The Post followed quickly with this sharp analysis of Obama’s plan to use an executive order to create a bipartisan fiscal commission, after the Senate’s failure to create a congressionally mandated panel that would have been assured a vote on its proposals:
A commission created by executive order has huge credibility problems, even among Democrats who support the idea. To date, Obama and House leaders have been unable to assure deficit hawks that the recommendations of a presidentially-appointed committee would be given an up-or-down vote in Congress.
A larger problem is the threat by key Republicans to boycott the panel. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), an ardent advocate of a fiscal commission, has derided a presidentially-appointed panel as little more than an effort to give Democrats political cover on the deficit in the runup to this fall’s elections. No matter the form of the commission, it would not make its recommendations until after the elections, and lawmakers would not have to take a position on potentially painful tax hikes and spending cuts in popular social programs until the end of this year.
Capital Gains and Games, an insidery-but-understandable group blog that boasts some of Washington’s best budget brains, provides a handy rundown of the president’s “market-moving statements.” This bit about the much-hyped spending freeze is especially intriguing:
Discretionary spending freeze to save $250 b. over the next 10 years. That’s just over 4% of the underlying $6 tr. baseline. There are plenty of exceptions, defense, homeland security, veterans benefits, education, and probably some more we haven’t seen yet.
Reuters smartly seizes on a particularly bold bit of presidential goal-setting that caught our attention: to “double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America.”
How does that work?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has locked horns with Obama on healthcare and a number of other issues during his first year in office, has been urging him for months to set a national goal to double exports.
To accomplish that goal, Obama announced a “national export initiative” to help farmers and small businesses sell more of their goods overseas, and also promised to reform export controls that high-tech manufacturers say are out of date.
A recent study for the National Association of Manufacturers estimated modernizing the controls could boost U.S. exports by $56 billion annually within the next 10 years without jeopardizing national security.
That’s a start. The piece goes onto talk about possible trade deals, but still: Could someone please explain exactly how we’re going to get there?