Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Balancing Obama Budget: Tip-A-Canoe Thoughts

Every man paddles his own canoe.

Frederic Marrymat (1792-1848), early pioneer of sea stories

February 14, 2012 - Jerry Brown, current and past governor of California, a state with a budget deficit of over $20 billion, once wrote:

“Politics is like paddling a canoe. You paddle a little on the left, and you paddle a little on the right, and you try to stay in the middle.”

In my canoe, each morning I do my paddling by reading the lead editorial in the New York Times , then reading the lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal, and balancing the two without tipping over the canoe, although sometimes I find myself righting it.

New York Time’s Lead

Today of President Obama’s $3.3 trillion budget, the Time’s lead editorial “ A Responsible Budget” leads off:

President Obama’s 2013 budget was greeted with Republican catcalls that this is a simply a campaign document, but budgets are supposed to explain priorities. This one offers a clear and welcome contrast to the slashing austerity - and protect the wealthy priorities –favored by Republican leaders and the party’s presidential candidates.

Wall Street Journal’s Lead

Its lead paragraph in “The Amazing Obama Budget “reads:

Federal budgets are by definition political documents, but even by that standard yesterday’s White House proposal for the fiscal year 2013 2013 is a brilliant piece of misdirection. With the abracadabra of a tax increase on the wealthy and defense cuts that will never materialize, the White House asserts in President Obama’s second term, revenues will soar, outlays will fall, and $1.43 trillion deficits will be cut in halflike the lady in the box on the stage.

NYT and WSJ Conclusions

The NYT concludes of the budget,

As it is, the budget will go nowhere, largely because of the Republican refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy and to spend money on vital programs. Senate Democrats, who don’t want to make political choices, share the blame. They have already said they do not intend to pass the president’s or their own budget.

The WSJ retorts:

His plan would raise tax rates across the board on anyone or any business owner making over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. These are the 3% of taxpayers that Mr. Obama says aren’t paying their fair share though that 3% pays more in income tax than the other 97%.

Where does this leave us? Up a creek without a paddle.

NYT says the Obama budget is “responsible.” WSJ says it is “misdirection.” Either way,defense,healthcare,”wealthy” take hits.

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