State of the Union

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Can’t imagine why anyone would possibly want to watch the State of the Union, but it’s tonight for those interested. Charlie Cook pointed out the other day that the only address in recent memory that was even remotely “important” was Bill Clinton’s in 1998, when the president strode in after the Monica Lewinsky scandal had erupted and showed everyone that it was business as usual in Washington, life would go on, and there was no constitutional crisis in the offing. (Well, more specifically, the purpose of the speech was to show the media that life would go on; most of the rest of the country didn’t actually think the affair was the end of the world.)

At any rate, E.J. Dionne has a great column today noting that whatever President Bush might say in his speech tonight about “boldness” and “vision” and “reform,” it’s been business as usual in the Republican-controlled Congress, where the upcoming budget vote will slash genuinely important programs for the poor while cutting taxes on the wealthy. (And increasing the deficit all the while—as it turns out, anti-poverty programs are relatively cheap, while tax cuts blow a big hole in the budget.) Dionne’s right, there should be moral outrage over this.

There aren’t really any new and dazzling ways to spin the GOP’s disastrous budget, although we can note some of the consequences: among other things, the non-partisan CBO pointed out that as a result of recent Medicaid cuts, millions and millions of low-income Americans could lose their coverage or face higher payments. The indefatigable folks at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, as usual, have the gory details.

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