The Corner

The Obama Budget Strategy

My new Bloomberg View column:

The political bet seems clear enough: Voters may want the budget balanced, but they aren’t going to tolerate the steps needed to get there, and so Obama can win the debate by attacking the Republicans’ proposals and not offering real ones of his own. (It’s the same strategy Republicans have used against Obama’s health-care plan.)

The more interesting question is what Obama’s economic bet is. Could he be counting on having the flexibility to balance the budget in his second term in ways he cannot openly discuss now?

One possibility I didn’t discuss for reasons of space: Obama may believe that the threat of automatic, across-the-board tax increases will force Republicans to make a “grand bargain” on his terms.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Film & TV

A Sad Finale

Spoilers Ahead. Look, I share David’s love of Game of Thrones. But I thought the finale was largely a bust, for failings David mostly acknowledges in passing (but does not allow to dampen his ardor). The problems with the finale were largely the problems of this entire season. Characters that had been ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More