President Barack Obama's 2012 budget clearly reveals we are a country without a leader. His own debt reduction commission declared: "We cannot play games or put off hard choices any longer. … There is no easy way out. … If the U.S. does not put its house in order, the reckoning will be sure and the devastation severe. … After all the talk about debt and deficits, it is long past time for America's leaders to put up or shut up. The era of debt denial is over, and there can be no turning back."

Yet the president's budget adds $9 trillion in debt over the next decade and avoids dealing with entitlements as his commission urged and recommended. And his so-called spending cuts are a farce. His discretionary non-defense cuts are based on a baseline that is at best 24 percent higher than before he took office. Thus his so-called cuts maintain high levels of spending.

We stand at the edge of financial catastrophe, and our president ignores it. We as a nation deserve better. We deserve an honest, frugal, courageous, constitutionally inspired leader at the helm. It's not about party, it's about character. But it is up to us.

Gary Russon

Salt Lake City