Well Knock Me Over With a Sledge Hammer!

Barack Obama revealed his deficit plan, and for once, I’m pleasantly surprised:

President Obama will unveil a plan on Monday that uses entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings to reduce the federal deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years, administration officials said.

The plan, which Mr. Obama will lay out Monday morning at the White House, is the administration’s opening move in sweeping negotiations on deficit reduction to be taken up by a joint House-Senate committee over the next two months. If a deal is not enacted by Dec. 23, cuts could take effect automatically across government agencies.

Mr. Obama will call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases, primarily on the wealthy, through a combination of letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire, closing loopholes and limiting the amount that high earners can deduct. The proposal also includes $580 billion in adjustments to health and entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid. Administration officials said that the Medicare cuts would not come from an increase in the Medicare eligibility age.

Senior administration officials who briefed reporters on some of the details of Mr. Obama’s proposal said that the plan also counts a savings of $1.1 trillion from the ending of the American combat mission in Iraq and the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

In laying out his proposal, aides said, Mr. Obama will expressly promise to veto any legislation that seeks to cut the deficit through spending cuts alone and does not include revenue increases in the form of tax increases on the wealthy.

I’m stunned.

His plan doesn’t suck (much), and it doesn’t cede major points to the Republicans as a starting point.

I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop (with all of his caving, I’m still going long on spelunking gear) .

Someone must have made it clear to him that while “the left” would vote for him in 2012, regardless of how much he flamed them, they made the point that if they do so reluctantly, then the low information independent voters won’t feel the enthusiasm, and they’ll not take the time to pull the lever for him.

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