The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- President Obama certainly has his hands full these days, between the lagging economy, political infighting in Washington and a slew of problems abroad. While his staff is undoubtedly both efficient and supportive, they may well have been too busy to help Obama develop his list of New Year's resolutions.
In the spirit of the season, here's a list of six resolutions that the president really should make:
Develop a national budget.
It's been years since Congress has passed a budget reflecting the nation's anticipated annual expenditures. The federal government currently runs on a series of laddered expense authorization bills, which creates the potential for an embarrassing public crisis every time Congress locks horns on a crucial spending measure. Recent presidential budget proposals have been met with gleeful cries of "DOA!" ("dead on arrival" for those who don't live around the Beltway), but that doesn't mean President Obama shouldn't make the effort.
Quite the contrary -- no company or household should run without an annual budget, and neither should the United States. Just the act of putting the budget together will help the president refine his priorities and clarify his message (to say nothing of improving his political posture when Congress refuses to consider the budget he presents). So sharpen that pencil, Mr. President, and propose a rational budget that reflects your political views.
Champion the other 99%.
The growing gap between the ultra-wealthy and everyone else in the U.S. presents a significant problem for the nation; if it didn't, our cities wouldn't have been choked with Occupy Wall Street protesters through the summer and fall. The un- and under-employed represent a significant segment of the American people. They need jobs, hope and, most importantly, they need to know that the next president cares about their welfare and will work to make things better. President Obama needs to present those Americans with a workable plan to improve the economy, create jobs and rebalance the economic playing field.
Begin the Afghanistan troop drawdown.
Four years ago, candidate Barack Obama promised to end the war in Iraq and, as president, he did so. He can proudly take credit for that success, but an election year is no time for a presidential candidate to rest on his laurels. Osama bin Laden is dead, al Qaeda seems to be in disarray, and history teaches us (courtesy of Great Britain and Russia) that bringing any military action in Afghanistan to a clean conclusion is hellishly difficult to do. Our stated objective in entering Afghanistan -- finding and punishing the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 bombings - appears to have been achieved. Time to declare victory and come home.