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Posted at 7:50 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Liberal groups start attacks on expected deficit-reduction focus in State of Union (West Wing Breifing)

By Perry Bacon Jr.

Call it the pre-prebuttal.

Anticipating a heavy focus on reducing the deficit in President Obama's State of the Union address next week, liberal groups are already attacking the idea, arguing that deficit reduction should not come before further stimulus to help the economy.

An activist group called the Campaign for America's Future and the liberal polling firm Democracy Corps released a survey Tuesday that they say illustrates that American voters care more about job creation than deficit reduction.

Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO coalition of major labor unions, will give a speech Wednesday in Washington criticizing what he calls a "misguided and shortsighted" focus on the deficit, according to aides who have released some of his prepared remarks."

The White House prematurely turned to deficit reduction," said Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future. "Voters are clear, they care about the deficit, but their first priority is jobs and the economy.

"Obama and the White House have not yet detailed what plans they will announce in Tuesday's speech, but the administration has already taken steps, such as freezing federal workers' pay, to reduce the growing budget deficit. The speech will likely contain other deficit-reduction proposals, as well as plans to spur job growth.

The liberal groups are not attacking Obama by name, but they acknowledged privately that their moves are intended to push the White House away from focusing on the deficit in the speech. Criticizing the State of the Union before the address is given is not unusual. The tactic is called a preemptive rebuttal, or prebuttal, usually delivered in a speech by a member of the opposing party.

But liberals are wary of a White House they view as taking a number of steps to appease conservatives, starting with the tax cut deal in December and then a series of appointments and moves over the last month. So far, the administration has largely ignored these criticisms, appointing Bruce Reed, a well-known moderate among Democrats, as Vice President Biden's chief of staff on Friday.

Obama Wednesday

The president will hold a series of meetings, concluding with a state dinner, with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The two leaders will also hold a joint press conference and meet with business leaders of both countries.

On health care, a muted tone

The Obama administration is strongly defending the health-care law that House Republicans are voting to repeal on Wednesday. But reflecting the White House's attempt at bipartisanship since the election, its tone has been notably absent of attacks against the GOP. Asked Tuesday about the repeal effort, press secretary Robert Gibbs did not use the word "Republican." In a statement later in the day, President Obama did invoke the opposing party, but only to say, "I'm willing and eager to work with both Democrats and Republicans to improve the Affordable Care Act."baconp@washpost.com

By Perry Bacon Jr.  | January 19, 2011; 7:50 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Perhaps the most important point for supporters of Social Security to get across in the upcoming discussions about the funding and spending of our federal government is that there are two distinct federal revenue streams and spending streams.
One is the payroll tax revenue stream that provides all the funding for Social Security and most of it for Medicare. This income stream is NOT to be used for other purposes (as it has been in the past); this income stream is solid and reliable; it has NOTHING to do with the annual federal deficit or the accumulated federal debt. NOTHING.
The other revenue stream is the combination of individual income taxes, corporation income taxes and other federal taxes. This stream is to pay for everything other than Social Security and Medicare; although, a relatively small portion is currently used to fund Medicare.

But the annual deficit is very, very real. This latter federal income stream is either inadequate to pay our nation's bills, or the federal budget of about $3.8 trillion is too large for what we can "afford." This is a separate discussion, but an important one.
The point to be made here is that the payroll tax revenue stream and its payouts are a separate issue from discussions about the annual deficit and the accumulated federal debt.

Posted by: crossingsg | January 21, 2011 2:00 AM | Report abuse

President Obama: I hope you or someone who works closely with you is reading this.

I worked so very hard for your election in 2008. I made phone calls. I knocked on doors. I gave money. I blogged. I wrote letters to the editor. I talked you up to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. And I was overjoyed beyond words when you won! I felt like I had won too.

You've done some things I've strongly disagreed with since your election. But none of them have been absolutely unforgivable. None of them have been reprehensible. None of them have been horrific.

But Social Security is where I draw the line. If you advocate, even in a subtle way, that you are "open" to a decrease in benefits, or a raising of the retirement age, I will have to turn my back on you and actively work for a primary challenger.

It would break my heart if you did this. And it would be extremely difficult to walk away from you, but you'd give me no choice.

This is where you HAVE to show that you are really a Democrat and a protector of the average working people who elected you. Don't betray us, Mr. President. Please. I implore you. Stand strong and don't give one inch in the protection of this fine program, Social Security!

Posted by: snesich | January 20, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

So the libs want more stimulus-what else is new? Do they think China is eager to lend us more money for this folly?

Americans spoke loud, clear and simply enough this past November that even the dimmest lib should be able to understand: stop spending money we don't have.

Posted by: snowy2 | January 19, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Nov. 2, 2010.

Nov. 6, 2012.

Posted by: drowningpuppies | January 19, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

.

Hey Democrats,

.13 cents on a dollar in Chicago:

Chicago residents could end up paying $9 billion in private meter parking fees. Former Mayor Daley leased his city's parking meters to a group owned by Morgan Stanley in return for a $1.2 billion up-front payment. The parking meters now require a half-pound stack of 40 quarters to park.

BYE BYE

DEMOCRATS

.

Posted by: kstobbe1 | January 19, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The People understand that Obama wants to make America into a Marxist/Socialist Society. The People REJECTED OBAMA and HIS POLICY.
Obama the Lawless One, or what ever else you want to call this Demonic Figure. His words describe him, He is a False Hope, If you listen to him you will love him. He carries a Bow without an Arrow. He will conquer all through his speech, his false hoods will capture all who sit and listen to him. Obama and his Demonic Administration seek the Destruction of America. Obama is the Anti-Chirst. Deny him and you will Destroy him. See
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
11And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Posted by: makom | January 19, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Deficit reduction is the smartest way to get jobs started, though. By increasing the value of your money, it means that you need less to live, which means that people will be able to take jobs at lower salaries, which will give more people more money to spend which will, inturn, create more jobs.

Posted by: DmetriKepi | January 19, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: fishellb
As to further stimulus - yeah, it would be nice, but there's no way we're going to get it with a Republican House.


Are you out of your mind?
First of all; the very first stimulus was initiated by Bush and used as an excuse by President Potato Head for the fiscal problems he inherited. Remember!
Now as to your another stimulus would be nice..... The last stimulus benefited the banks, who are still sitting on the billions of free money (these were 0% loans). It benefited the public sector for one year and now we have the public sectors screaming they are broke again. It stimulated GMC and now we have a company making an electric POS that no one will buy; except the US Government. The last stimulus was supposed to create millions of jobs..... still waiting on that one. And lastly, that stimulus managed to run up two consecutive budget deficits of over 1,3 trillion dollars each year. The US Government owes 2.5 trillion dollars that has taken from Social Security. The US debt is now over 14 trillion dollars and our dollar is worth about 20% less on the world markets then it was in 2007. Oil is approaching 100 dollars a barrel due in fact that the dollar isn't worth what it was. If we do not take care of the US debt, this country is going to default and only Bill Gates is going to be able to afford a loaf of bread. And you want to see another 600-800 billion dollar stimulus?

Posted by: nosuchluck | January 19, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

What?

The liberals are for a higher deficit?

It seems like the "Campaign for America's Future" would be wanting to lower the deficit to ensure continued future prosperity.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 19, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: fishellb
As to further stimulus - yeah, it would be nice, but there's no way we're going to get it with a Republican House.


Are you out of your mind?
First of all; the very first stimulus was initiated by Bush and used as an excuse by President Potato Head for the fiscal problems he inherited. Remember!
Now as to your another stimulus would be nice..... The last stimulus benefited the banks, who are still sitting on the billions of free money (these were 0% loans). It benefited the public sector for one year and now we have the public sectors screaming they are broke again. It stimulated GMC and now we have a company making an electric POS that no one will buy; except the US Government. The last stimulus was supposed to create millions of jobs..... still waiting on that one. And lastly, that stimulus managed to run up two consecutive budget deficits of over 1,3 trillion dollars each year. The US Government owes 2.5 trillion dollars that has taken from Social Security. The US debt is now over 14 trillion dollars and our dollar is worth about 20% less on the world markets then it was in 2007. Oil is approaching 100 dollars a barrel due in fact that the dollar isn't worth what it was. If we do not take care of the US debt, this country is going to default and only Bill Gates is going to be able to afford a loaf of bread. And you want to see another 600-800 billion dollar stimulus?

Posted by: nosuchluck | January 19, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

These ignorant liberals think Governments create jobs. Yes, the typical parasitic government jobs that create red tape and regulations. Private enterprise jobs are created in part, by a minimum of government interference, lower taxes, lower government interference in our daily lives. While you liberals view government interference as a good thing, conservatives view government as a necessary evil, the smaller the better. Have you leftists ever taken a private sector economics course or just Keynesian and Marxist bilge? And you phony's think you are educated.

Posted by: nomobarry | January 19, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Talk about a non issue. Since when is the State of the Union address held accountable for the issues mentioned? It's all a bunch of chest-beating, self congratulatory fluff. To wit, watch or listen to the address given after the economic collapse in 2008 wherein we were told "the state of the union is strong." This just after almost everyone lost a third of their wealth in the Wall Street debacle. The whole affair is just more inconsequential political rhetoric.

Posted by: DrFish | January 19, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The ultimate "NIMBY" is spending cuts, as we are seeing more and more lately. You have to know, if the Army was still buying cavalry sabers, some Congressman would swear it is critical to national security.

Strategically, the President needs the public to acknowledge this before we can get any sort of approval for further stimulus.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | January 19, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

As Obama has stated, he is operating in the world as he has found it! And as historian John Hope Franklin stated, "the past is always with us"! It's just unfortunate that the our actual problem is structural, not just some specific policy driven by the egocentricity of one ideology vs another. Obama is operating on a Chinese "go board", while we are still fighting the war of attrition of chess. He keeps telling us to focus on the "north star"-the long game. But we continue to argue with every stop sign along the journey. Yes, some of it is political. But isn't this the game, and no game, of politics?

Posted by: D-0f-G | January 19, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

He needs to talk deficit reduction. People want to hear about it. You can reduce deficits by creating revenues; it doesn't have to be cut cut cut, unless you're a Republican. He needs to sell the public on the idea he'll do a reasonable amount of budget cutting in order to show them what the Republicans are demanding is NOT reasonable.

As to further stimulus - yeah, it would be nice, but there's no way we're going to get it with a Republican House.

Posted by: fishellb | January 19, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Eventually the left will have to admit what the grown ups already know. All Obozo speechs are celebrations of Obozo. What's good for America and Americans is, at best secondary.

Posted by: carlbatey | January 19, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I guess the economy must have been stimulated and the jobs must have been created.

So now deficit must be reduced.

And the re-election is approaching!

You got to do what you have to do to get re-elected.

Posted by: kishorgala | January 19, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

When is the left going to stop relying on fixed polls everyone knows the numbers they cite are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Posted by: DCalle10411111 | January 19, 2011 8:48 AM
=========================================
When the right stops relying on fixed polls everyone knows the numbers they cite are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Posted by: kishorgala | January 19, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

What are the politicians doing about job creation? Really creating jobs for the folks who do not have them?
The poll simply said what most of us know. Americans need jobs. We want government policies that will put people back to work.

Posted by: lizrosej | January 19, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Liberals:

"More cow bell!!!"

Posted by: drjcarlucci | January 19, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"The trade deficit unveils that Americans like imports."

Not necessarily!
If imports are the only choice, which they are, that's what they buy.

I bought a "Japanese" car because it is 70% Made in the USA; 99% of the "American" cars are 100% built in Mexico or elsewhere.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | January 19, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

By enacting more republican policies Obama thinks he can get enough republicans to vote for him in 2012 that he won't need democrats anymore.

Posted by: SanchosR | January 19, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

It seems that the liberal group never spoke to an economist or haven´t that we live in a global market.

If the economy shall grow then the low interest rates of the FED are the most important thing.

Banks borrow money very cheap and provide relatively cheap loans to companies. These companies then only need relatively low ROI´s and so will realize investments to make profit.

Then lets face the tax discussion. Low taxes are only good within a national market. But we have a globalized market.

If taxes are low then private households, companies and investors have more money to spend, but they won´t spend it automatically in the US.

Because interest rates are low, people usually do not to save their money on a bank account in the US, and even if companies benefit from low interest rates, people will tend to save or invest their money in markets where they can receive the highest ROI´s. So the money flows out of the US and does not stay in the US, therefore low taxes not automatically help the US economy.

Indeed hot money increased to $10 trillion in emerging markets compared to only $ 9 trillion before the finance crisis.

Just think, if you would receive for instance only 5% ROI in the US, but 15-20% in a foreign market where would you invest?

But indeed if people pay low taxes, they will not invest all their extra money, but spend some money.

Well it is a free market and a global market. So for many daily goods people will tend to buy the cheapest products, which unfortunately come from foreign markets.

But even with view to luxury goods like cars and electronics, people tend to buy what has the best quality and the best quality price ratio. So Japanese TV´s and Cars, German cars etc.

The trade deficit unveils that Americans like imports.

Then also look at the national market. The US government provides a lot of jobs and in addition is the biggest customer for several industries.

Another stimulus just would provide to some industries money that already spend the money in the past and just have huge debts. Wouldn´t help to grow the economy, but would shrink the ability of the US government to purchase goods and services.

And even if large companies without huge debts would receive money, they would because of economic principles invest where the highest ROI´s are expected, so in foreign markets.

In the same context also face the huge budget deficit. The US has $ 14 trillion debts, many cities are alreay unable to pay bills.

If the government doesn´t start to cut spendings then the ability of future goverments will be reduced and would harm the entire economy, because the government provides many jobs and is a large purchaser on the US market.

Not to oversee that a weak Dollar, will lead to higher costs for resource imports and so the households would spend more for gas and so at the end have fewer money to spend for the local economy.

And because of the giant deficit the US it at high risk of superinflation.

Posted by: VinzenzLeutloff | January 19, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

When is the left going to stop relying on fixed polls everyone knows the numbers they cite are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Posted by: DCalle10411111 | January 19, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

When is the left going to stop relying on fixed polls everyone knows the numbers they cite are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Posted by: DCalle10411111 | January 19, 2011 8:48 AM | Report abuse

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