Rhetorically, Democrats finger familiar villains to explain and cure the deficits. These don't withstand scrutiny. One is: the Bush tax cuts for the rich. The trouble is that Obama's budget already assumes higher rates (39.6%) on incomes exceeding $200,000 (individuals) and $250,000 (couples).
Suppose we get tougher on the very rich. One proposal would raise rates to 45% on incomes from $1 million to $10million, with rates increasing to 49% on incomes of $1 billion. Over a decade, tax revenues would grow about $900 billion, says the advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice. Assuming the money materialized, it's a lot — but only a 10th of the decade's deficits.
Another liberal villain: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They've cost $1.26 trillion from 2001 to 2011, reckons the CBO. Again, a lot of money. But it, too, pales next to all spending ($29.8 trillion) or deficits ($6.2 trillion) over the same period. Here, too, Obama's budget assumes big cuts.