Mr Milbank notes that Economist Jeffrey Sachs was at the announcement and concludes with this paragraph:
So, if Obama is on the right, where does that leave the left? “This proposal is in the center,” Sachs maintained. “We have the far right, we have a president that is to the right of center, and we have a broad center that is represented by this proposal.”A little later the President spoke. The President quickly made the point that the budget is the execution of the agreed strategy to achieve the nation's vision of the future.
What we’ve been debating here in Washington over the last few weeks will affect the lives of the students here and families all across America in potentially profound ways. This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page; it’s about more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of future that we want. It’s about the kind of country that we believe in. And that’s what I want to spend some time talking about today.Here is the President's big picture:
So this is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures -- spending in the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, protecting our commitment to seniors, and protecting our investments in the future.From The New York Times (Blog) we have Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman talking about Medicare reform and "death panels" (his words). The President calls for enhancing the role of the Independent Payment Advisory Board in controlling Medicare costs.
As I understand it, it would force the board to come up with ways to put Medicare on what amounts to a budget — growing no faster than GDP + 0.5 — and would force Congress to specifically overrule those proposed savings. That’s what cost-control looks like! You have people who actually know about health care and health costs setting priorities for spending, within a budget; in effect, you have an institutional setup which forces Medicare to find ways to say no.That there would be medical providers outside "the system" would be a good thing, but would "single payer" allow it? The Progressive Budget calls for "Single payer".
And when people start screaming about death panels again, remember: you can always buy whatever health care you want; the question is what taxpayers should pay for. And compare this with a voucher system, in which you have insurance company executives, rather than health-care professionals, deciding which care won’t be paid for.
All this in reaction to the US House of Representatives Budget Plan (Rep Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee).♠ Here is the US House web page with all the extra data, as the Majority sees it. Here is the Minority web page, with their own Budget Plan. And here is the President's 2012 Budget.
The aforementioned The New York Times gives us what it sees as a side-by-side comparison of the House (Ryan) Plan and the President's Plan.♥
Finally, a link to the heretofore ignored Bowles-Simpson panel, the 2010 Presidential National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.
Senator Everett Dirksen
US politician (1896 - 1969)
Regards — Cliff
♠ Here is the expanded Committee Print, with Minority views.
♥ Maybe I am growing cynical in my old age, but do you think that table came from the budget analysts at The New York Times or from some other source?