On Monday, the White House outlined yet another plan. This plan was even more extensive than the president’s so-called “Americans Jobs Plan.” Legislation for that plan has yet to be forthcoming. But I doubt legislation for Obama’s grand Deficit Reduction Plan will be coming soon either. Considering the provisions in the plan it is very unlikely it could even pass the Democratic controlled Senate let alone the GOP dominated House.
The president’s Deficit Reduction Plan hinges on four key pillars. 1) The Deficit Reduction Committee in Congress finding at least 1.2 trillion in savings by Thanksgiving (along with finding savings for the president’s $447 billion jobs plan), 2) a whopping $1.5 trillion tax increase on the wealthy (which contrary to what the president says only generates this much revenue if those who make 200K and 250K are included), 3) a smoke and mirrors budgetary gimmick of saying winding down the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will save the country $1 trillion. Finally, 4) $300 billion cut from Medicare in waste and fraud. Social Security or cutting government spending apparently is off the table in this plan (unless Congress forces it).
This plan has no chance of passing. The president knows this. Just like he knew his jobs plan would not pass intact through Congress. Whether the payroll tax cuts in the president’s jobs plan even get through Congress remains to be seen. This was yet again another attempt by Obama to endear himself to his political base and draw a contrast with the GOP and their “nieve” insistence on smaller government and “no new taxes.” But it gets better. The president promised in no uncertain terms (just like the Bush tax rate) that he would veto any plan that did not meet his liking.
To say on policy substance this plan is a disappointment is an understatement. Do the math in your head and you find Congress is responsible for finding amost half the savings in the president’s plan (and does not have his blessing to touch entitlements). Another $1 trillion is based on future outlays the White House and OMB up until now did not even consider future outlays. Finally, the true deficit reduction comes in a meager cut to Medicare over 10 years and a massive $1.5 trillion tax hike. This is not a plan, this is a liberal’s wet dream.
It is no wonder than the left has eaten up this plan. David Corn writing for Mother Jones applauded the president for his stance. So did Rolling Stone Magazine. Jonathon Chait in New York Magazine was at least honest when he titled his piece, “Obama is not trying to make a deal anymore, he is trying to win.” Steve Kornacki, writing for Salon echoed as much in his piece “Obama settles on reelection strategy. Gee I wonder what that strategy is?
But greater electoral concerns remain for the president. Even if he excites his base and makes Congressional Republicans look bad he is still in the WH when November 2012 rolls around. Voters are unlikely to keep the same guy in office who has presided over 32 months of 8%+ employment. Also, considering the results of NY-9 and NV-2, it is unlikely voters are going to knock the Republicans out of control of the US House. So the president’s basic electoral problems remain, even with his base happy. And than concerns about the president being a drag on down-ballot Democrats in tough reelections must be considered.
This plan fails on policy and on assuring the president’s election. Hell, it has failed its main goal. This plan never was about policy. It was a purely partisan move. And it shows.