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One Way Obama Can Win

Last night, Congress endorsed the Obama agenda. Passing a budget outline that closely mirrors the one the president submitted to it, the majority is now poised to fill in the details, ushering in a new era of federal interventionism.

Or is it? Sure, the budget plans passed both chambers of Congress comfortably – 233 to 196 in the House and 55 to 43 in the Senate. In the Senate, the real battleground, fence-sitting moderate Democrats such as Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas even voted for it. But Indiana’s Evan Bayh and Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, other members of a group of centrists who wield tremendous power in the Senate, both opposed the plans, not to mention the moderate Republicans who ultimately proved critical to the passage of Obama’s stimulus bill.

As Congress hammers out the details, either the president will have to get the rest of the centrists on board, or he will have to use reconciliation, a maneuver that removes the threat of filibuster, so that he can pass major legislation without them. Doing the latter would arguably poison the atmosphere in the Senate, harming the president’s chances of accord in the future. So how does he sway the centrists in the Senate -- not to mention the folks like me who squirm at the White House’s depressing budget projections?

Among other things, he should quickly follow through on one of the commitments he made at the Group of 20 conference that just concluded in London. An underappreciated passage of the final communiqué the world leaders released reads, “We are resolved to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability and price stability and will put in place credible exit strategies from the measures that need to be taken now…”

In his prime-time press conference last week, Obama all but admitted that he hadn’t released a complete exit strategy for the era of massive deficits America is entering. His policy would need further “adjustments,” he said, in order to take care of budget-busting entitlement spending and other looming fiscal disasters. And that presupposes the assumptions underlying the president’s revenue projections are right. If, say, the Congressional Budget Office’s more pessimistic figures prove more prescient, even Peter Orszag, the president’s budget chief, admits that budget deficits resulting from Obama's plan would be unsustainable.

So, Mr. President, what’s the exit strategy? Give the center something believable. What sorts of “adjustments” will you seek? Map a more explicit and realistic path back to fiscal sustainability, and the center will have an easier time supporting you. Of course, it might be that Obama has already touched too many third rails in this town, that even talking with great detail about painful entitlement reforms, for example, is too politically costly. But using the reconciliation bomb isn’t a great option, either.

By Stephen Stromberg  | April 3, 2009; 8:38 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

Obama has proven capable of saying whatever will get him what he wants regardless of his actions. Exit strategy? He may agree in a speech, but he doesn't have one and doesn't want one. He is quite happy to take over vast swaths of the private economy and will tell his kool-ade drinkers he's so sorry, but those industries really needed his help. He sounds like Chavez. Obama is using the economic crisis as cover for making an abrupt left turn in government policy. Even his stimulus package is designed to vastly expand government spending, not create private enterprise jobs. He, like many libs, sees economic activity as a zero sum game, i.e., if one person gains, another has to lose. hat justifies "redistribution". The reality is, the economy expands to encompass all economic activity, and wealth can constantly be created (except by the government) Higher tax rates on the wealth creators? less economic activity, lower tax revenue on higher tax rates> Reagan lowered tax rates, and rapidly raised tax revenues through additional economic activity. Higher unemployment payments? A disincentive to return to work. Higher welfare payments? same thing. Make government health care available to more families without income limits? More families DROP private insurance for their kids (which they can afford), and let the government (other taxpayers) pick up the tab. Obama's ideas have been tried in most European countries and are now being abandoned, because the policies are miserable failures. Obama's so arrogant he thinks his experiments, with out money, will somehow turn out differently. Impeach the unqualified fool before he destroys the private economy that made ALL of us affluent. Even the poor in this country have air conditioning, color TVs, cell phones, cars, and health care.

Posted by: hdc77494 | April 4, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

...I do not have the answer to this Countries ills,nor do I claim.At this present and dire time ANY/ALL solutions must be taken into consideration. First thing it is not beneficial to attack the poor and down trodden,in fact it is counter productive to our main goal as a Nation.
"Even the poor in this country have air conditioning, color TVs, cell phones, cars, and health care",This statement amplifies the separation felt in this Country.
If health care to me was made more affordable or accessible to all citizens then maybe people would take advantage of the services and in turn prevent further illnesses from occurring.
I do not think government should take over private owned entities,unless these institutions if not "bailed-out" can and will harm American's...THEN YES COME IN AND SAVE IT FOR THE GREATER GOOD.
"KOOL-DRINKERS" LIKE AND EVEN PURCHASE TV'S,AIR CONDITIONERS ETC. BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A PLACE WHERE A LITTLE HARD WORK CAN GO FAR DISTANCE AND IF THAT AMERICA DOES NOT APPEAL TO YOU....MOVE,FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF US ALL!!!

Posted by: rainbo6colurz | April 4, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if my logic is wrong but I currently pay about $1000 per month for health insurance for my family. Now if we had national health care, I doubt that my taxes would increase $1,000 per month, do you?

I think some businesses would be happy too.


Posted by: JRM2 | April 5, 2009 2:30 AM | Report abuse

BTW Stromberg, this story of explaining reconciliation as a tactic has been floating around for over two weeks now, did you JUST find out what it is NOW?

Posted by: JRM2 | April 5, 2009 2:32 AM | Report abuse

One Way Obama Can Win


One way that President Obama can win is that his agenda be put to work along with the efforts executed by the entire American public and the many othersincorporated within doing what’s expected of them. Then will we have a win/win outcome for not only President Obama but for all that participates. We must be mindful that politics can filter a complexity of fixations that can deter the reality of what is expected. Therefore, I conclude that in doing the right thing to accommodate that which is needed, we should adhere to what’s in the best interest to help our country, economy and the restoration of it as a whole.

Posted by: Nisey01 | April 5, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse


One Way Obama Can Win


One way that President Obama can win is that his agenda be put to work along with the efforts executed by the entire American public and the many others incorporated within doing what’s expected of them. Then will we have a win/win outcome for not only President Obama but for all that participates. We must be mindful that politics can filter a complexity of fixations that can deter the reality of what is expected. Therefore, I conclude that in doing the right thing to accommodate that which is needed, we should adhere to what’s in the best interest to help our country, economy and the restoration of it as a whole.

Posted by: Nisey01 | April 5, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm, there are some nutty comments here.

Personally, I think Obama is doing a pretty good job. I think he should go ahead and use reconciliation to pass his budget/health-care/cap-and-trade. The idea that reconciliation will poison the environment in the Senate is a silly notion. For the most part, Senators vote their best interests(ie the interests of their State) on each individual issue. Past history doesn't matter. If they tell their voters in the next election "Well I thought the Bill was a good idea but I voted against it and all other Obama Bills because he used a tactic that I didn't like." Then that Senator will look petty and childish and probably lose their next election.

In other words, Senators still need to support smart/popular legislation, no matter how pissed they are at its creator. Bush knew this and he managed to get minority Democratic support for a number of bills after he used Reconciliation to pass his tax cuts.

Posted by: zosima | April 6, 2009 3:27 AM | Report abuse

One almost has to suspend reality to engage some of the people who blog on this forum. I hear bleating nonsense about socialism, redistribution of wealth, free markets and so on.

Look. There is no such thing as a "free" market. Every time a pure lazzez faire market capitalism has been tried it has failed. Th excesses of the Gilded Age cause a New Porgressive Era and Teddy Roosevelt's impetus to bust up the trusts. I am quite certain that the same sort of mentality behind the charges of socialism and communism today were raised back then when the first child labor laws were introduced.

Similarly, after the Great Depression, FDR was accused of all manner of evil, including that he was a traitor to his class. Use your head folks. These people wheeze about "redistribution" of wealth as though our market based economy has done a real bangup job of redistributing wealth on a fair and equitable basis. Anyone who can add up their paychecks and compare it to what their bosses are taking home knows that the market system has failed us in the equitable distribution of wealth created in our society.

Look. If we had taken the people who mumble this nonsense seriously, this country would never have gotten off the ground. Ben Franklin would have had to shut daown the Postal System because he would not have been able to secure funding to buid roads between post offices.

I guess most conservatives believe roads, highways, bridges, sewer sutems, dams and waterways come about through magic.

Posted by: jaxas | April 6, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

One Way Obama Can Win

Ooops, I forgot to mention that reconcilation would be a severe plus in orchestrating the health agendas because at present it is at a standstill and I don't think that those in opposition can see the forest for the trees. An expected demeanor from those in opposition, but for the future of their next generation they will need to wake up, grasp reality and smell the fresh brewed coffee. preferably they will conclude, "I love when a plan comes together", because it will.

Posted by: Nisey01 | April 7, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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