More than a thousand days after Washington last passed a budget, Pennsylvania Avenue is now haunted by the ghost of one. The document President Obama sent to Congress today will resemble a budget in many ways. It will have revenue analyses and projections decades into the future and itemized appropriations for every agency from Amtrak to the FBI. But a budget it is not. It is a mirage, a fata Obama. Due to Republican opposition to tax hikes (according to WH Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Obama’s budget cuts spending by $2.50 for every dollar in new taxes) and discretionary spending limits already in place from the debt ceiling deal, the plan has no chance of actually passing, but it indicates the Obama administration’s priorities and allows them to portray Republicans as intractable.
The plan lays out a blueprint for a fourth straight year with the federal government running deficits of more than $1 trillion. The plan would instantiate much of the President’s campaign platform, from the Buffett Tax to aid to community colleges and $476 billion in infrastructure spending.
- The Bush tax cuts would expire for families making over $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $200,000 a year.
- $360 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid by deferring payments providers (via AP).
- The Department of Energy, unlike the Pentagon and EPA which both face modest cuts under the President’s plan, would see its funding increase by about $1.4 billion.
- A little more than half of the cost of Obama’s six year infrastructure investment program would come from the gas tax, the other half would come from alleged savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Any meaningful entitlement reform is notably absent. The whole thing will be posted to the White House website in about five minutes. Check it out here.