Obama's chance to get back in the game
The president has an opportunity to take a liberal stance on reducing the deficit. Will he take it?
If the President really is to rebut House Republican budget chairman Paul Ryan’s plan, he’s going to have to say something completely new in today’s speech. He’s going to have to say that reducing the deficit is as important as creating jobs, but that there’s not necessarily a tradeoff. And he’ll have to reassure his liberal base (what’s left of it?) that the way you avoid that tradeoff is to take the polar opposite strategy of Ryan–which is not to not reduce the deficit (which, I’m sorry, “fearmonger” that I am, really will ultimately hurt all of us, rich or poor), but to reduce the deficit through better tax policy. (Example: a Brookings paper I wrote on just such an approach over four years ago which reads amazingly like it was written yesterday.) The President can’t go on merely empathizing with his liberal base by complaining about the heartless, clueless Republican approach to deficit reduction, which is to drastically slash government spending programs in favor of tax cuts all the time for any reason, while at the same time basically embracing the bulk of the Republicans’ tax-cutting approach. (The extension of the Bush/Obama tax cuts still accounts for more than 100 percent of the cost of the President’s budget proposals.) Huh?Skip to next paragraph
'EconomistMom' (Diane Lim Rogers) is Chief Economist of the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan, non-profit organization which advocates for fiscal responsibility, and the mom of four (amazing) kids to whom she dedicates her work. She’s been blogging since Mother’s Day 2008.
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I’m no sports nut but I’ve spent enough time at kids’ soccer games to understand that it’s impossible to score if you’re playing on the wrong side of the field.
Which is why I have found the White House strategy for dealing with Republicans on the deficit so befuddling…
The fight over spending this fiscal year is a case in point. The prospect of a Republican takeover of the House was evident well before the election. The inevitable result was going to be more draconian cuts than would have been required if the spending bills were passed beforehand.
In the aftermath of the Democrats’ losses, the entire debate played out in terms they were destined to lose. If the argument is framed solely in terms of budget cuts, Republicans always win: They are willing to out-cut Democrats. That inescapable tilt was exacerbated by the virtual absence of a White House message about the impact of a shutdown or the cuts themselves…