This could be a seminal week in Washington.  President Obama will finally be kicking off the debt negotiations at the White House with Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.  Since May, the Treasury Department has been shifting money around so America does not default on its $14 trillion debt.  Those treasury tactics will run out in early August and it is feasible that America will default to its foreign creditors at that time.

Eric Allie / Cagle Cartoons (click to view more Debt Ceiling cartoons)

True leaders lead and President Obama has been AWOL on the debt crisis.  So where has Obama been for nearly two months?  What we do know is that President Obama was in New York City raising money for his $1 billion reelection campaign last week.  It seems like the only deadline President Obama is worried about is June 30th - when the books are closed for second quarter fundraising.  President Obama is more concerned about being reelected than governing.  It is not even 2012 yet, and the President is already on a campaign footing.

America is truly at a crossroads with over $14 trillion in debt and 9.1 percent unemployment. President Obama has not produced a legitimate plan to help get Americans back to work.  Last week, the government announced that new weekly unemployment claims went up more than expected to 429,000.  This is the 11th week in a row that new unemployment claims were over 400,000. The Obama Administration said last year would have a “Recovery Summer,” but they were relying on the failed stimulus bill that was passed over two years ago.   One year later, America’s economic engine is still stuck in reverse, and this month’s unemployment numbers do not look promising.

It is a sad state of affairs when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says, “We don't have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting.” Maybe it’s because President Obama has not had a clear economic plan that would lead to a long term recovery other than more spending, more regulations, and more taxes. His solution has always been that big government could fix it. Government is not the solution; we must let private industry lead us out of this economic quagmire.

To add jobs, America must get its fiscal house in order.  Last week, Citizens United participated in a press conference with a number of United States Senators and Congressmen who have signed the Cut, Cap, Balance Pledge.  “Cut,” “cap,” and “balance” are three simple words that if the Obama Administration had followed them over the last two-and-a-half years America would not be stuck in the economic rut that it is currently in.

The Cut, Cap, Balance pledge has three stipulations for raising the debt ceiling:

1. Cut - Substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
2. Cap - Enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
3. Balance - Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- but only if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses.

The greatest part about this pledge is that everyday Americans can sign onto it and hold their elective representatives accountable.  In hard economic times, American families cut, cap, and balance their own budgets at home.  It is time for the federal government to follow suit.

With 9.1 percent unemployment, and 65 percent of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track, President Obama should be at the negotiation table this week with hat in hand.  Hard cuts need to be made now or Washington, DC will soon be looking more like Athens, Greece.