a five-year strategy to restore fiscal discipline and ensure that this economic hole doesnâ€™t get any deeper. It should include entitlement reforms that address Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, and a pay-go system to cover initiatives or tax cuts.
But the presidentâ€™s greatest challenge will be political, warned Panetta, adding that Republicans will return to Congress in January with an even slimmer minority and in no mood to cooperate with some of the big economic challenges facing the nation.
â€śPartisanship is deep on Capitol Hill, so the real question is whether a new president can provide the leadership needed to convince this country about the issues that are going to have to be met, but also convince Congress that theyâ€™re going to have to make some hard choices,â€ť Panetta said. â€śAnd, thereâ€™s a question of whether [the president and Congress] will be willing to ask Americans to make the sacrifices to do whatâ€™s necessary so we can reach the surface again of our economic welfare.â€ť