Monday, April 19, 2010

Reduction Is Theme Of President’s Next Act

From the New York Times:

As President Obama approaches the end of his administration’s opening chapter, his advisers have begun a backstage debate over Chapter 2, which will be fundamentally different in tone, aspiration and political complexity.

For his first 15 months, Mr. Obama has pounded away at four domestic initiatives. All four — economic stimulus, health care, Wall Street regulations and energy policy — reflected priorities of important Democratic constituencies. The next phase, which Mr. Obama set in motion by appointing a bipartisan panel on reducing the nation’s debt, will not.

Instead of extending government benefits (through federal stimulus aid and health insurance coverage), Chapter 2 will revolve around budget austerity.

Instead of shifting patterns of energy consumption, it will aim to reduce consumption across the economy.

Instead of confronting the unpopular denizens of Wall Street, it will challenge average Americans to accept reduced services or increased taxes — or, probably, both.

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