The First 100 Days--and Then Some

How will Obama tackle his economic agenda? Here's the betting around Washington on how the next months could play out

MIDWINTER

February will be devoted to the biggest task: Doing a deal with Congress on economic stimulus and revising the plans for how to make the Treasury's bank-sector rescue more effective. If Obama gets those wrong, his whole agenda will suffer.

LATE WINTER

The budget is supposed to be done by February, but look for it in March. Look, too, for where the money goes: With the deficit skyrocketing, the budget will offer the first clear blueprint of how much Obama's team thinks it can spend on other programs.

EARLY SPRING

Some green spending will be in the stimulus package, but Obama wants to do plenty more. Plans to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy should hit the table. Talk will begin about a cap-and-trade system to control emissions, but don't expect real action until later in 2009.

LATE SPRING

More detailed proposals for health-insurance reform should start to emerge, both from the Administration and from legislators vying to lead the debate. Expect more concrete opposition to be forthcoming, too, as those who stand to lose start to fight back.

FALL

Taxes will take a backseat at first, but not forever. With the estate tax set to drop to zero next year, debate over an overhaul of individual and corporate rates will begin. A key question: Will the recovery be far enough along for Obama to put higher taxes for the wealthy back on the agenda?

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