Most Important Part of Obama Plan: The 'Trigger'

Congress would have to act if 'magical' growth fails to materialize
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2011 1:18 PM CDT
President Obama waves as he leaves after outlining his fiscal policy during an address at George Washington University Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Amid the reaction to President Obama's budget speech (ranging from it was terrific to it was "a disgrace") at least two columnists think his proposed trigger—Congress would have to cut more spending or raise taxes if deficit targets aren't met—is significant. This "may be the most important specific proposal in Obama’s plan, and a sign of its credibility, because it addresses the glaring flaw in almost every budget proposal: magical assumptions about economic growth, tax revenue, efficiencies and cost reductions," writes Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post. If those "magical" numbers don't materialize, "Congress is forced to act."

In his Post blog, Ezra Klein thinks the trigger is what differentiates Obama's "policy" plan from Paul Ryan's "ideology" plan. "Obama’s budget, aware that it might not pass and, if it does pass, it might not work, proposes to make automatic cuts to discretionary spending and tax expenditures if the promised savings don’t materialize. If Ryan’s budget falls short, there’s no comparable failsafe. That is to say, Obama’s budget has two plausible ways to get to its number, while Ryan’s budget has none."

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