Saturday, June 25, 2011

Standing Strong, Maybe

At his press availability (transcript here) on June 24, Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney explained his boss' approach to the deficit reduction talks as

we are confident that we can continue to seek common ground and that we will achieve a balanced approach to deficit reduction -- if we continue to seek common ground, rather. And we remain confident that we can get that done....

But we believe that we can move forward as long as no one in the talks takes a “my way or the highway” approach.

The previous day, House Speaker John Boehner had said "tax increases are off the table," including, apparently, elimination of tax loopholes for the oil industry and others whose profits have soared while the economy remains in the tank. And Eric Cantor and Jon Kyl quit the deficit reduction talks led by the Vice-President, withthe House Majority Leader whining "the Democrats insist that any deal must include tax increases."

Yes, whining. When federal tax revenues as a percentage of gross domestic product (graph, below, from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis via Krugman) are at their lowest level in over half a century, it is whining. When Republicans are demanding approximately $4 trillion in spending cuts over ten years, it's whining. And when the top Republican in talks takes a hike (for whatever reason), it's whining.

The President's spokesman advocates "a balanced approach." He decries "a 'my way or the highway approach.'"

But over two months ago Barack Obama showed his hand when he called for a twelve-year cut of $4 trillion in the deficit. Republican administrations come, blow up the deficit, Republican administrations go- then deficits must be slashed in Democratic administrations, even when spending cuts will endanger an economy struggling to recover.

So which President will it be? The one who stands strong against 'my way or the highway'? Or the one who brags about spending cuts he achieves and proposes new ones?

Next: The answer, as if you don't already know it.

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