Pretty good column in the post by Robert Samuelson. Samuelson, who is right of center, lays out the problems our system is having resolving anything of substance on the budget. He puts out some interestring statistics that will likely have him accused by the left of slanting right, but in fact the stats are right. I think he misses some of the rational argument made by the left, converting an argument that calls for fairness in taxation levels to one that calls for confiscation of upper income wealth. But he is close enough to the argument to make some sense. He indicts the President for a lack of leadership on budgetary matters, as well as all Republicans save Paul Ryan. (He should have included Tom Coburn on the Republican side, for he has shown twice the political courage of Paul Ryan.)
The trouble is that, while the economics of giveaway policies have changed, the politics haven’t. Liberals still want more spending, conservatives more tax cuts. (Although the tax burden has stayed steady, various “cuts” have offset projected increases and shifted the burden.) With a few exceptions, Democrats and Republicans haven’t embraced detailed takeaway policies to reconcile Americans’ appetite for government benefits with their distaste for taxes. President Obama has provided no leadership. Aside from Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, few Republicans have.
In broad brush strokes he is right, and the obstinancy and ridiculous positions taken by the party extremes have contributed to the gridlock that faces the country. Many believe that we will muddle through, because we always have. Samuelson is not so sure about that. Neither am I.