Opening Day for the baseball season has come and gone in Washington but for the budget season it comes on Wednesday, when the President officially unveils his Fiscal Year 2014 proposals. Will he get a hit or be sent back to the bench?
Early indications are that he will at least put the ball in play, and that’s a promising start.
Some Republican leaders in Congress have already declared, in effect, that the President’s budget is a whiff or a foul ball at best. Even among Democrats, there are those who seem to regard the forthcoming budget as a sacrifice bunt because of its apparent concessions to Republicans on entitlement cuts.
Clearly, there will be a vigorous debate. However, there is reason to be optimistic that the President’s budget may help move budget discussions in the right direction.
If preliminary reports are correct, the budget will include a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases that would bring the deficit down to 1.7 percent of GDP by 2023. That’s higher, but more realistic, than the House Republicans’ balanced budget goal and more ambitious than the Senate Democrats’ goal of bringing the deficit down to 2.2 percent of GDP.
In other words, it aims for a compromise, albeit one closer to the Senate Democrats’ goal, which is hardly surprising.
The key, of...