Friday, February 18, 2011

Right Thing – Eventually

No need to do a careful analysis of the budget President Obama dropped on the desks of the Congress last week – a few broad brushstrokes paint the picture. Debt triples from 2008 levels by 2021; debt as a percent of GDP goes from 41 percent to 77 percent. Not a word about how to reform Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements that the country can no longer afford. Not a word endorsing the specific recommendations of his own deficit-reduction commission, which called for a $4 trillion deficit cut over ten years, quadruple that contained in the president’s budget. A few inconsequential slices in one small part of the budget, a call for “investment” in green energy projects – never mind that several of the firms receiving subsidies have gone broke – and in high-speed rail – never mind that the governors of the states slated to receive the funds are turning them down lest their taxpayers get stuck with huge cost overruns.

In the end, the president delivered more spending, more taxes, and deficits as far ahead as the eye can see. But the financial and currency markets were unperturbed. For several good reasons.


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