Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Deficit: Ryan's Gambit, the President's Check, and Mate Comes in November 2012

Heh, heh, heh. The President still has a few tricks up his sleeve. (Although I still think he's playing chess, rather than quick rounds of cards). I thought there was something more to this budget business. The Republicans refused to move first on the Health Care Reform (for decades, and decades, for that matter). So, when the Dems came forward, again, it was just too easy for the Repubs to stir up opposition with those predisposed to dislike the President when all we got, was a fairly centrist opportunity to help a lot more people get private health insurance. If you don't believe me, just look how angry those on the more progressive left are who wanted single-payer, government option (like Medicare). The law we got, including the mandate, is no more than the concept previously proposed by Republicans in the 1990s, by the Heritage Foundation, and, of course, Romney in Massachusetts. And as the Prez came out successful with Health Care Reform, now it looks as if he will do even better with long-term debt reduction.

I wondered back in February what was up with the President's 2012 budget proposal with it pretty much ignoring Simpson-Bowles Report or any Entitlement Reform which is absolutely necessary to deal with our trillions in debt. The Prez did wait for the Repubs to go first. Maybe that was cynical as he obviously already had a plan in his back pocket. Imagine if he had gone first with a perfectly moderate plan to reform and enhance revenues (yes, taxes on those able to pay instead of more cutting for the wealthiest and greater financial burdens on the poor and middle class). It would have been framed as some kind of African-Muslim-socialist-facism as per usual, and we would be right back to square one. But there is that thought too, that he is allowing the Congress to do its Article I job to actually propose legislation, especially on spending/debt issues. All he has to do Constitutionally is sign or veto, not write, propose, and fight it through.

So what does he do with budgetary issues instead? While staying above the fray, he compromised significantly on the 2011 budget resulting in the largest single-year cuts of all time. The very principle of Compromise was a victory for him and his political philosophy and a defeat for the tea party and other conservative extremists. Then, this week he proposes his deficit reduction plan that modestly reforms entitlements, declines additional tax cuts for the rich, and modestly enhances revenues to bring us to a sounder long-term fiscal condition. I dunno, but that sounds a lot better than doing away with Medicaid, Medicare, and much of Social Security (and adding more tax-cutting for the wealthy) as Congressman Ryan proposes.

The professional Blogger Andrew Sullivan, whom I find really interesting for a lot of reasons, has a "Meep, Meep Watch" for the President. The Road Runner always seems to be one step ahead of Wile E. Coyote, just like Obama is with the Republican Acme Deficit Reduction. It's going to blow up in their faces. Just watch.

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