A few deficit plan thoughts

In no particular order…

It could have been much worse. That it isn’t is a good thing.

Obama is going after Republicans around taxes for the rich. It’s a political issue, though, and it’s not clear that the policy outcome behind it will ever stack up to the rhetoric used to advocate it.

The idea that liberals are celebrating that a Democratic President didn’t choose to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security shows just how far away the Obama administration has been from what many liberals hoped he would be.

The President said this morning that his plan will consist of 2:1 spending cuts to revenue increases. This is the same level of austerity that the British government deployed, to horrible effects. The likelihood is that since this is merely the starting offer from the President, the final result will be worse. Add in that, per Obama, there has already been $1 trillion in spending cuts, we’re really at around 3:1.

I like that the President is fighting Republicans. But that’s just part of the equation. The more important part is fighting for good policy outcomes and putting political pressure on conservatives who oppose them. Jonathan Cohn thinks the cost reductions in Medicare don’t amount to actual benefit cuts and from what I can see, he’s mostly right.

The plan includes a provision which would allow creditors to make collection calls to debtors on their cell phones. This has the remarkable synergy of bailing out both banks and telecoms at the same time, who will surely collect hundreds of dollars per debtor in new mobile phone billing.

More details will come out, so I may have more reactions later.

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