The Republicans emailed me this A.P. story:

President Barack Obama's ambitious goal of cutting the federal deficit in half relies on a perfect — some might say improbable — convergence of factors: a recovered economy, a tax boost for the rich and success in easing foreign entanglements. ...

For him to succeed, the economy will have to meet current forecasts that it will begin to turn around gradually during the second half of the year. Even so, Obama might still have to seek billions more to help rescue the beleaguered financial sector. ...

Further budget assistance would come from increases in taxes for wealthier Americans. Administration officials have said Obama will meet his campaign pledge to end President George W. Bush's tax cuts for people who make more than $250,000. Those tax cuts are to expire at the end of 2010.

Obama plans other tax cuts for most Americans, but any tax hike is likely to meet stiff resistance from congressional Republicans.

Okay, there are two issues here. First, the AP says the economy may not start to recover this year. I agree. But if that's true, then we shouldn't be trying to reduce the deficit this year. Right?

Second, the AP says Republicans will resist Obama's plans to let the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year expire. But that doesn't matter! Obama doesn't have to pass a new law to let them expire. He just has to let them expire. Does the AP think the Republicans will be able to enact a new law extending the upper-income portion of the Bush tax cuts with a veto-proof majority in both chambers of Congress?

--Jonathan Chait