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Going Through The Motions?

- April 13, 2011

Today The President Feigns Interest In Fiscal Leadership, But Will His Plan Be More Recycled Tax Hikes Than Bold New Reforms?

OBAMA IS MAKING A PLAY FOR THE SPOTLIGHT

BUT HIS “PLAN” IS LIKELY TO BE SHORT ON DETAILS

“When It Comes To Deficit Reduction And Entitlement Reform, President Barack Obama Has Been A Master Of Mixed Signals.” (Carol Budoff Brown, Glenn Thrush and David Nather, “Showtime For President Ambivalent About Deficit,” Politico, 4/12/11)

Fearing A Backlash From The Left, Obama’s Speech Isn’t Likely To Include Bold Ideas For Reforming Entitlements. “It's looking less likely that President Barack Obama's speech Wednesday will embrace a lot of specific ideas on how to cut Medicare and Medicaid — which would get him in trouble with Democrats and progressive groups anyway.” (David Nather, “Insiders: Obama Will Keep It General,” Politico, 4/12/11)

“[T]he Expectations Aren’t High For A Highly-Specific Proposal, Likely To Be More A White Paper Than A Spreadsheet.” (Carol Budoff Brown, Glenn Thrush and David Nather, “Showtime For President Ambivalent About Deficit,” Politico, 4/12/11)

Bob Bixby, Executive Director Of The Concord Coalition, “I Don’t Expect Anything With A Whole Lot Of Detail.” “Bob Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition and a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s debt reduction task force, said, ‘I don’t expect anything with a whole lot of detail,’ calling the Wednesday speech, ‘another step in the dance…. an attempt by the president to get out in front of the debate because the only marker down there is Ryan,’ Bixby said.” (Carol Budoff Brown, Glenn Thrush and David Nather, “Showtime For President Ambivalent About Deficit,” Politico, 4/12/11)

BOLD GOP FISCAL PROPOSALS HAVE FORCED OBAMA TO STEP OFF HIS PERMANENT CAMPAIGN AND AT LEAST FEIGN INTEREST

“Until Now, Mr. Obama Has Been Largely Absent From The Raging Debate Over The Long-Term Deficit.” (Carol E. Lee And Damian Paletta, “Obama Puts Taxes On The Table,” The Wall Street Journal4/11/11)

Even Though He Promised To Tackle The Deficit, Obama Has “More Mundane Political Imperatives, Like Positioning Himself For His 2012 Re-Election Campaign.” “As a candidate, Obama promised to deal with the exploding deficit – so committed to tackling the underlying issue of entitlement reform that he told the Washington Post he’d make the ‘hard decisions… under my watch’ shortly before his inauguration almost 27 months ago. But as president, such high-minded goals have run headlong into a tanking economy and more mundane political imperatives, like positioning himself for his 2012 re-election campaign.” (Carol Budoff Brown, Glenn Thrush and David Nather, “Showtime For President Ambivalent About Deficit,” Politico, 4/12/11)

  • But “That’s All Changed” Now That Republicans Are Leading On The Issue Of Controlling Our Debt and Deficits. “That’s all changed. Last week’s release of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial plan to privatize Medicare and a looming vote to raise the debt limit has forced the White House to unveil its own plan in a speech planned for George Washington University Wednesday afternoon.” (Carol Budoff Brown, Glenn Thrush and David Nather, “Showtime For President Ambivalent About Deficit,” Politico, 4/12/11)

Obama “Now Is Forced To Talk About” Cutting The Deficit Because “Republicans Are Driving The Debate.” “DAVID GREGORY: “What about conservatives, Chuck? You heard Chairman Ryan say, look, we came out pretty well on this. What is true is that Republicans are driving the debate. Cutting spending…  Cutting the deficit is what the President now is forced to talk about.” … CHUCK TODD: “[A]nd I thought today, I thought it was interesting and telling and, in essence, a give to the Republicans when David Plouffe said we're all committed to reducing the deficit, we're all committed to reducing the debt…It tells you where they think Independent voters are.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 4/11/11)

“The Republican — And, Yes, The Tea Party — Agenda Is Not Only Ascendant, It’s Driving The Debate Over Reshaping Government At Every Level.” (Jim VandeHei & Mike Allen, “The GOP's Winning Streak,” Politico, 4/11/11)

  • “[E]ven Democrats recognize Republicans have the offensive on the spending issue — that they own it in a way Obama simply can’t.” A top Democratic official, insisting on anonymity in order to be candid, said: “The fundamental problem of the whole process is Democrats have zero ability to describe what our view of government really is. So basically all we do is defend the status quo against attacks from the right-wing fringe of the GOP.” (Jim VandeHei & Mike Allen, “The GOP's Winning Streak,” Politico, 4/11/11)

BUT WEDNESDAY’S SPEECH WILL JUST BE MORE STALE RHETORIC

WRAPPED IN A RECYCLED PITCH FOR HIGHER TAXES

“Tax elements of Obama's broad deficit-reduction plan, to be laid out in a speech Wednesday, seem likely to revive his earlier proposals.” (Tom Raum, “Obama First To Put Tax Increases On Budget Table,” The Associated Press, 4/12/11)

Obama’s Proposal Will Include Calls For Higher Income And Payroll Taxes.  “President Obama will call for shrinking the nation's long-term deficits by raising taxes on wealthier Americans and requiring them to pay more into Social Security, drawing a barbed contrast with a Republican plan to save money by deeply slashing Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic spending.” (Peter Nicholas, Christi Parsons, and James Oliphant, “Obama To Draw Sharp Contrast With GOP Over Deficit,” Los Angeles Times, 4/12/11)

“Budget Experts Are Scoffing” At Obama’s Plan To Raise Taxes To Balance The Budget. “Who does Team Obama think it’s fooling? Budget experts are already scoffing at the idea that the White House can somehow deal with America’s long-term budget woes without either a) raising taxes on the middle-class or b) adopting a Paul Ryan-style restructuring of entitlements.” (James Pethokoukis, Op-Ed, “Why Obama’s Tax Pledge Is Bogus,” Reuters, 4/11/11)

The President’s FY2012 Budget Already Proposed A Series Of Tax Increases That Were Rejected By The Democrat-Controlled Congress. “President Barack Obama's budget proposal resurrects a series of tax increases on certain corporations and the wealthy that were largely ignored by Congress when Democrats controlled both chambers.” (Stephen Ohlemacher, “Obama Budget Resurrects Rejected Tax Increases,” The Associated Press, 2/14/11)

  • And Obama’s New Plan Will Go Further And “Aim Its Firepower” At Taxes. “But in addition to suggesting cuts—the current focus of debate—the White House looks set to aim its firepower on a more divisive topic: taxes.” (Carol E. Lee And Damian Paletta, “Obama Puts Taxes On The Table,” The Wall Street Journal,4/11/11)

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