Monday, February 14, 2011

Budget reaction

That the Obama administration's new budget has drawn all sorts of criticism from the political right isn't much of a surprise (although the rebuke from Andrew Sullivan does raise some eyebrows). Perhaps more instructive, however, is the assessment from sources that do not obviously lean left or right, but rather make their living offering objective analysis on matters of political science. One such organization is the Eurasia Group. Here are some highlights from a piece one of their analysts sent out today:
President Obama's Fiscal Year 2012 budget epitomizes his shift from a policymaking strategy to a public relations strategy...the budget forecasts next year's deficit to be over $1.6 trillion-nearly 11% of GDP-which makes clear that the president's spending-cut proposals do not add up to much in the near-term.
...The President sketches a medium-term deficit that looks like it declines substantially over time. Beyond a 5-year non-security discretionary spending freeze that saves $400 billion, much of this is achieved through optimistic assumptions as well as implementation of tried-and-true budget gimmicks...Market players looking for signals of political will to address long-term fiscal issues will be disappointed.
Congressional Republicans and the Bush administration set a pretty low bar on fiscal responsibility over the last decade, and yet President Obama is still managing to make them look good.

Update: Ezra Klein says the proposed budget is like the Fiscal Commission never happened. You know things are bad when Obama has lost Ezra.

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