Obama, Pragmatist?

James Pethokoukis looks at the evidence:

Obama...is a plausible pragmatist. His domestic policy advisers are hardly a radical bunch. One economic adviser, Jeffrey Liebman of Harvard, has coauthored an interesting compromise plan on Social Security that would raise taxes a bit, extend the retirement age a bit, and put a bit of money into personal retirement accounts.

Or look at Obama's tax plan. In addition to new middle-class tax credits, it has a technocratic reform proposal that would make filing many tax returns easier by letting the Internal Revenue Service fill them out in advance. And the economist who devised the plan, the University of Chicago's Austan Goolsbee, is no class warrior on taxes or China basher on trade. Don't forget, too, that in his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama himself found a few kind words for President Reagan's 1981 tax cuts, which slashed the top marginal rate to 50 percent from 70 percent, saying that the old sky-high rate did "distort investment decisions." Sounds pretty pragmatic.