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Mitch Daniels: Is the US up to solving its money woes?

The US has to address the 'menace of red ink,' Gov. Mitch Daniels says, 'or we are going to lose the American promise we call a dream.' If America succeeds, he sees 'remarkable opportunity.'

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels speaks at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

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The United States is facing the “menace of red ink,” says Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and the tough choices required for a solution will force the country to face the question: “Is our democracy up to this or not?”

Daniels, a Republican who served in the White House as Ronald Reagan’s political director and George W. Bush’s budget director, brings a unique perspective to the deficit spending and debt problems facing the nation.

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Speaking at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters on Friday, Daniels said, “It isn’t a left-right, R versus D, question. It is arithmetic, and we needn’t waste any time beating each other up over what contributed what percentage to this. We have to fix it or we are going to lose the American promise we call the dream.”

While sounding the alarm about large federal deficits in his new book “Keeping the Republic”, Daniels is not totally pessimistic. “There is a remarkable opportunity here. If we do address [the red ink] aggressively, we will clearly be the leading nation for the foreseeable future,” he told reporters.

Even if his ideas for reforming the tax code, Social Security, Medicare, and the education system were adopted, Daniels said, “people should not be promised” a solution will come in months rather than years.

“I freely admit there is a big element of faith involved. But it was well written years ago that democracy was and always will be a leap of faith,” Daniels said.