Robert Kuttner

Avoiding a Bad Budget Deal

President Obama has backed himself into a corner on the budget negotiations, where he's allowed deficit hawks from both parties to define "progress" as a ten-year deal to cut the projected deficit by a huge amount. In fact, his own Bowles-Simpson Commission led the way. Obama has also lost the framing battle over whether it's acceptable to hold an increase in the debt ceiling hostage in order to achieve a deal as Republican congressional leaders have done. This is now taken for granted. Both assumptions make for bad policy, and they're bad politics for Democrats. The result is that Republicans can dig in their heels and make radically far-right demands, which include refusing to raise taxes and insisting on devastating program cuts. Of course, we've seen this movie before: Obama breaks the logjam by making most of the concessions. At his press conference today, Obama made the cases for increased taxes on the wealthy, but he was mostly conciliatory -- too conciliatory. He casually...

Introducing ... Another Blog

Gentle Readers, Like others of my generation who grew up with print, I resisted the blogging habit for a while, but I find it addictive. I have long been a columnist, as well as a writer of longer articles and books, but having tried my hand at blogging for better than a year, I'm hooked. Just like columns, only more immediate, and with links. These posts, on a variety of economic and political topics and the occasional whimsy, will appear as the spirit moves me, but generally several times weekly. Your comments are most welcome. -- Bob Kuttner