I’ve been gum flapping on the President’s new budget all day in two cities and I’m not done yet. But here are some brief thoughts, if not for your enlightenment then for your entertainment.
–From the department of “who didn’t see that coming?” here’s Rep Eric Cantor’s response: “Let’s set aside our differences and come together on things we can agree on.” In other words, let’s just cut Social Security benefits (chained CPI) since we both want to do that, and not fool around with new revenues, cuz only one of us wants that.
And there you have the risk of leading with your last offer. The White House has to have expected that and I believe them when they say no deal—it’s not a menu. But why go there?
–I think I can answer that, and offered some thoughts here. But reading Krugman’s take earlier, I found myself in rare disagreement. Paul believes the President is grasping for the approval of “imaginary grownups,” and he rhetorically asks: “who do you think could possibly be persuaded by this budget who hasn’t already been persuaded?”
Actually, I predict—and this is a testable hypothesis—that the White House actually might be successful in changing the rhetoric of some of the elites—the Serious ones, in PK’s vernacular—who make a living off of the “pox on both their houses” arguments.
From where I sit, that’s been an pretty wildly incorrect take for a while now, but I suspect some influential commentators will begin to shift their take on this in ways that the White House believes will help their politics. Whether that’s true or not, and whether it’s worth it, I don’t know. But I think that’s at least part of the play here.
–The President said something very important and very true in his budget presentation today: “…nothing shrinks deficits faster than a growing economy.” I’ll post a graph on that later, but for now, it just reminds one of how often discussions that begin with “let’s focus on the economy” immediately devolve to discussions of deficits, tax reform, and grand-freakin’-bargains. And they just don’t have nearly as much to do with each other as that horrible DC affliction–deficit attention disorder—would lead you to believe.
[BTW–weird thing: though the TSA uses the same machines in both places, in DC you don’t have to take your belt off; in NYC, you do.]