Digby on Obama's Very Serious intent to cut the deficit:
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: ... my orientation here is real simple. I wanna make sure that we’ve got an economy in which Main Street’s winning. And what that requires is that we’re investing in education, early childhood, that we’re investing in transportation, that we’re investing in the things that we need to grow. If we’re gonna re– if we’re gonna continue to reduce the deficit, and I think a lot of people aren’t aware of the fact that the deficit’s been cut in half since I came into office, it’s continuing on a trend line of further reductions.
If we wanna do more deficit reduction, I’ve already– put out a budget that says, “Let’s do it.” I’m willing to reform entitlements. I’m willing to– you know, cut out additional waste that may be there. And I’m spending time, even without pressure from Congress, trying to figure out how we can cut out waste in the system.
But– I– what I also think we should be doing is eliminating– corporate tax breaks that nobody can defend– but keep on– reappearing each year in the budget. If we are serious about it, there’s no reason– that we can’t do it...
... If he can get them to take him up on his repeated offer to cut even more and especially the vital social security programs (when they actually need to be raised), he will have fulfilled his Grand Bargain agenda. He certainly seems prepared to grant that deficit reduction remains extremely important and bringing it down is one of his proudest a accomplishments. He can't wait to do more of it.
I suppose that's partly a negotiating stance but it's hard to see how any of his yammering over the past five years about the need to cut "entitlements" has bought him any political good will. In fact, this obsession with the deficit has now stuck us with sequestration which is slashing the very areas in which he insists we must invest. Kids are losing their food stamps and Head Start, the elderly are losing Meals on Wheels. There's no money for infrastructure.
But apparently we ain't done yet. According to the president we need to cut even more. So you have to assume he believes in it on the merits.