Budget

Three Dinner Party Opinions on Obama's New Budget


Three Dinner Party Opinions on Obama's New Budget

From Left: Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty Images, Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg, Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

How to sound smart on a topic that’s sure to come up. Just choose your position, memorize your lines, and bloviate away!

Pro: Thank God, Obama’s budget both reduces the deficit from $1.3 trillion this year to $900 billion and makes the wealthiest 1 percent pay their fair share in taxes. He’s closing loopholes and taxing dividends so people like Warren Buffett—and Mitt Romney—pay at least the same rate as their secretaries.

Con: Give me a break. Obama’s raising taxes and somehow he still won’t be able to reduce the deficit in half like he promised? This budget is just election-year daydreaming full of class-warfare rhetoric and demagoguery with no connection to reality. You think any Congress in their right mind would ever let these tax increases through, Republican or otherwise?

Hedged: You gotta remember, Presidential budgets are only slightly less chimerical than pledges to cut the deficit, but considering Europe’s about to implode, Obama’s done the best that one can. This is an election-year budget, but the spending cuts and revenue increases at least envision sustainable deficits—although it doesn’t begin to tackle entitlements.

Bonus Tip! Size up the vibe of the room before delivering your opinion. In a crowd with mixed sensibilities, go with option three: A well-hedged opinion will ingratiate yourself with people while leaving them with no memory of what you just said.

Lopez is a Bloomberg Businessweek contributor.

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