August 9, 2011

HE'LL SIGN WHATEVER REPUBLICANS CAN PASS, HE JUST CAN'T HELP AT ALL:

The welfare state wins this budget war (Robert J. Samuelson, August 7, 2011, Washington Post)

The real budget story is how protecting these vast retiree benefits dominates policymaking. If you shield almost half of spending and still want to cut, pressure intensifies on everything else. Along with defense, the budget deal also squeezes that catch-all category, "domestic discretionary spending." This covers many programs: roads, food safety, financial regulation, grants to states and localities, and much more.

We are penalizing general government to protect all retirees, no matter how healthy or wealthy. Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office projected that domestic discretionary spending would drop 30 percent -- as a share of the economy -- from 2011 to 2021. The budget deal will deepen that. President Obama keeps saying this spending will fall, again as a share of the economy, to its lowest level since Eisenhower. Why is he bragging about this?

The conventional wisdom holds that Republicans, hostage to the Tea Party, prevented a larger and more "balanced" deal by their rejection of any tax increases -- ever. Not so. It's true that Republicans were unbending on taxes and, at times, reckless in their rhetoric. It's also true that, even with sizable spending cuts, tax increases will ultimately be needed to balance the budget. But it's not true that only the right blocked a more comprehensive agreement.

Although Obama said he was willing to trim "entitlements" -- presumably, Social Security and Medicare -- he never laid out specific proposals or sought public support for them. There was more talk than action. Even if Obama had been more aggressive, he probably wouldn't have carried most liberals, who adamantly oppose cuts. They regard Social Security and Medicare as sacrosanct. Not a penny is to be trimmed from benefits.

This is an extreme, even fanatical stance.


This is where the UR's unsuitability to the office matters. A Democratic president who can't pass reforms that gouge the rich is truly useless.


Posted by at August 9, 2011 7:03 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« GONNA NEED A SCORECARD: | Main | A RIDER, NOT THE DECIDER: »