Monday, February 01, 2010

The Deficit

Just a quick (if belated) note on Obama and the State of the Union address. I thought he handled the deficit and accusations of big spending just right. He acknowledged the severity of the deficit and the seriousness of the problem, but also pointed out that (1) a great deal of the deficit was the inevitable result of such a severe recession, and (2) his spending was necessary to keep things from getting even worse. I tried to think up how to fit in a 5-minute lesson in Keynsian economics, but it probably isn't possible. He also acknowledged the need to address the deficit, but also the need to postpone action until the economy is stronger. Perfect balance.

Republican response was completely predictable: (1) Denounce the huge deficits, (2) call for a tax cut, (3) make only the most minimal suggestions for cuts in spending. This will undoubtedly be their program if they retake Congress in 2010.

If they retake Congress and the White House in 2012, their program will change to (1) cut taxes, (2) make minimal spending cuts, (3) ignore the deficit altogether until next time a Democrat wins the election.


Apparently I was unduly cynical. At least some Republicans have decided to bite the bullet and call for future reductions in Social Security. We'll see how that plays out.