President Barack Obama wants to slash the ballooning deficit in half by 2013, U.S. officials said on Saturday, after massively increasing public spending to stem the worst economic crisis in decades.But ... but ... but ... won't that crash our economy, whose only health and vigor comes from government spending? "Spending cut," indeed -- sounds like rank heresy to me! And, let's see, tax increases on wealthier Americans: wealthier than whom, or what? Yes, well, never mind that ... we should just assume that they're talking about someone else -- you know, the ones who don't pay their fair share.
Obama will outline his ambitious goal when he hosts a summit at the White House on Monday on fiscal responsibility and later in the week when his administration presents a summary of its first budget, for the 2010 fiscal year.
With tens of thousands of Americans losing their jobs in the midst of a global economic meltdown, Obama has said fixing the U.S. economy is his top priority. He has acknowledged that his success or failure in that will define his presidency.
"We can't generate sustained growth without getting our deficits under control," Obama said in his weekly radio address in which he also announced immediate implementation of tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans as part of the effort to stimulate the economy.
An administration official said Obama was proposing to cut the deficit, which private economists project will rise to $1.5 trillion this year, through a mixture of tax increases on wealthier Americans and spending cuts.
Not to worry, though; this is coming from the same Magic Man who was going to get us out of Iraq in 16 months. How's that working out so far, Barack? You've been in office now for more than one-sixteenth of that time. Well ...
President Barack Obama faces split opinions within the military on whether to make the speedy withdrawal from Iraq he championed as a candidate.I pointed out in this space, over six months ago, that Obama's 16-month plan for getting out of Iraq smelled like overripe fish out in the July noontime sun, even if implemented as described; the numbers don't work, and by a factor of two. And so far, it isn't being implemented at all. As Rainbow Brite contemplates whether to even pretend to get out of Iraq as he promised to do, and gets ready to fully and robustly and seriously implement the Bush Doctrine in Afghanistan and Pakistan and East Armpittistan, we see many of the lefties who railed against Bush's wars falling strangely silent. As the story quoted above notes:
Obama's top generals in Baghdad are pressing for an elongated timetable. Some influential senior advisers inside the Pentagon are more amenable to a quicker pullout.
Obama has yet to decide the matter. But his recent announcement that he is sending thousands more combat troops to Afghanistan implies a drawdown of at least two brigades from Iraq by summer.
That does not answer the question whether Obama will stick to his stated goal of a 16-month pullout or opt for a slower, less risky approach.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the top American commander in Baghdad, favors a longer timetable for leaving Iraq. He sees 2009 as a pivotal year, with parliamentary elections set to be held in December; he doesn't want to lose more than two of the 14 combat brigades that are now in Iraq before the end of the year. And he believes the U.S. military will need to remain engaged in Iraq, to some degree, for years to come.
Odierno's boss at U.S. Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, leans toward Odierno's view.
The president has an additional factor to weigh: the political cost of backing off the 16-month pullout timetable that was a prominent feature of his campaign. Although he has said he thinks 16 months is a reasonable timetable, he also has assured military leaders that he will consider their advice.Ha! "Obama's party," meaning Reid, Pelosi & Co, will be satisfied as long as the corporate welfare keeps flowing and the Israelis are happy. No, I think the legions will remain on station until the economic collapse becomes a little more general. As for "our" faithless and feckless prexy, his notions of what the budget will look like four years from now are also apt to prove entirely irrelevant.
Notably absent, at least so far, is even a whiff of public pressure from fellow Democrats to stick to a 16-month timeline. That suggests Obama's party might be satisfied so long as he makes early and clear steps in the direction of ending U.S. combat involvement in Iraq, even if on a somewhat longer timeline.