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Figuring out our fiscal future

I applaud the Nov. 28 editorial “Mr. Obama’s moment,” which correctly asserted that finally our nation’s leaders must compromise to begin to correct decades of financial incompetence. As the editorial noted, “Only one person is in a position to make it happen.” Unfortunately, in four years, our president has yet to demonstrate the leadership skills needed to fulfill this responsibility.

A front-page story the same day, “Obama launches PR effort on ‘cliff,’ ” reported that President Obama is embarking on a campaign-style tour to sell his ideas. This is what he is good at and apparently enjoys. Based on the election, however, the American people support his plan; he should not be out wasting valuable time and tax money doing this. He needs to be in Washington engaging in these critical negotiations.

This is the part of the job he seems not to like. A real leader would.

I’m afraid this PR tour is calculated to remove Mr. Obama from direct responsibility in case there is a failure to address the “fiscal cliff.” Mr. Obama can then blame someone else. He’s very good at that, too.

Lee Langan, Oakton

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The Nov. 30 front-page article “Obama offers plan for ‘cliff’ ” said that President Obama’s plan strictly meets Democratic standards and offers no concessions to Republicans. In other words, it is designed to fail.

While such typical political theater makes for interesting fodder for punditry, empty gestures with no intention toward progress cannot be the modus operandi. Our leaders’ actions have real-time effects on the American people. Every time House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) or Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) flip-flops between optimism and doubt, the markets react, and unemployed or underemployed Americans like me lose hope that we will ever find jobs. What employer will hire with the threat of $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases looming?

I am 27 years old, have a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and have completed more than 300 job applications — and I’ve been an unpaid intern for two years. And I’m one of the “lucky” ones.

Our leaders must realize that the longer they simply “play the game” in these negotiations, the more they hurt the people they swore to serve.

Jamie Haynes, Fairfax Station

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In reading Zig Ziglar’s obituary [“Motivational speaker’s sunny advice attracted millions,” Metro, Nov. 29], I was struck by this quotation: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want!”

Imagine if CEOs — and politicians — took those words to heart. The CEOs would share their immense profits with their workers (who, after all, are responsible for those very profits). Just think what that would do for the economy. The politicians would work to develop a plan for improving America, including systematic work to bring the nation’s infrastructure up to par.

Everybody should work for a better America, in whatever way they can contribute. Spending for education, training and help for those needing it should not be cut. What is needed is a long-term plan for achieving economic stability that will give entrepreneurs the confidence to invest. That will benefit us all.

Nancy R. Turner, Gaithersburg

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●The time is long overdue for King Grover, the self-appointed guardian of taxation, to abdicate and leave the governing of this nation to our elected representatives [“Republicans begin to challenge the reign of an anti-tax enforcer,” front page, Nov. 27]. The Constitution granted Congress the power “to lay and collect Taxes . . . to pay the Debts . . .” (Article I, Section 8). It did not give unelected, private citizens such as Grover Norquist the author­ity to usurp those powers by intimidating the elected representatives of the people.

The Founding Fathers, however, may have had Mr. Norquist and like-minded power-grabbers in mind when they cited in the Declaration of Independence the many abuses of the king of Great Britain. First and foremost was the king’s refusal to assent to laws “necessary for the public good” or “of immediate and pressing importance.”

J. A. Steiner, Rockville

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