Make it fun. Deficit reduction isn't exactly a barrel of monkeys, but maybe we could lighten it up a bit. The New York Times recently released an iPhone and iPad app designed to work like a puzzle, entitled "You Balance the Budget." It was created with the help of the commission and experts from both sides of the aisle. The deficit commission, the White House, and the various GOP websites should drive traffic to it and encourage Americans to send in their good ideas. Why do Sudoku on the subway when you can balance the federal budget?
Act like a CEO. In the last two years, every CEO in America has had to call in senior management and tell them it's time to cut expenses by 10 percent and, if they can't find a way to do it, we'll find someone else who can. The president should do the same with the Cabinet: request 10 percent spending cuts from every agency—including defense—either across the board or targeted at certain programs, their choice. If they can't find a way to do that by January's State of the Union address, we'll find someone else who can. Everyone who has had to cut a monthly budget, either at home or the office, would certainly understand.
This election proved that the electorate is engaged, with high numbers of voters telling pollsters that they were paying close attention, particularly to economic issues. Our leaders need to give the public what it's looking for: workable solutions, presented in common-sense language, that will get our country back on track. Those who care are hungry for it, and those who don't need to hear it before it's too late.