Last year, President Obama used his annual budget proposal as an olive branch in his quest to bring Republicans to the table to hash out a sweeping fiscal deal, including things like a chained CPI proposal and an offer to reduce the benefit increases for Social Security. That bargain, of course, never came to pass. Fast forward to this year and we see the White House has returned to the basics with a blue print that resembles a liberal wish list of sorts, via the New York Times:
President Obama on Tuesday sent Congress an election-year budget request that reflects Democratic ideals, emphasizing increased spending on domestic initiatives for education, public works and research paid for by ending tax breaks for the wealthy and some corporations, rather than continued budget cutting.
Mr. Obama’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 is mostly a familiar volume that seeks, for the sixth time, to balance investments to help the economy and spread economic opportunities, against continued spending cuts and tax increases to continue reducing annual deficits. But the theme of this year’s budget reflects Mr. Obama’s call to have the nation address the growing inequality of incomes and economic opportunity. ….
Gone are the concessions the president proposed to Republicans last year, as his second term began, to reduce future Social Security payments to arrest the projected growth of federal debt.
Very little of the proposal is expected to become law, let alone even seriously be considered in Congress. Instead, the president’s proposal serves as an early benchmark for the 2014 midterm elections, one that Democrats hope will highlight their differences with Republicans on the campaign trail.
The proposal’s bottom line numbers for 2015: $3.9 trillion in spending and $3.3 trillion in revenues. More than two-thirds of the former is earmarked for mandatory spending on things like entitlement benefits and interest on the federal debt. Meanwhile, the blue print projects the national deficit will fall to $649 billion this year, to $564 billion the following year (a figure that is less than half in dollar terms of the deficit he inherited when he was sworn in in 2009, according to the Times), and to $434 billion in 2024 (or 1.6 percent of the overall economy, down from 3.7 percent this year, according to the Washington Post).
Slate will have more coverage of the president’s budget proposal later.