Are they socialists or merely liberals?
I've been eagerly awaiting the editorials concerning President Barack Obama's budget plan. I figured it would be good for a few laughs. They delivered before the first paragraph ran into its first period.
President Obama's first budget proposal steers the nation in a new direction and aggressively pursues a fairer tax system, health care reform and an assault on global warming. It also offers some hard truths. The federal deficit is going to grow to uncomfortable levels until the economy recovers, and fundamental change is not free.
(The St. Petersburg Times)
That paragraph helps show that the editors behind the piece are of a mind with Obama when he makes statements to the effect that taxation should be about fairness. That is,the type of fairness that redistributes wealth instead of the kind that results in a strong economy. Leaving aside the fact that taxing one person at a 15 percent rate while you tax another person at a 38 percent rate is patently unfair. Try that with a sales tax sometime.
The president's 10-year budget is a welcome departure from the Republican economic policies embodied by the Reagan era. It reaffirms government's role in public life,Reaffirms it? It grows the role of the federal government in the United States to unprecedented levels and gives the tab to our descendants. There aren't enough rich to pay for this budget even if we draw the line at $75k, according to the Wall Street Journal. And that's by taking every dime they earn.
and it starts peeling away tax breaks for the rich and for special interests.It replaces tax breaks for some special interest groups with tax breaks (handouts, actually) for other special interest groups. The stimulus plan signed into law by Obama unreforms the welfare system by giving "tax credits" to people who pay no federal income tax. Didn't pay income taxes? Doesn't matter. You may receive a refund check from the government anyway.
The whole "special interests" thing is a sham. Everybody is part of some sort of interest group. Some are better organized than others, but any time the government spends money it is going where some special interest group wants it to go. The Times editors are apparently happy to perpetuate the lie. And guess what? When you spend the kind of money Obama wants the government to spend, you can please a whole lot of special interest groups.
It also is more transparent about the costs of war and the tough economic choices ahead than the budget documents produced in recent years by the Bush administration.Good point in the former half, even if it isn't exactly stand-up-and-cheer material. The latter point is stupid. In what possible way can or should a budget have anything to say about "tough economic choices" other than implicitly via its own priorities?
The annual deficit, fueled in part by President Bush's policies and the recession, would be the largest in relative terms since World War II. But Obama forecasts it would be cut by more than half in four years as the war costs drop, tax revenue from the wealthy and industry rise, and the economy recovers."(L)argest in relative terms" is the nice way to put it, of course. The new budget dwarfs all others in terms of dollars spent via direct comparison. The deficit from this budget is so large that cutting it in half still leaves it larger than Bush's biggest deficit. See the graph below, based on numbers from the Congressional Budget Office.
The president makes a persuasive argument that large deficits now are the necessary price for preventing economic collapse and focusing on long-term goals.Persuasive if you're a brain-dead moron, anyway. The TARP program(s) are probably needed to prevent economic collapse and keep the availability of credit. Obama's persuasive speech went well beyond that to make the case for the extremely questionable need to put the government in the driver's seat for huge portions of the economy--including health care. It doesn't add up, and if the Times editors can't see it then they need to sack their bean-counters and hire some new ones.
Obama walks a political tightrope as he tackles the economic inequality that has expanded in recent years and embraces more progressive tax policy.Correction: Obama is forcing the United States to walk an economic tightrope by enacting policies likely to chase capital out of our economy ostensibly for the purpose of stimulating the economy. That worries Obama fan David Brooks of the New York Times. The editors at the St. Petersburg Times, if they have any doubts about our economic savior, will not express them. Now that Bush is out of office it's time to put on the hopeful face with respect to the economy.
To his credit, Obama also is pursuing key campaign promises even in the face of the deep recession. His budget sets aside $634 billion — half from the taxes on the wealthy and half from health care savings, including eliminating the Medicare Advantage subsidies — as a down payment on health care reform. He sticks to concepts such as making health care available and affordable and leaves the details to Congress for now. That's a smart move, given the way the complicated Clinton health care initiative imploded in the early 1990s.Right. Smart move. After all, look at the great job Congress did when Obama handed off the short-term economic stimulus package to Pelosi and Reid. The Obama administration said there was no pork in the bill. PolitiFact says the administration is peddling a falsehood. I wonder if the editors of the Times ever read PolitiFact? Maybe they just hope that their readers choose either editorials or PolitiFact but not both.
Minus tort reform, probably the only way the government will control medical costs will be through rationing of services. And some will call that fair.
This is a budget plan that sets ambitious goals and offers reasonable clarity about the costs. There are legitimate concerns about the size of the deficits, the optimism in the estimated timing and strength of the economic recovery and a number of other details. But Obama's first budget is consistent with his campaign themes, and it is a bold blueprint for a brighter future.Check out that middle sentence! "(L)egitimate concerns about the size of the deficits." Questioning the level of optimism displayed by the administration, along with "other details." Those are big details--but if the goal is a more socialist America, apparently the editors of the Times are down with it.
Prediction: Despite a silver tongue in the league of Bill Clinton's, watch the popularity of this president erode, leading to increasing resistance to his radical policy direction. The budget is in line with his campaign themes as interpreted by those with a pronounced leftward tilt. His early policy moves place him to the left of the American mainstream, even if the new president remains to the right of certain newspaper editors. People do not trust the government with the type of power included in the Obama vision, and the results of Congress' effort to keep children safe from lead is just one example of the ham-handed federal style that legislates without foreseeing the consequences.