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Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program.

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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 03/23/2011

Morning Bits

He’s got nerve, no doubt about it. Back in January 2010, President Obama asked: “And so the question is: At what point can we have a serious conversation about Medicare and its long-term liability, or a serious conversation about Social Security, or a serious conversation about budget and debt in which we’re not simply trying to position ourselves politically. That’s what I’m committed to doing.”

He’s got the right idea, but fellow Democrats have listened to William Galston’s advice before: “No budget analyst who has mastered fourth-grade arithmetic believes that we can regain control of our fiscal future solely through reductions in discretionary spending. The Pew survey makes it clear (if further evidence were needed) that public concern about the problem far outruns public understanding of its sources and scope. As I have argued, the only way to change these public attitudes is to level with the people about our fiscal situation and educate them about the true choices we face. This task is essential and long overdue. But if former professor Obama isn’t willing to take the lead, it’s hard to see how an informed public discussion can ever begin.”

He’s got the question but no answer yet. Josh Rogin writes: “Following two days of intensive discussions in Brussels, NATO has agreed to support — but not command — operations in Libya. Meanwhile, France has proposed a high-level international ‘political steering committee’ to actually run the war. But does the Obama administration support that idea?” War by committee. Just brilliant.

He’s got it nailed, but why didn't he figure this out before he supported ObamaCare? Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: “There’s no plan that would be a perfect plan, but the intent of the bill and the heartfelt commitment to insure the uninsured is the right approach. I think as the bill is currently written and if it was going to land in 2014 under the current guidelines, the pressure on small businesses, because of the mandate, is too great.”

He has got no “J-Dar.” Jewish leaders complain publicly about Obama’s tone deafness on Israel. Forget J-Dar, what ally does he treat in these terms? “[H]e told [Jewish leaders] that previous administrations’ policy of not being public about policy disputes with Israel was unproductive.” Russia gets treated better than that. The kicker: “White House officials . . . chafe at the notion, raised by a number of Israeli and pro-Israeli officials, that there is no immediate ‘hotline’ official in the White House — someone like Elliott Abrams, the Bush administration’s top Middle East staffer, who could be reached at a moment’s notice.”

He’s got a book deal, but no campaign yet. “‘There’s nothing I can say except ‘not so,’ [Indiana Gov. Mitch] Daniels told The Associated Press on Monday. ‘The idea of writing a book came together well before anybody suggested to me that I was a candidate for anything. I can’t keep people from leaping to that conclusion, but they’d be wrong.’ Daniels, often mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for 2012, has signed with Sentinel, a conservative imprint of Penguin Group (USA). His greatest concern having long been fiscal policy, the book, by intention, is no more glamorous than its tentative title: ‘Keeping the Republic: Limited Government, Unlimited Citizens.’”

He’s got some explaining to do. “What’s $2.3 trillion among friends? That’s the canyon between the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of a $9.5 trillion federal budget deficit over the next decade under White House proposals, and the White House’s own estimate of $7.2 trillion. . . . CBO says the entitlement’s [ObamaCare's] health insurance subsidies will cost $1.13 trillion between 2012 and 2021, not $1.04 trillion, the prior estimate. This 8.6% jump is the result of revised assumptions, the so-called technical factors in CBO’s budget model. The bill’s total cost now stands at $1.445 trillion, according to another recent CBO estimate.” The problem with worshiping at the altar of CBO math is that CBO math is often plain wrong.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 03/23/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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