April 10, 2013
President Obama's budget, in nine words, is:
"Tax the rich; Spare the poor; Remember the young"
The contours of the president's plan will be familiar to budget nerds, because he's been cooking up different styles of the same dish for months now. And there are two sticking points, which will also be familiar to budget nerds, because they're the same old sticking points: Taxes and entitlements. Obama's plan raises taxes on the richest households by $600 billion -- not by raising rates, but instead reducing the deductions these families can take. Second, his plan adopts a new measure for inflation, which would slowly cut Social Security benefits, and it proposes additional cuts to Medicare.
Most Republicans hate the first part. Most Democrats hate the second part. Will this new budget compel both sides to reconsider? Honestly, who knows.
The Debate About Right-Now: Obama v. Ryan
Rather than predict the future, let's focus on the present cavernous gap between the Obama and Ryan plans. Over the next ten years, Obama is proposing about $46.5 trillion in spending. Ryan is proposing about $41.5 trillion in spending in that span. That $5 trillion gap, as Ezra Klein points out, is the true Colosseum of these budget fights.
The spending gap comes down to the uninsured, the poor, and the young. The Ryan budget accepts the sequester, repeals Obamacare, cuts federal spending to Medicaid, and cuts deep into "other mandatory spending," a catch-all category comprised of mostly (a) cash assistance to veterans, the jobless, and the poor and (b) retirement programs for vets and federal employees.
Read more at The Atlantic.
April 10, 2013