The Note: Searching For Light

The Washington Post's Chuck Babington envisions a less-than-sparkling atmosphere at the White House dinner with Reid, Sens. Dodd (D-CT), Shelby (R-AL), and Smith (R-OR) and their wives. LINK

FY06 Budget:

Typical Democratic and Republican governor reaction to the budget:

"As Governor of ____(state), I've successfully balanced budgets for ____(number of years), so I'm happy to find ways to work with this Administration to help reduce costs that burden us both. But the Administration needs to find some way to ________(reduce the growth/cost of Medicaid / reduce higher education costs / keep our farmers employed gainfully / fully fund special education ) without putting that burden on the state."

Typical congressional Democratic reaction to the budget:

"If the President were serious about cutting the deficit, he would have offered an honest budget, one that took into account the growth of entitlements, the AMT, and the costs of war. Instead, he tries to balance it on the backs of the poor and vulnerable."

Typical public congressional Republican reaction to the budget:

"I applaud President Bush's budget, which calls for putting the government's house in order within the next several years. But I must protest his proposed cuts to the ______ (insert expensive program here). Cutting that program will hurt _____(state)'s _______(families/busiensses/children)."

Typical private GOP/GOP lobbyist reaction to the budget:

"No chance in _____ (hot, sinful place) of this passing without big changes, except for the cuts in _____ (program not favorered by lobbyist/program that helps Blue staters more than Red Staters)."

Typical House Republican Study Conference reaction to the budget:

"Who needs the Department of Labor anyway? We'll take your home heating oil cuts . . . and raise you the Federal Railroad Administration."

Typical smart analyst reaction to the budget:

As Brian Reidl says in the Wall Street Journal, the White House has, at the very least, framed the debate: it's where to cut, not where to spend. That said, we expect Congress to pass the budget…probably with a little higher spending levels than requested… and then also restore lots of goodies during appropriations.

The lede of the Wall Street Journal must make Grover Norquist (who always seems to be on the opposite side of the country -- he's in California today -- when budgets are introduced) quiver with delight. The budget cuts, write Jackie Calmes and John McKinnon, are the "broadest domestic spending cuts since the Reagan era

The final two paragraphs, on we at The Note call "a related topic," are worth reading in full:

"The year's budget writing will be complicated by the parallel debate over Social Security. While Mr. Bush last week acknowledged that private accounts, by themselves, wouldn't help Social Security's long-term financial outlook, now the Social Security Administration's chief actuary has informed the White House that its plan would hasten to 2012 from 2018 the date when Social Security will begin taking in less in payroll-tax revenues than it is paying out in benefits."

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