Axelrod: Obama’s second-term priorities include more than just fiscal crises, you know

posted at 5:01 pm on January 20, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Yes, we know.

Presidential adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that President Barack Obama’s priorities for his second term shouldn’t deal with just the fiscal crisis.

“There’s a larger priority … which is how do you create an economy — rebuild an economy in which the American dream, the American compact is fresh,” Axelrod said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “That’s not just dealing with the fiscal crisis; it’s about education; it’s about research and development; it’s about controlling our energy future. All of these are part of the equation, and we can’t just do one piece of it.”

He said those priorities shouldn’t be put on the back burner for the fiscal deadlines Washington keeps running up against.

There’s only one little problem for all of President Obama’s grandiose ambitions for education, infrastructure, research, and all of the other things we’re meant to believe the government needs to keep adding to its magnanimous to-do list, without which we’ll be helplessly stuck in the past while the rest of the world moves on to the economy of the future. All of these schemes are code for new and exciting ways in which the government can spend our money — and we don’t have any. Via Reuters:

President Barack Obama starts his second term in office facing unprecedented budget constraints that will challenge his ability to implement his economic vision.

Spending caps that Obama signed into law in 2011 will make it difficult to boost investment in education, scientific research, transportation and other areas that he says will help the country retool for heightened global competition and rapid technological change, budget experts say.

Because those caps won’t keep pace with inflation and population growth, the government will effectively have 16 percent less to spend in these areas by the time Obama leaves office in 2017, according to White House estimates.

That could constrain college loans, preschool education, job training and other programs that Obama says will boost national competitiveness.

All of the new action items, a.k.a. new spending ideas, in the world are only going to keep plunging us deeper into debt while we refuse to even attempt to seriously reform the entitlement state that is binge-eating all of our cash and then some, not to mention those sixteen trillion dollars already just hanging out in the red zone. People may be bored with cliffs and crises, but as long as President Obama and the Democrats continue to roundly ignore Republicans’ calls for entitlement cuts (and really, what incentive do they have to do otherwise?), our solvency will go unaddressed and money is only going to get tighter — although I’m sure they won’t let that put a damper on the spending spree. This is day 1,362 without a budget, I believe?

Anyhow, these chances-for-reform fiscal cliffs are just so dreary, so President Obama and the Democrats really need to accomplish some stuff to rally the base and get everybody excited; and as we’ve already seen in the past few weeks, immigration and gun control are currently on the top of that list. Ergo:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn’t letting the intense partisanship temper his expectations for the coming year and is planning an agressive agenda ranging from immigration and gun control to education and the economy. …

The full list of the Senate’s priority bills, as confirmed by Reid’s office Saturday:

Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Sandy Hook Elementary School Violence Reduction Act
Strengthen our Schools and Students Act
Rebuild America Act
Violence Against Women Act
Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act
Preparing for Extreme Weather
End Wasteful Tax Loopholes
Clean and Fair Elections Act
Agriculture Jobs Bill


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