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Our Plodding, Self-Pitying President

"None of the changes I'm proposing are easy or politically convenient," President Obama noted from the Rose Garden on Monday. I've never seen a president less in a hurry to get things done -- or as quick to display his deep reservoir of self-pity.

Consider: Obama's jobs proposal promises payroll tax cuts for most workers, and tax increases on millionaires only. That's about as easy and convenient as politics gets. Yet somehow the president speaks as if his proposal is courageous. He even tells voters that he's making them share the deficit-reduction burden.

When George W. Bush was president, liberals frequently complained about the impropriety of cutting taxes while America was fighting two wars. With Libya, America is now fighting three wars, and liberals clearly didn't mean what they said about the need for national sacrifice. They supported Obama's provision for a one-year, 2 percent "holiday" in workers' contributions to Social Security payroll taxes. Now Obama wants to shave off another 1.1 percent and extend the payroll tax reduction through 2012 -- and he'll likely get that.

What will the cuts do to the long-term solvency of Social Security? If Obama succeeds in winning another year of his tax "holiday," it surely will become permanent. Social Security's "lockbox" structure is being picked apart, but the pundit class is more interested in examining whether a certain GOP candidate should use the term "Ponzi scheme."

Debra J. Saunders is a columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle. To continue reading her column, click here.