Economics

Obama: My Budget Is Better Than Yours, Still

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Well, the word is out. President Obama doesn’t like House Republicans’ budget plan. “The America I know is generous and compassionate… we also take responsibility for each other,” Obama said in his guilt-trip speech that naturally took stabs at the GOP for wanting to chip away at seniors’ care and little kiddies’ education. “We will all have to make sacrifices… but we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in.”

Obama laid down the gauntlet on the investment spending plans in his budget that, frankly, draw GOP ire because they add instead of subtract. “I will not sacrifice the core investments” including roads, broadband, education, job training, medical research, etc., etc., Obama stressed.

Some other points in his address:

—Deficit reduction: Obama pledged to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion. Paul Ryan still wins. And Obama wouldn’t have to worry about his projection coming true or not, as he’ll be well out of office. Ryan, on the other hand, may one day be shooting for Obama’s office.

—”Debt failsafe”: Which would, according to the White House, trigger “across-the-board spending reductions” if, by 2014, the projected ratio of debt-to-GDP is “not stabilized and declining toward the end of the decade.” Across the board except for entitlement reform, that is: Social Security, low-income programs, or Medicare benefits will be excluded from the trigger.

—”Three dollars of spending cuts and interest savings for every one dollar from tax reform that contributes to deficit reduction.” At first I read that as “three dollars of spending cuts” and wasn’t even surprised.

—Tax hikes on other income brackets. “There will be those who vigorously agree with my approach… the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. Warren Buffett doesn’t need another tax cut.”

—Cutting $400 billion in current and future defense spending.

—”Combined Medicaid savings of at least $100 billion over 10 years. Reduce Medicare’s excessive spending on prescription drugs and lower drug premiums for beneficiaries without shifting costs to seniors or privatizing Medicare. Combined Medicare savings of at least $200 billion over 10 years,” according to the White House release.

On Social Security, however, there was no alarm sounded and scant detail: “The President does not believe that Social Security is in crisis nor is a driver of our near-term deficit problems. … That is why the President supports bipartisan efforts to strengthen Social Security for the long haul.”

Footnote: I call for a speechwriting moratorium on the phrase “win the future” and the analogy about Republicans driving the car into the ditch, yadda yadda.

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