The Agenda

Keith Hennessey on the Difference Between $2.9 Trillion and $4 Trillion

Keith Hennessey explains why President Obama’s claims regarding his plan for deficit reduction merit closer scrutiny.

First, the Obama White House is using a 12-year timeframe rather than the standard 10-year timeframe for achieving $4 trillion in deficit reduction. Hennessey cites a passage from Bob Woodward explaining that Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council and a veteran of the Clinton White House, made the case that the public wouldn’t pay close attention to the use of a 12-year timeframe rather than a 10-year timeframe, and so the president could make his $4 trillion deficit reduction proposal sound comparable to proposals that achieve the same amount of deficit reduction over a decade, despite the fact that his proposal anticipates achieving $2.9 trillion over that period of time.   

Second, Hennessey explains that the president is including deficit reduction measures that have already been approved in his $4 trillion total.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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