In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Obama Deficit Plan A Mixed Bag For Democrats And A Sharp Contrast With GOP

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  • A debt failsafe that will be triggered if the debt-to-GDP ratio hasn't stabilized, and begun to decline by mid-decade. This will include automatic spending cuts, and reductions in tax subsidies, but no tax increases. Social Security, Medicare, and low-income programs will be exempted. It will not tie the government's hands in the event that an economic downturn requires fiscal stimulus.

  • Cuts to discretionary spending, compatible with those in the Bowles-Simpson recommendations.

  • Defense spending cuts, contingent on a thorough review conducted by Secretary Robert Gates, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Obama himself, and savings generated by winding down operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by the health care law to recommend and implement cost savings reforms to hold down the cost-per-Medicare-patient.

  • Simplifying the formula for providing federal matching funds to states for Medicaid, which would automatically increase in the event of a recession
  • This is a big one -- Obama will propose using Medicare's purchasing power to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors
  • Reductions in agricultural subsidies
  • Comprehensive tax reform, which reduces loopholes, simplifies the system, allows the Bush tax cuts for high-income earners to expire, and reduces the corporate tax rate.

This is a decidedly centrist approach -- and one that's hard to reconcile with the House Republican budget.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com