Budget talk

A conference call with Congressional Budget Office spokesman Ken Baer and White House adviser David Plouffe tonight was probably aimed at growing indignation in the blogosphere over the proposed Obama budget, which features your proverbial draconian cuts to just about every social program — except Social Security and Medicare.

It wasn’t likely that bloggers would be happy with the conversation, since once we got into the details of arguing different cuts, it looked as though we were buying into the White House frame that the cuts were urgently needed in the first place, and most of us don’t believe that’s true.

Baer’s opening remarks focused on “shared sacrifice.” Some bloggers weren’t buying it. (I know I didn’t.)

My question: “When you’re talking about shared sacrifice, clearly, the working and middle class is getting a disproportionate slam everywhere they turn with this budget, and you’re talking about a few, what sound like token items to the rest of us out here, and I wonder how you rationalize that during this severe economic recession.”

Baer said people got that impression from the stories that were released early, without looking at the big-budget picture. (Click here.)

Anyway, no one on the outside really knows what they’re up to. Is this a ploy to back Republicans into a corner over popular programs? Is this a strategy to get the public to support Social Security cuts later? Your guess is as good as mine. I wouldn’t take it too seriously just yet.

In the meantime, here’s a roundup of some budget stories:

Ezra Klein: The U.S. Government: An insurance conglomerate protected by a large, standing army.

HuffPost: Republicans Response: It would be better to pass nothing.

David Dayen: Festival of budget links!

Washington Monthly: Republicans have forgotten all about “jobs, jobs, jobs’!