Morning Must Reads -- This fairy tale has an unhappy ending 

Wall Street Journal -- Deficit to Hit All-Time High

If the economy roars to life with growth rates like the dot-com boom and Congress approves a slate of budget cuts that have been regularly and recently shot down, we’ll have the annual budget deficit down to a scant $700 billion in just a decade, before it starts rising again.

The president’s budget, out today, calls for $3.8 trillion in federal spending for the next fiscal year, $1.6 trillion of which is to be borrowed, allowing the president to break his own record.

Most alarming is that it’s an impossibly optimistic projection.

The plan includes hundreds of billions of dollars for another stimulus package and money for other new programs. The reductions come from allowing the Bush tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or more.

Writer Jonathan Weisman explains that people who are serious about their deficit concerns are alarmed by the fact that even when wearing rose-colored glasses, the White House cannot see a future without budget deficits.

“Isabel Sawhill, a budget expert at the Brookings Institution, criticized the president's goal— a deficit of 3% of GDP long after the recession has ended—saying it amounted to ‘defining deficits down.’

‘The pay-go rules will make it more difficult for Congress to dig the hole deeper but won't affect currently projected red ink; and the commission will likely be a paper tiger,’ she wrote on Friday. ‘In short, these proposals will still leave us with unsustainable deficits as far as the eye can see. It is depressing to discover that we can no longer even aspire to balance the budget once the recession is over.’

 

New York Times -- Obama to Seek Sweeping Change in ‘No Child’ Law

The educational component of the president’s sophomore-year will focus on scrapping No Child Left Behind.

Writer Sam Dillon gets a peek at the administration’s plans and tells us that the idea is to offer more incentives to schools to enhance student and teacher performance, but to eliminate the penalties for failing to meet basic standards. For example, closing the achievement gap between students would get a grant award but having functionally illiterate students for several years in a row would not mean parents would be given the right to transfer out of schools.

“[No Child Left Behind] has also generated tremendous opposition, especially from educators, who contend that it sets impossible goals for students and schools and humiliates students and educators when they fall short. The law has, to date, labeled some 30,000 schools as ‘in need of improvement,’ a euphemism for failing, but states and districts have done little to change them.

 

New York Times -- Forces Pushing Obama on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Writer Elisabeth Bumiller explains the omplex set of reasons that president waited until now to get serious about his pledge to allow openly gay men and women to serve in the military. Nothing surprising – political fears, campaign promise pressure, etc.

But she does highlight a way through the political perils of the issue for the administration – have the Pentagon to stop discharging soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who are turned in as gay by a third party and then let Congress take it’s time on repealing the actual law.

“Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a research group that focuses on repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ said he expected Mr. Gates to announce on Tuesday that the Pentagon would end discharges based on third-party accusations, but also that it would move slowly, which Mr. Belkin opposes.

‘By signaling that integration is a complicated, fragile process and slow-rolling it over a number of years, you give obstructionists in the military the chance to stir up trouble in their units,’ he said.”

 

Fouad Ajami -- The Obama Spell Is Broken

Ajami tells us how Obama rose so high and fell so fast – he was the right man for an unusual moment in American history, but that he cannot adapt to a return to normalcy.

“A historical hallmark of "isms" and charismatic movements is to dig deeper when they falter—to insist that the ‘thing’ itself, whether it be Peronism, or socialism, etc., had not been tried but that the leader had been undone by forces that hemmed him in.

It is true to this history that countless voices on the left now want Obama to be Obama. The economic stimulus, the true believers say, had not gone astray, it only needed to be larger; the popular revolt against ObamaCare would subside if and when a new system was put in place.

There had been that magical moment—the campaign of 2008—and the true believers want to return to it. But reality is merciless. The spell is broken.”

 

Washington Post -- New media help conservatives get their anti-Obama message out

Writer Jerry Markon’s piece isn’t really about how conservatives use new media. It’s another effort to prove that the anti-Washington setiment bubbling up across the land is an artificial product of the vast right wing conspiracy.

He gets the usual suspects to take credit for their huge influence in the movement and uses their bragging as evidence that right-wing puppet masters are pulling the strings.

What’s interesting is how Markon finds it remarkable that conservatives and conservative groups use what are now very basic technologies. I suppose in Markon’s world, the fact that note-wrapped rocks are not the primary means of communication for conservatives is somewhat newsworthy.

“For example, Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips was at an anti-health-reform rally in Arkansas when his BlackBerry buzzed. It was an e-mail from the Heritage Foundation, blasting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's just-released 1,990-page health bill.

Phillips, whose group works closely with tea-party activists, read portions of it at the rally.”

--My column on the disconnect between Obama's words and deeds is here.

About The Author

Chris Stirewalt

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Washington Examiner Political Editor Chris Stirewalt, who coordinates political coverage for the newspaper and ExaminerPolitics.com in addition to writing a twice-weekly column and
regular blog posts.

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