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Alaina Love
Leadership author

Alaina Love

Alaina Love is co-author, with Marc Cugnon, of The Purpose Linked Organization and co-founder of Purpose Linked Consulting.

Grow up, Washington

Question: In a high-stakes game of political chicken, President Obama appears to have bowed to Republican threats to block the extension of tax cuts to the middle class--and all other legislation--unless a similar tax cut for high-income households was also included. Is this realistic bipartisan compromise after a sobering election, or is it a sign of weak leadership?

The current tap dance around the extension of tax cuts to high-income households is not an example of bipartisan compromise or mere leadership weakness. It is an act of blackmail rather than a game of "chicken". What we are witnessing is the emasculation of the office of the president, with the intent to render Obama impotent in his efforts to course correct this economy in ways that may be unpleasant, but necessary. Obama's efforts do not serve the political ambitions of those already campaigning for the next election, nor do they serve Obama. But they may just serve the American people.

During times of crisis, Americans have the right to expect all of our elected officials to cooperate and intelligently address the issues that threaten to cripple the nation's economy for decades to come. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are exempt from this responsibility. Politicians in both parties should be demonstrating leadership by focusing on growing the economy and jobs rather than engaging in the kind of grandstanding we're seeing now--all of which will likely result in two years of stagnation during the remaining term of this administration. Meanwhile, other countries, especially in Asia, are growing and severely eroding America's competitiveness on the world stage. Witness the recent "Sputnik Moment", where China set the new world record for passenger train speed at 302 miles per hour.

Reinstating higher taxes for middle-class Americans would be a mistake and likely affect the still-tenuous economic recovery, hence it has become the pawn in this political chess match. Yet, it is unreasonable to expect that without taxation of some sector of our population the government can continually underwrite the soaring costs of health care, two wars, an aging population and failing corporations. It is also impossible for real economic growth to occur unless we once again become a country that creates products as well as ideas, and business returns to American soil. So, we're back to the basics that I learned in grade school--produce more, sell more, save more, spend wisely.

Somewhere along the way, however, we've become a nation of immediate gratification, which has contributed to the current economic debacle, coupled with leadership in Washington that refuses to make the very bold decisions that can right our economy again--including examining the standards of our monetary system. This is no time for extortion, or adolescent games of chicken. This is no time for self-serving decisions. America is in the fight of her life to regain our economic footing. Grow up, Washington leadership and get on with it.

By Alaina Love

 |  December 6, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Congressional leadership , Crisis leadership , Economic crisis , Government leadership , Managing Crises , Political leadership , Presidential leadership , Self-Sacrifice Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Gridlock has its rewards | Next: Compromise is king


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Republican - the party that takes from the poor (votes) and gives to the rich (more $$)

Posted by: stfuah | December 7, 2010 12:16 PM
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You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://ow.ly/3akSX .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: mitchellherr | December 7, 2010 5:42 AM
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Point well made, Ms Love. We are indeed watching blackmail in action. Trouble is, I have little faith in our political leaders to accept the responsibility you outline. We will all suffer as a consequence unless we demand more of our elected officials and are courageous enough to vote them out when they don't accept the responsibility of the office to which we've elected them.

Posted by: MartinG1 | December 6, 2010 9:00 PM
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