The Washington Post headline reads: “Obama’s new debt-reduction plan to draw contrasts with Republican vision.” That’s one way of putting it:
President Obama on Monday will unveil a plan to tame the nation’s rocketing federal debt that will draw a sharp contrast with the Republican vision and amount more to an opening play in the fall’s debate over the economy than another attempt at finding common ground with the opposing party.
The president will propose $1.5 trillion in new taxes as part of a plan to find at least $3 trillion in budget savings over a decade, according to a person familiar with the matter. Combined with his call earlier this month for $450 billion in new stimulus, the proposal represents a more populist approach to confronting the nation’s economic travails than the compromises he advocated this summer.
Obama will propose new taxes on the wealthy and a special new tax for millionaires, according to White House officials. But he won’t call for any changes in Social Security, officials say, and may seek less-aggressive changes to Medicare and Medicaid than previously considered. In particular, people familiar with the matter say he is unlikely to call for an increase in the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.
In other words, Obama’s “new” “plan” to reduce the deficit will be about as serious as the budget proposal he unveiled in February. But as he assured us in his recent address to Congress: “This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare.” Right. On the plus side, American voters are beginning to get a pretty clear sense as to the policies that await them should Obama be elected to a second term in 2012.