Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Obama's SOTU Bargain: Cut Government to Do More With Government"

David Corn (Politics Daily):
There's that old line about details and the devil. And the White House is now racing to complete the budget for the coming year, which will be released next month. Obama's grand bargain -- freezing government spending so the government can spend more in priority areas -- cannot be judged until it is known what will be squeezed from Peter to invest in Paul.

Ultimately, this speech, not full of punch, was the set-up for the political battle that will rage from now until Election Day 2012. Obama wants to use government to revive the U.S. economy. But he has calculated that he can only do so if Americans believe he is simultaneously tightening the belt of the bloated beast in Washington. The Republicans, meanwhile, will continue to reiterate their mantra: the only thing we have to fear is government spending and debt. A fundamental and ideological disagreement is at hand: government is evil, government can help. Obama is conceding part of the argument (yes, we must do something about spending) to win the argument (we must engage in communal action to survive and succeed in the global economy). To win the future -- and the next election -- the president has to hope that he has figured out the right cost/benefit ratio. MORE...

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