President Obama finally released his proposed budget today. Here's what's in it, and how people are reacting.
The main points, as summarized from Forbes:
- Increased revenues resulting from the chained CPI [cost of living adjustment].
- Instituting the “Buffet Rule”
- Cutting direct payments to farmers
- Limiting the tax deferral benefits of contributing to a retirement account.
- A new federal tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to be used to fund the expansion of pre-kindergarten education programs.
- Limiting itemized deductions for high-income households to 28 percent after charitable contributions.
- Change carried interest tax rates into ordinary income tax rates.
- Close additional tax loopholes.
Derek Thompson of The Atlantic:
President Obama's budget, in nine words, is:"Tax the rich; Spare the poor; Remember the young"...
Obama's budget, for all its messy compromises, is at least a document that reflects certain realities of the time, among them: (1) Global capitalism, left to its own devices, is unlikely to help low-income families keep up with rising costs that come from overall productivity growth; (2) our access to medical care is an international embarrassment, and deserves a solution; (3) the deficit is shrinking too fast, not too slow; (4) we really, really, really don't have to balance the budget, ever; (5) it's better to reduce the deficit with spending cuts and tax increases. These are real problems. The president offers acceptable and defensible solutions.
Ed Morrissey writes that:
The $170 billion increase in spending is exactly twice what the sequester was supposed to cut from next year’s budget.
Anne Daguerre of The Guardian sees the White House playing politics:
One way of seeing this is that Obama is setting a trap for Republicans around a grand bargain on entitlement reform, which he likely knows if impossible for them to agree to; but the public blames the GOP for the lack of agreement on a budget compromise, then voters may punish them, rather than the president's party, at the next midterm 2014 elections.
The Wall Street Journal focuses on the cuts in direct payments to farmers:
Net farm income is forecast to increase 13.6% this year to $128.2 billion, the highest inflation-adjusted amount in 40 years, according to administration. Its proposal would cut $37.8 billion in farm subsidies over 10 years.
The Daily Beast's John Avlon likes the budget, because both sides hate it.
Plenty of voices from either side will see only political machinations rather than sincere outreach in this Obama budget. But, however belated, the budget provides indelible evidence about a desire to match the president’s occasional rhetoric of entitlement reform with reality. And if Republicans are serious about reducing long-term deficits and debt, they should treat this proposal as a significant step in the right direction, worthy of their own concessions.