Politico reports this morning that President Obama has decided to keep his promise to be fiscally responsible... next year:
President Barack Obama plans to announce in next year's State of the Union address that he wants to focus extensively on cutting the federal deficit in 2010 – and will downplay other new domestic spending beyond jobs programs, according to top aides involved in the planning.
Since the president has already expanded the deficit by over a trillion, he certainly has set himself up to succeed. And the word is that the president might set aside cap and trade to avoid the negative impact it would have on our economy. But to tackle the deficit, the president will have to make a fundamental shift in thinking about spending. He's already spent more in the nine months of his presidency than Clinton did in eight years, though he has a long way to go to surpass the bar set by super-spender Bush.
But it seems unlikely that the same president that supports a $1 trillion-plus health care package and Wall Street reform rules that would hurt small businesses (and big businesses) will also find ways to cut the deficit in meaningful, long-term ways. Yet, however unlikely it may seem, there are ideas out there on the table to cut back spending, the president does have the capacity to grab hold of them and make them his own. Time will tell if he does.