of these highly controversial initiatives and a blunt speaking style, his popularity in a heavily Democratic state is rising. What is the lesson here for other political leaders?

After traveling to 39 states during the past two plus years to engage Americans across the country, it has become clear to me that the people can handle the truth and the biggest deficit we have is a leadership deficit. The federal government as well as many state and local governments have grown too big, promised too much, and become more disconnected with Main Street America. Governor Chris Christie has tapped into these conditions and is capitalizing on them. His efforts will be controversial and are by no means perfect; however, he understands that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable. He is trying to change course and many other government leaders need to do the same.

By David Walker

 |  October 12, 2010; 9:57 AM ET
Category:  Government leadership , Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Mr.Walker: The Government is too big, you say. However, the number of federal civilian employees now is the same as in 1967. This in spite of the fact that our population is more than 50% great than in 1967. Paul Light, a noted analyst, in 2006 counted the contractor labor and estimated that the real workforce total was over 14 million. In any case, if the government is really too big, as you contend, there are proportionately more opportunities to cut in contracting. From your current position and from your previous slot as the head of the GAO, you probably have a pretty good handle on where to cut and the impact of such cuts. Please tell me where to look to read about the cutting opportunites. Thank you. Tom Kehoe Haymarket VA

Posted by: kehoetom | October 17, 2010 5:34 PM
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