I’d like to see if I can add a little more clarity to yesterday’s post about the President’s new budget proposals. In particular, I want to try to help you zoom out from specifics (like the war funding gimmick) and see what I think is a larger and more fundamental deception in the fiscal argument being made by Team Obama.
I think of this as a layered argument. These layers are nothing more than a mental model I’m using to keep my own thinking straight about this complex topic. The layers get progressively more egregious.
Layer 1 involves legitimate judgment calls about what to count, what not to count, and how to count it. This includes questions like “Should we count Medicare doc fix spending as part of this proposal,” and “Should we measure tax increases for the rich against current law or current policy?” These are budget judgment calls in which honest, well-intentioned budget wonks can and will reach different conclusions, and everyone else’s eyes will glaze over.
(photo credit: Steven Depolo)