Obama's political calculations get in the way of real solutions

By Michael Gerson

The Washington Post

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

There is one main downside of this approach. It delays any serious action on long-term debt for at least another two (and probably four) years. It is the path of a government that moves from fiscal crisis to crisis, gradually undermining global confidence that it can manage its own affairs. An economy in which uncertainty, slow growth and high employment become norms. A federal budget increasingly devoted to entitlements at the expense of other purposes, including defense — eventually undercutting our international influence in the same way that Europe has become depleted, insular and toothless.

Obama's short-term political calculations are understandable. It is the cost to posterity that is unreasonable.

Michael Gerson's email address is michaelgerson@washpost.com.

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