February 27, 2009
Posted: 11:22 AM ET
President Obama's first budget - with its eye-popping $1.75 trillion deficit, a health-care fund of more than $600 billion, a $150 billion energy package and proposals to tax wealthy Americans even beyond what he talked about during his campaign - underscores the breadth of his aspiration to reverse three decades of conservative governance and use his presidency to rapidly transform the country.
But in adopting a program of such size, cost and complexity, Obama has far exceeded what other politicians might have done. As a result, he is now gambling with his own future and the success of his presidency.
William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution cited three parallels to Obama's far-reaching program: Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1932 New Deal blueprint, Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 Great Society agenda, and Ronald Reagan's 1981 call to dramatically limit the size and power of government, which set the framework for public policy debate ever since.
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