My main complaint with Obama is that he promised to move us beyond these
stale debates, but he’s, instead, become a participant in them....My dream Obama would take advantage of the fact that only the president can fundamentally shift the terms. ... My dream Obama would abandon the big government versus small government argument. ... My dream Obama would nurture investment in three ways.
First, he would
take spending that currently goes to the affluent elderly and redirect
it to the young and the struggling. ...
Second, Obama could nurture investment by starting a debate on the sort
of consumption tax plan Michael Graetz describes in his book 100
Million Unnecessary Returns: Enact a value-added tax, use money from
that tax to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000, cut the
corporate tax rate to 15%, replace the earned-income tax credit
with payroll tax relief and debit cards. This is a heavy lift politically, but it achieves Obama’s fairness goals while boosting growth.
Third, Obama could talk obsessively about family structure and social repair. ...
My dream Obama wouldn’t be just one gladiator in the zero-sum budget
wars. He’d transform the sequester fight by changing the categories that
undergird it. He’d possess the primary ingredient of political
greatness: imagination. The great presidents, like Teddy Roosevelt, see
situations differently. They ask different questions. History pivots
around their terms.