As the Senate prepares to produce its first budget since the FY2010 cycle four years ago, Barack Obama will finally submit his own budget proposal — two months late, of course. The last actual normal-order budget passed by Congress spent, according to the White House’s own figures, $3.456 trillion dollars on revenues of only $2.163 trillion. With even the President talking about fiscal discipline and deficit control, we must be seeing some cuts in this budget cycle, no?
President Obama plans Wednesday to unveil a $3.77 trillion spending plan that proposes modest new investments in infrastructure and education, major new taxes for the wealthy and significant reforms aimed at reducing the cost of Social Security and Medicare.
In case you’re keeping score — because the Obama administration clearly isn’t — that’s an increase of 8% over FY2010, which has served as the baseline spending level for all of the continuing resolutions and short-term budget deals that have followed since. That makes the Washington Post’s next paragraph even more ridiculous:
As Washington barrels toward another potential showdown over the federal debt limit later this summer, administration officials said the blueprint lays down the president’s bottom-line offer for getting federal borrowing under control.
Spending more money gets borrowing under control? Even credit-card companies wouldn’t try making that argument. The administration doubled down on this spin, though:
“So this is our sticking point,” the official said. “And the question is: are Republicans going to be willing to come to us to do serious things to reduce our deficits” – including raising taxes on millionaires.
Why not do something actually serious, like reducing spending? What are these “modest new investments,” for instance? We spent nearly a trillion dollars on “modest new investments” in 2009-10, which we still haven’t paid off.
The Post reports that Republicans are laughing this off, much like the last two presidential budget proposals, which couldn’t even win a single Democratic vote in Congress in three floor votes. This is why:
While the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts $3.6 trillion in outlays in the fiscal year that begins in October, Obama calls for $170 billion more.
And while the CBO forecasts a deficit of $616 billion in 2014, Obama calls for a larger gap between spending and revenues of $744 billion, administration officials said, or 4.4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
The $170 billion increase in spending is exactly twice what the sequester was supposed to cut from next year’s budget. Obama doesn’t want any spending cuts — he only wants more tax hikes, as Politico reports, calling them “revenue”:
His $3.77 trillion proposal would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion by adding $580 billion in new taxes on the wealthy, according to senior administration officials. It also includes an estimated $230 billion in savings by reducing cost-of-living adjustments for federal entitlement programs.
But all of those cuts — which White House aides say the president is ready to make — depend on whether Republicans agree to new tax revenues, including requiring people who make $1 million or more to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes and limiting deductions for the top 2 percent of earners.
“If they refuse to include revenues in any deal, then there will be no deal. It’s that simple,” a senior administration official said in a briefing call with reporters Tuesday.
Their justification, they say, is simple: Obama won a second term in November, and he’s not interested in negotiating away from the positions he took on the campaign trail to get to it. This is about a plan they say is out to help the middle class by increasing that tax burden on the wealthy.
In other words, Obama wants Republicans to agree to tax hikes today for down-the-road cost savings in entitlement programs that are necessary whether we hike taxes or not. In exchange, he wants to increase spending in most or all other categories.
What a deal! It’s very reminiscent of this one:
He’s called Wimpy for a reason, folks.
Update: Darn — the first Wimpy clip wasn’t embeddable. Here’s a longer Popeye with Wimpy instead.