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The real deficit is one of confidence and readiness to change

Nicholas Kristof had a thought-provoking piece over the weekend in the New York Times pointing out how reckless politicians are hurting America from within:

The biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.

Motivated by ideology rather than practicality, some members of Congress are blind to the way their position will actually make America weaker, and how their “budget-cutting” stance will actually end up forcing the government to spend more (to finance debt payment at higher interest rates, for one).

E.J. Dionne, writing in the Washington Post, tries to bring the conversation back around to the “other deficit” that President Obama has to confront — high unemployment.

But I think Robert Samuelson really gets it right.  He says America is undergoing a major shift in priorities, possibilities, and potential.  According to Samuelson,

Economic weakness in advanced countries stems partly from the residual trauma on consumers and companies following the ferocious 2008-09 financial crisis. But the effect is complicated by a backward-looking mentality. Governments everywhere are striving to protect the old order because they do not understand and fear the new.

As an energy entrepreneur I met once said, “we already know what we need to do.”  Great options for creating jobs, fighting climate change, and energizing our diverse and hard-working population are already on the table.  America is packed with creative people and people are hungry for real change.  Even if each step we take is small, we need forward movement.  And we need leaders in Washington — in federal agencies as well as in Congress and the White House — who are going to forge ahead and make things happen.  If that leadership doesn’t come from President Obama, it may be actually, finally be time for a new kind of politics to take shape in America.

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