Thursday, April 14, 2011

ArmChair Obama™: Deficit Reduction.

Yeah, I know it sorta seems like we've already done this topic, but with yesterday's announcement of Obama's longterm deficit reduction strategy, I figured this is as good as time as any to revisit it. Here's The President's Master Plan To Prevent Armageddon/Ensure We Won't Become China's B*tch...
President Obama unveiled a framework Wednesday to reduce borrowing over the next 12 years by $4 trillion — a goal that falls short of targets set by his deficit commission and House Republicans — and called for a new congressional commission to help develop a plan to get there.

In his most ambitious effort to claim the mantle of deficit cutter, Obama proposed sharp new cuts to domestic and military spending, and an overhaul of the tax code that would raise fresh revenue. But he steered clear of fundamental changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — the primary drivers of future spending.

The proposal, which he announced at an afternoon speech at George Washington University, builds on the budget blueprint he sent to Congress in February and revises the plan to include many recommendations from the bipartisan fiscal commission he appointed last year. He also called on congressional leaders to appoint a panel of 16 lawmakers who would develop a concrete spending plan under the leadership of Vice President Biden.

To achieve his deficit reduction goal, Obama said it was necessary to cut domestic and defense spending and boost tax revenues. He set a goal of one dollar in increased tax revenues for every three dollars of spending cuts. Increased taxes would come from eliminating deductions as well as boosting taxes on the rich.

Obama also called for a series of modest changes to Medicare and Medicaid to achieve greater savings, but did not embrace a policy that would limit the number of people eligible for coverage or the type of treatment they could receive.

Obama met with congressional leaders Wednesday morning, and a senior administration official said they were receptive to the approach. Though some Republicans derided it as an abdication of presidential leadership at a crucial point in the debate over the nation’s fiscal future.

“Delegating leadership to other people in other bodies is not what we need right now,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in an interview. “I think the president’s giving a speech today because he’s getting a lot of criticism for avoiding this issue. But you can’t fix these things by giving speeches.”
While Paul Ryan's own deficit reduction plan is little more than a waste of perfectly good printer paper, he's right about one thing. Obama's tendency to cast grand visions for important legislation, then delegate the actual sausage making to folks on The Hill is getting tiring. It didn't work well on the Stimulus, Healthcare Reform, the Bush tax cut extensions, or the Government Shutdown, and it certainly isn't going to help here. At some point, flowery speeches need to give way to hardcore specifics. As is, the President's plan leaves too much to be fleshed out, and will inevitably result in a continuation of the same class warfare that those other important debates dissolved into over time.

For once, it'd be nice for him to do away with the rhetoric and spell out exactly what he wants done, to a tee. That way, there'd be little doubt about where the line between his ideas and those of losers like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi lies. As is, there's too much uncertainty, and that isn't the recipe for getting anything done in DC. Never has been, never will be.

Nonetheless, I'm ok with much of what I am reading here. Raising taxes on the rich is a no-brainer. He'd be really ballsy if he suggested raising taxes on everyone, but we know no politician is built like that. Other tax cuts to defense and "domestic" spending sound a bit more dubious. Not touching entitlements is, in my opinion, the right thing to do.

Then again, that's just my view. Play Armchair Obama™ and tell me what you'd do.

Question: What did you think of the President's deficit reduction plan?!? What would you do to remedy the situation?

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