"A fiscal day of reckoning"

The job of a president is to solve problems now. Except when it isn't.

Published May 4, 2006 3:37PM (EDT)

George W. Bush likes to say that the job of a president is to deal with problems now. He said it again just yesterday: "I like to remind people that the job of a president is to confront problems, no matter how difficult they may look, and not pass them on to future presidents."

So if that's the job of a president, how's this one doing? You be the judge.

As the Washington Post reports today, the president and members of his party in Congress have reached agreement on a plan to extend all of his first-term tax cuts through Jan. 11, 2011.

What happens then? Well, who knows?

The Post says that Jan. 11, 2011, will be a "fiscal day of reckoning" on which members of Congress will have to face a choice: "Either allow taxes to rise suddenly and sharply on everyone who pays income taxes, is married, has children, holds stocks and bonds, or expects a large inheritance, or impose mounting budget deficits on the government far into the future."

The upside for Americans? By having all the tax cuts expire at once, the enormity of the deficit problem created by renewing them will stare members of Congress straight in the face. The upside for Bush? He'll get to watch it all unfold from the comfort of retirement back in Crawford, Texas.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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