The Joker Is In DC
After talking about the increase in GDP he went into comedian mode, talking about how cutting the deficit was as important as growth in our recovery. He's correct, but what's funny is he's no proposing anything that will do it.
His first proposal, offered up right before the State of the Union address is a "discretionary spending" freeze that only affects about 1/2 of discretionary spending, and only adds up to about 1% of his projected budget deficit.
His second statement is that the 1990's "Pay-Go" program has to be brought back. Funny, Mr. President, but your party promised us that 3 years ago when they were sworn in as the leaders in Congress. It supposedly happened, too, except that it's got so many holes in it Swiss Cheese is jealous. Now evidently they really mean they are going to raise taxes cut some spending to pay for every new program. Starting in 2011, probably, with the programs passed in 2010.
Finally, the toothless "Presidential Commission" on spending cuts, that would come up with ways to trim the deficit and present them to Congress; where by law, they can have no force, and be ignored.
As Charlie Sykes often says, when you are a politician, and want to look like you are doing something about a problem, you appoint commission.
The original idea was a bipartisan Congressional group, that would have presented the cuts and taxes increases as an up or down vote bill to both chambers, with no changes. Like the base closing commissions of the 1990's. The problem was Democrats didn't want to go on record acknowledging that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable, and the GOP didn't want to give bipartisan cover to huge tax increases. So that idea died in the Senate.
The truth is that if the deficit is to be reduced even to George W. Bush levels social programs are going to have to be part of the equation, they are the majority of the budget at this point. There will also have to some targeted tax increases, also. Who knows, maybe the 40% of filers who pay a negative income tax (they get more back than they pay) will have to see their