I think the real key is his last paragraph that really sums up the current debt problem.
When people pile up debts they will find difficult and perhaps even impossible to repay, they are saying several things at once. They are obviously saying that they want more than they can immediately afford. They are saying, less obviously, that their present wants are so important that, to satisfy them, it is worth some future difficulty. But in making that bargain they are implying that, when the future difficulty arrives, they’ll figure it out. They don’t always do that...Lots of future promises have been made, but there's really no way to pay for them all.
So Obama has come out with a plan hoping to tackle both the unemployment crisis and the debt crisis. On the surface, this is really a "give up nothing" plan. And the problem here, as evidenced in the Vanity Fair article, is that something has to be given up somewhere.
Politicians are in the process of playing this shell game of needing to cut while pretending that everything is important. They're doing this in an attempt to keep their jobs and submarine fiscal change without forcing cultural change. But the problem here is cultural that is driving the fiscal. Until the culture starts driving fiscal change, all of these proposals are unlikely to work.