I have a new column up at e21 on the president’s latest budget proposal:

This plan wasn’t aimed at building bridges to the GOP or helping the Joint Committee come to an agreement. It was aimed at drawing sharp contrasts between the parties and positioning the president going into the 2012 presidential campaign. In that regard, it seems to have worked. The already very wide partisan divide now prevalent in Congress only widened further in the last week. In this highly charged environment, the odds that the Joint Committee will come to a grand tax-entitlement bargain are exceedingly low.

But perhaps that is just as well. Because it is also quite clear from the president’s latest health care proposals that serious entitlement reforms — the kind that would actually make a difference and would be worth striking a “grand bargain” to achieve — aren’t in the cards before the November 2012 election….

You can read the column in full here.