From SOTU to the budget
Reading the morning papers makes it pretty clear that while many folks thought President Obama delivered a fine speech, they were more than a little put out that he didn't get into specifics about how he would reduce the nation's monstrous deficit. Ross Douthat of the New York Times spreads that disappointment to Rep. Paul Ryan's response, arguing that the two men were engaged in the politics of evasion.
But what specific decisions are they evading? Today's Washington Post editorial lays it out in one stark paragraph:
The reality, as Mr. Obama understands, is that the country is headed for fiscal catastrophe unless it does some politically unpopular things: unwind the Bush tax cuts, including for the middle class; reduce projected Social Security benefits for future retirees, exempting the poor and disabled; rein in the cost of health care; limit popular income tax deductions.
No matter where you are on the economic ladder, one of those choices is bound to make you shiver. In fact, we should all be shivering because I don't see how the United States can close its $14 trillion debt without doing all of the aforementioned things in some form. So, get ready, folks. The sacrifice will be shared and the pain will be spread. Since he declined to do so last night, perhaps Obama will use the budget to outline just how much pain and how much sacrifice will be demanded of us. That's a big "perhaps," I know.
[Update, 1 p.m.: An acerbic yet eagle-eyed reader spotted an error in the original post. The national debt not the deficit is $14 trillion. This is now reflected in the text.]
| January 26, 2011; 10:59 AM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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