U.S. President Barack Obama proposed a budget that attempts to deal with two conflicting challenges: action to reduce unemployment and growing public concern about the budget deficit. According to The Economist, Obama, congressional Democrats and Republican critics are all uncomfortable talking about the biggest deficit challenge of all: entitlements. A three-year freeze on discretionary spending proposed by Obama would have a tiny impact compared with the growing costs of Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, The Economist notes. The Senate blocked Obama's proposal for a bipartisan commission that might face up to entitlements.

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