INSEPARABLE…. Perhaps one of the more provocative comments from the president’s press conference last night came early on, shortly before Obama open things up to questions:

“At the end of the day, the best way to bring our deficit down in the long run is not with a budget that continues the very same policies that have led us to a narrow prosperity and massive debt. It’s with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow-and-spend to one where we save and invest.

“And that’s why clean-energy jobs and businesses will do — all across America. That’s what a highly skilled workforce can do all across America. That’s what an efficient health-care system that controls costs and entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid will do.

“That’s why this budget is inseparable from this recovery, because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity.”

This will no doubt strike some as hyperbole. If recovery is a short-term goal, and the administration’s budget is about laying the groundwork for long-term prosperity, then it may be excessive to suggest the budget proposal and recovery are “inseparable.”

But I tend to think the president is right about this. This isn’t just a cyclical economic downturn, that will resolved fairly soon with low interest rates and a jolt by way of a stimulus package. Rather, the White House budget approaches the economy as if it has fundamental structural shortcomings.

Obama, in effect, is saying the recovery won’t be a real recovery — producing prosperity that is both lasting and broadly applied — without an ambitious budget that deals with his policy priorities.

Doesn’t that necessarily bolster the “inseparable” claim?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.