Bob Shrum’s newThe Week column nicely portrays how a Democratic stategist would like Obama’s budget to be seen: a Rooseveltian, Reaganesque revolution in American politics that would establishes state control over the energy economy and politically irreversible new entitlements under the guise of “rights”:
Obama’s new America will be very American, a reach for enduring values of equality, opportunity and economic justice. But it will also be very different.
The big change, however, is that America will not only move from laggard to leader on climate change, Obama is proposing to leave behind the entrenched carbon-based economy and rely on American ingenuity—yes, Newt, financed by your disdained public sector—to create a cleaner, more self-sufficient economy and the “green” jobs of the 21st Century.
The 60 votes in the Senate will be found—or gotten around. And after 60 years of struggle, health care will finally be a right, not a privilege in America.
The Pell Grant program, which offers scholarships to poor and middle class students, will no longer be an annual appropriation, subject to cuts; it will be an entitlement on the order of Social Security, with more than $5000 a year guaranteed to every eligible student. In all but name, this establishes a right to higher education.
So, to summarize, the pillars of the Obama revolution are: government control of the (green!) economy, socialized health care, and checks for young voters.