There was an interesting discussion this morning on the President's budget proposal with Joe Scarborough, Mika, Mark Halperin, Andrew Ross Sorkin and Willie Geist.
Joe S. criticized Obama's budget because it doesn't address entitlements, but then he criticized the Republicans for "punting", although they haven't proposed their budget yet. I suppose this is preemptive criticism. Mark S. said that the Presdient is practicing "patience leadership" and is waiting for the Republicans to move first on entitlements, and Mika agreed this is a brilliant strategy. Mika really likes Obama, so whatever he does is ultimately brilliant. Joe S. was more skepical, and he believes no one will address entitlements, but he believes that the times are right for entitlement reform because Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo are cutting and they are popular for doing so. I agree with Joe S. on this point -- the Democrats will look foolish demagoguing this time regarding entitlement reform.
But, where I disagree with them all is on the bigger picture issue of statist government intervention. As long as limitations have been removed and government can spend pretty much anyway it wants to through the general welfare clause, entitlement tweaking which is put out into the future will likely be changed by future congresses in one way or another, or other general welfare measures will be taken to support people financially. In other words, tweaking entitlements will not reduce spending or fix our debt problem. The statist system has to be changed before any progress can be made with the debt. The Morning Joe crowd and their guests talk all around the problem, but these are symptoms -- we need fundamental solutions.
Another thing I thought was interesting is that Andrew Ross Sorkin is a business editor for the NYT, yet when he rightfully said inflation is becoming a problem, he couldn't say why it's a problem when asked by Joe S.