THIS BUDGET WILL SAVE YOU TRILLIONS! (WE JUST NEED TO UNDO SOME OF LAST YEAR'S SAVINGS TO GET IT THROUGH)BY JOSHUA GREENBLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK
Last summer, with Republicans threatening to force the U.S. to default on its debt unless spending was brought down, the two parties struck a last-minute deal to avoid catastrophe. The Budget Control Act, supported by Republicans and Democrats, and signed by Obama, cut $900 billion over a decade, and guaranteed that an additional $1.2 trillion in savings would be achieved in one of two ways. The preferable way was for a bipartisan “supercommittee” to come up with a plan to cut spending and raise revenue. The other way—designed to be so unpleasant for both sides that it would compel an agreement—was through a “sequester” that would automatically cut $500 billion from the discretionary and entitlement spending that Democrats cherish and another $500 billion from military spending, a top Republican priority (interest savings would provide the remaining $200 billion).
THAT OTHER OBAMABY DAVID BROOKSNEW YORK TIMESPresident Obama is an intelligent, judicious man who can see all sides of an issue. But every once in a while he tries to get politically cute. ... I have my own problems with Ryan’s plan, which Obama identified. But Ryan has at least taken a big step toward an eventual fiscal solution. ... [G]immicky speeches obscure the president’s best character and make it seem as if he doesn’t understand the scope of the calamity looming in front of us. Obama shouldn’t be sniping at Ryan. He should be topping him with something bigger and better.
NOT ENOUGH INFLATIONBY PAUL KRUGMANNEW YORK TIMESTrue, Mr. Bernanke likes to insist that he and his colleagues aren’t affected by politics. But that claim is hard to square with the Fed’s actions, or rather lack of action. As many observers have noted, the Fed’s own forecasts indicate that while things have been looking up a bit lately, it still expects low inflation and high unemployment for years to come. ... So what’s going on? I think that Fed officials, whether they admit it to themselves or not, are feeling intimidated — and that American workers are paying the price for their timidity.HANDICAPPING ROMNEY'S POTENTIAL RUNNING MATESBY EUGENE ROBINSONWASHINGTON POSTPlaying second fiddle to Mitt Romney won’t be easy, but somebody has to be his running mate. ... Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: The choice who offers the biggest potential reward — for the biggest risk. ... New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: But Jersey-style bombast wouldn’t necessarily play well in many parts of the country — the places where people are, you know, polite — and Christie has a tendency to get carried away. ... Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan: A safer choice, yet one that would restrict Romney’s freedom to maneuver during the campaign. ... Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty: Safe, safe, safe, safe. ... South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley: Given her talent for controversy, I’m begging on behalf of columnists everywhere, Mr. Romney. Please. Make our day.OBAMA'S SIGNAL TO IRANBY DAVID IGNATIUSWASHINGTON POSTAs Iran’s leadership debates its negotiating stance, the squeeze of Western sanctions is becoming tighter. Nat Kern, the editor of Foreign Reports, a leading oil newsletter, forecasts that Iran will lose about a third of its oil exports by mid-summer. It may get even worse for Iran after July 1 if China and the European Union follow through on recent warnings that they might stop insuring tankers carrying Iranian crude. U.S. officials believe that if Iran refuses to negotiate, it will be easier to tighten sanctions even more.OBAMA VS. SCOTUSBY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERWASHINGTON POSTThe president’s preemptive attack on the court was in direct reaction to Obamacare’s three days of oral argument. ... Democrats suddenly realized there actually is a serious constitutional argument to be made against Obamacare — and they are losing it. ... Having lost the argument, what to do? Bully. ... Democrats are reeling. Obama was so taken aback, he hasn’t even drawn up contingency plans should his cherished reform be struck down. Liberals still cannot grasp what’s happened — the mild revival of constitutionalism in a country they’ve grown so used to ordering about regardless. DAMAGE CONTROL FOR THE BUDGET ACTBY JIM DYER AND SCOTT LILLY WASHINGTON POSTIn nine months, a law on the books, the Budget Control Act of 2011, will wreak havoc not only on the operations of federal government, but our entire economy, if lawmakers do not agree on an alternative approach to cutting the budget. Unfortunately, no one in Washington seems to be particularly concerned. ... It is doubtful that either political party would be willing to simply suspend sequestration and tell world credit markets that we will begin to address our deficit problems when we find it more politically convenient. Thoughtful people in both parties have an obligation to get to work now to avert a crisis that could be of far greater proportions than are generally appreciated.OH, FOR SOME KENNEDYESQUE GRACEBY PEGGY NOONAN WALL STREET JOURNALThese are things we know after President Obama's speech Tuesday: The coming election fully occupies his mind. It is his subject matter now, and will be that of his administration. ... The strategy will be heavy and ceaseless bombardment. ... The speech announced his campaign's central theme: The Republican Party is a radical and reactionary force arrayed in defense of one group, the rich and satisfied, while the president and his party struggle to protect the yearning middle class and preserve the American future. This will be his campaign.