2/11/2013

Some notes on Obama's State of the Union Address

More "investments" (read "spending") and no concern about the deficit (except as an excuse to raise taxes).  The call for more government spending will be based on Keynesianism claims that it will stimulate the economy.  Taxes are being pushed out of "fairness."
The president is expected to revive his calls Tuesday for government "investments" in infrastructure and education -- meaning spending. He'll focus on economic growth, while acknowledging the need to close the deficit through a combination of budget cuts and tax increases.  
"The core emphasis that he has always placed in these big speeches remains the same, and it will remain the same -- the need to make the economy work for the middle class," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.  
He declined to get into specifics, but said the speech will focus on "proposals that are necessary to help the middle class grow and to help the economy grow."  
Carney pointedly countered House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who a day earlier dismissed the idea that Washington has a spending problem.  
"Of course the president believes that we have a spending problem," Carney said. Still, he said "we need more investments that help the key industries of the 21st Century ... take root here." . . .
From the Washington Post:
When President Obama delivers his State of the Union addressTuesday evening, here’s one thing you won’t hear: an ambitious new plan to rein in the national debt. 
In recent weeks, the White House has pressed the message that, if policymakers can agree on a strategy for replacing across-the-board spending cuts set to hit next month, Obama will pretty much have achieved what he has called “our ultimate goal” of halting the rapid rise in government borrowing. 
“Over the last few years, Democrats and Republicans have come together and cut our deficit [over the next decade] by more than $2.5 trillion through a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans,” Obama said during his weekend radio address. “That’s more than halfway towards the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists and elected officials from both parties say we need to stabilize our debt.” . . . 
Meanwhile some "conservatives" such as William Kristol are fighting against the sequester, which seems the only way to cut government spending right now.
Sequester is only one step down a stairway at the bottom of which the stones will break beneath our feet. But it’s an important step. It’s too important a step for the Republican party to be complicit in. Its likely negative consequences are far more important than any possible benefit that could come from a small and probably temporary cut in domestic discretionary spending, or from the satisfaction of highlighting the hypocrisy of Barack Obama and the irresponsibility of Harry Reid. Barack Obama and Harry Reid may be willing to sacrifice the national interest for petty and temporary political victories. Republicans shouldn’t be willing to do so. A great political party, on matters of great moment, puts national defense, and the national interest, first. 

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