The De-Reaganization of America

Paul Krugman is almost giddy about the Obama Administration’s first budget. Money for healthcare reform! Money for climate change! Woo-HOO!

And these new priorities are laid out in a document whose clarity and plausibility seem almost incredible to those of us who grew accustomed to reading Bush-era budgets, which insulted our intelligence on every page. This is budgeting we can believe in.

For a review of some of the atrocities of Bush Administration budgeting, see “Bust This Budget,” February 2008.

And get this:

Many will ask whether Mr. Obama can actually pull off the deficit reduction he promises. Can he actually reduce the red ink from $1.75 trillion this year to less than a third as much in 2013? Yes, he can.

A New York Times headline, “A Bold Plan Sweeps Away Reagan Ideas.” David Leonhardt writes,

The budget that President Obama proposed on Thursday is nothing less than an attempt to end a three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters.

The Obama budget — a bold, even radical departure from recent history, wrapped in bureaucratic formality and statistical tables — would sharply raise taxes on the rich, beyond where Bill Clinton had raised them. It would reduce taxes for everyone else, to a lower point than they were under either Mr. Clinton or George W. Bush. And it would lay the groundwork for sweeping changes in health care and education, among other areas.

More than anything else, the proposals seek to reverse the rapid increase in economic inequality over the last 30 years. They do so first by rewriting the tax code and, over the longer term, by trying to solve some big causes of the middle-class income slowdown, like high medical costs and slowing educational gains.

Headline in the Los Angeles Times: “Obama’s budget is the end of an era.”

Reporting from Washington — Not since Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt has a president moved to expand the role of government so much on so many fronts — and with such a demanding sense of urgency. …

… Even more stark than the breadth and scale of Obama’s proposals was his determination to break with the conservative principles that have dominated national politics and policymaking since Ronald Reagan’s election as president in 1980.

Mike Madden writes in Salon,

The 142-page proposal laid out a sweeping, ambitious agenda for the future: Obama would raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for healthcare for the uninsured; cap pollution emissions; put billions more dollars into infrastructure and new technology, building on the money in the massive economic stimulus program Obama already pushed through Congress; invest in new education programs; and roll back the U.S. troop presence in Iraq and, more slowly, Afghanistan. There were proposals to save money by modernizing the healthcare system, only paying for treatments that are proven to work, and by eliminating federal farm subsidies to the biggest and wealthiest recipients, mostly agribusiness interests. This is not, in other words, George W. Bush’s budget.

Congress — pass it, and let’s get on with healing our country.

18 thoughts on “The De-Reaganization of America

  1. Ah, after almost 30 years, the end of an error.

    I love the smell of liberalism in the morning. It smells… like victory!

  2. Paraphrased from Harper’s mag. The Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion and a ‘bright fiscal future,’ so bright that the CBO projected a cumulative budget surplus of about $5.6 trillion between 2002 and 2011 if the country stayed on track – which of course it did not. (Makes one weak in the knees that today Republicans are arguing for a budget Republican-style yet again.)

    What does this mean? During the 8 years that Bush etal were amassing what appears to be at $12 trillion dollar debt, corporate profits increased by 68 percent. Is there a free-market economist that can explain what, to me, is incomprehensible?

  3. Yeah, it’s going to be real interesting how this survives Congress. But yeah, the dose of reality, like Obama’s speech the other night is so sweet and refreshing. I am so looking forward to the rebuttals to the usual conservative cliches.

  4. Headline in the Los Angeles Times: “Obama’s budget is the end of an era.”


    It’s been a long, long 28 years.

  5. To answer my own question. The Republican drum beat has been that if the rich get richer and/or corporations are not taxed so they can realize more profit – all of which has been realized under eight years of Republicanism – the overall economy will be healthy, and the rest of us will reap the benefits. Prove it.

  6. I have always cringed when I have heard Ronald Reagan refered to as some kind of leadership diety in America. I had nothing but hard economic times when he was in office, and my area of the country went totally ignored when he was in office. Unemoyment was never higher! To know that an overall end to his type of government is in the works brings nothing but joy to my heart.

  7. Pluky – I fail The West Wing 101. (But I do know that if the president were to suffer a sudden attack of “stealth multiple sclerosis” on the eve of the SOTU, he’s allowed to give the address on the next night, by which time he will have miraculously recovered.)

    Now that you mention it, “No Filibusterin” sign would explain all the Republicans sniping from the trees right now.

  8. trying to solve some big causes of the middle-class income slowdown

    Hell, yeah.
    It’s time for policies that help people grounded in the reality of their lives, not retard plumbers who want low taxes on millionaires for when they “get rich” or “win the lottery”.

  9. This is not “expanding the role of government”. This is redirecting the benefits from the few to the many. Redirecting public investment that pays off for the many and just just fior a few. I thought it was funny the other day when the press secretary was asked oh so seriously about the poor rich people who could now only write off 28 % to charity and he replied that was the limit under Reagan. The questions are: Wouldn’t business be hurt by a lack of investment if the uber rich had to pay more in taxes? Isn’t the problem right now that people with money to invest are looking for a good place to invest ? Companies can only look at themselves and ask why they are such a bad investment and what can they do right in the future? We are at a point where entrenched ways of conducting business need to be let go of. Products that are made in good ways for good purposes not just crap to sell sell sell. Management has made bad decisions for 30 years and it is catching up to us all at once.

  10. Ironic that Ron Reagan Jr. yesterday was commenting on the GOP with respect to his father. He said he was amazed that they are rallying behind someone from 30 years ago.

  11. “Wouldn’t business be hurt by a lack of investment if the uber rich had to pay more in taxes?”

    This question still echos in my mind, telling me that I have had too too many Repug people in my life.

    This was the question posed to me countless times when I let a “liberal” comment slip out. Who asked this inane question? In my world, mostly restaurant owners who were charging (more than 10 years ago) $8-12 for a normal cocktail, $30 for a pathetic shrimp cocktail, “cooked” tabs, etc., absolutely fleecing their customers. Apparently once you have absconded with other people’s money, you “deserve” to keep it.

    None of these people ever had Intention One to invest in anything remotely job-creating or philanthropic – unless they saw themselves as such an investment.

Comments are closed.