The public is tired of Washington gridlock.
Social Security and Medicare are on the table.
Can Congress and the president finally cooperate?
How are you
doing in this
good. Business in
–Young Choi, 54,
By Tamara Lytle
How can the
“Make it easier
to buy health
The new year brings the same crew of cooks in the nation’s
kitchen, each with diferent
recipes for how to whip up
a menu of fiscal change that
will satisfy the nation without
burning down the house.
ton solve our
“I have some
After a $6 billion campaign and a
post-election tug-of-war, President
Obama still sits at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, with a Republican-majority House and Democratic-controlled Senate at the other end.
Financial markets and public opinion
have made it clear they want leaders to
work through four potent dishes—
reducing the debt, energizing the economy, implementing the health care law,
and actually cooperating.
As the president begins his second
term and Congress reconvenes this
month, a unique blend of motivation
and opportunity exists in abundance.
For one thing, none of the Washington
politicians have to worry about partisan elections this year. For another,
countries like Greece and Spain have
shown the sorts of social and economic upheaval that result when a nation
doesn’t preemptively tackle its fiscal
imbalances. With that dynamic, “it’s
possible to get some things done now
that were not possible before,” says Allan Meltzer, professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University and
a fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Few people understand the issues
better than G. William Hoagland, a
senior vice president at the Bipartisan
Policy Center. For 33 years, Hoagland
worked on Capitol Hill, with a unique
vantage point as staff director of the
Senate Budget Committee and as a
top aide to former Senate Republican
leader Bill Frist. Hoagland says that
he has never seen so many crucial issues come together at once—including
the temporary budget that runs out in
March, the need to raise the nation’s
debt limit and the “fiscal clif” deadline.