Tax Analysts Blog

Sins of Commission

Posted on Feb 1, 2010

All press reports in this morning's papers indicate the President will fall far short of his oft-stated goal of stabilizing the deficit over the long-term at 3 percent of GDP. That's a minimum standard. It is what is required to keep the deficit "sustainable"--that is, to prevent the debt from blowing up to huge multiples of GDP.

In addition to including spending cuts and new revenues that will never materialize in this Congress, the proposed budget is relying on yet-to-be-determined deficit reduction by the yet-to-be-determined members of a presidential commission.

Now that the President and his budget director Peter Orszag have abandoned the leadership of achieving minimally necessary deficit reduction I hope we never hear them again talking tough about deficit reduction. Yes, it's hard work, but that is why we call them leaders, give them big offices, and get them good seats at the Kennedy Center. They wimped out of their most basic responsibility of putting the budget on a sustainable path. They have failed to make the tough choices.

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