Is Obama too 'weak' to tackle the deficit?

The president's budget has drawn ire from the left and the right. Should he be doing more to rein in the national debt?

Obama's budget is meant to cut $1.1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade, two-thirds of it from spending and the rest from tax increases.
(Image credit: Getty)

Even with spending cuts to many government programs, President Obama's latest budget foresees a $1.65 trillion deficit this year. That's 11 percent of the nation's $14 trillion economy — the biggest proportion since World War II. Economists warn that we're in a "danger zone" where the ballooning national debt could drive up interest rates and wreck the already flimsy economy. Obama's budget calls for reducing the deficit's share of the economy gradually over several years. Why isn't he doing more?

Obama clearly is not up to the task: Judging by this budget plan, Obama is "too weak, too cautious, too beholden to politics over policy to lead," says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. He "proposes nothing" to reduce future entitlements and defense spending, which are the causes of this "crisis" and huge liabilities for future generations. If you're under 30 and believed in Obama, "know this: He just screwed you over."

"Obama to the next generation: Screw you, suckers"

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The president is making a risky political bet: Obama is betting "voters really don't care much about deficits," says James Pethokoukis at Reuters. Otherwise, he would have charted "a bold path on debt reduction," instead of trimming here and there, all while adding $8 trillion to the national debt by 2021. Obama is afraid a "tough-love budget" would "risk a renewed economic slowdown and his potential reelection." But the rising debt could spark a bond-market panic — "maybe sooner rather than later" — and that would cost Obama dearly.

"Obama budget reveals Obama's core"

His plan is still better than the GOP's: The only good thing that can be said about Obama's budget, says Paul Krugman in The New York Times, is that "it's much less awful than the Republican proposal." But Obama is wrong to "think that discretionary spending, not health care, is at the heart of our long-run deficit problems." The president's plan isn't nearly ambitious enough, and is "hardly something to cheer about."

"The new Obama budget"

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