Name Those CutsI heard Nancy Pelosi talk the other day about the need for an economic stimulus and for fiscal restraint. I laughed. That, and Obama's comment here, mean neither he nor Pelosi are serious about the issue.
"To make the investments we need," President-elect Barack Obama said Monday, "we'll have to scour our federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices, as well, something I'll be discussing further tomorrow." When yesterday arrived, however, Mr. Obama wasn't much more specific. On one level, that's understandable; it will be difficult enough for the new administration to come up with a detailed budget by the time that is due in February. Yet Mr. Obama is talking about adding hundreds of billions of dollars in federal debt. That is reasonable under the dire economic circumstances, but it is scarcely adequate to couple that with platitudes about eliminating wasteful spending. As Mr. Obama well knows, and as his first-rate new budget director, Peter R. Orszag, understands as keenly as anyone, it will take far more than that to get the nation's fiscal house in order.
Mr. Obama spoke of meaningful cuts, but the example he cited yesterday -- crop subsidy overpayments to millionaire farmers not entitled to receive them -- was especially galling. The supposed amount involved -- $49 million over four years -- is puny in the context of a $3 trillion annual budget. [link]
I'm surprised that the Post got sucked into that campaign fluff and bluster.
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* By the way, the deficit next year, by some estimates, may hit $1,000,000,000,000. That's one trillion dollars more going out than is coming in. Fiscal restraint ...