Here’s the question I’d like to see Jim Lehrer ask President Obama:

President Obama, you and Speaker Boehner were unable to reach a big picture budget agreement last year.  If you are re-elected and Mr. Boehner continues as Speaker, why should voters expect a different result over the next four years? Why shouldn’t Americans expect the budget stalemate just continue?

Separate but related, at some point I assume President Obama will say he inherited our current deficit problems. This is a little long, but it would be great to see Governor Romney respond like this:

Mr. President, for almost four years you have been telling us that you inherited huge fiscal problems, and you have told us that the past four years of trillion dollar deficits aren’t your fault. Why have you spent so much time complaining about who is to blame for our Nation’s deficit and spending problems and so little time solving them?

The budget you propose would accumulate another $6 trillion of debt over the next decade. The long-term budget problems are even more severe, and you still haven’t proposed a solution to them. Presidents are supposed to lead, and you have not.

Yes, we know that you want to raise taxes on the rich. You think the problem is that government doesn’t have enough money, so you propose tax increases. But if we did what you propose we’d eliminate only one-twelfth of next year’s deficit, and only one-sixth of our deficit ten years from now. I think the problem is that government is spending too much, and the obvious solution is to reduce the size of government.

If I am elected President, I will make reducing deficits and cutting government spending top priorities. I will propose a budget that solves our short-term and long-term deficit and government spending problems, and I will take all the energy that you have devoted to blaming someone else, and instead dedicate it to working with anyone, of either party, who will work me to solve the problem. I have already proposed several specific ideas, including changes to the major entitlement programs that drive our fiscal problems.

It is time to stop worrying about who gets blamed when things go wrong and start working on getting economic policy right.

(photo credit: Randy Slavey)