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Obama’s budget, our money, Congress’ battle

03/06/2014

Oh no, the federal government is talking money again—our money. On Tuesday (one month after the Congressional deadline) President Barack Obama released his 2015 fiscal year budget, and it’s a doozie.

By the numbers, the President’s budget equates to $3.9 trillion in expenses. Projected revenues are said to be about $3.3 trillion which means the President’s budget will spend about $600 billion more than the federal government expects to take in.

His budget also includes $56 billion more in spending than the caps that were instated by the two-year budget agreement passed by Congress in January. This new spending includes money for preschool programs, climate research, job training, and defense funding.

The budget also includes a $302 billion boost towards infrastructure spending on highways, railroads, and mass transit which, when done right, has been proven to aid in job creation and expansion.

Although these are the current numbers, President Obama contends that his budget would decrease the size of the annual deficit. This is due to a complex combination of tax, un-tax, spend, and re-spend measures in his budget.

In fact, one of the new ‘un-tax’ measures is a proposed expansion of the current Earned Income Tax credit to more low-income young childless working adults. This could mean lower taxes for many working, childless college students.

Many of the new spending measures are not intended to be paid for with borrowed monies as the government has done in the past. Instead, the President has proposed--along with the series of spending programs--a series of corporate tax increases and closing of corporate tax loopholes to offset revenue.

All-in-all, President Obama’ budget looks like an election year road map for Congressional Democrats. By combining many tax increases with tax decreases and spending increase measures with spending decrease measures, the President puts the ball in the Congressional court.

My prediction is that Republicans will banter about bigger government, increased spending, and vow not to compromise. Whereas Democrats will chastise Republicans for asking wealthy corporations to play by a different set of rules than the ‘common’ man.

In fact, Senate Democrats have already rejected the President’s proposal saying that they will not advance a budget this year and will instead use ‘appropriations bills’ to set their own spending measures. One can suspect that those measures will include more domestic spending than the President has bargained for.

All of this paints one clear-as-mud picture: the federal government has grown too big for its breeches. With separate parties in control of separate branches of government, neither of them has yet to figure out how to do the most basic function of government: pass a budget.

The only thing the President can do is offer some suggestions and watch the battle for principles (and votes) hash out amongst the party leaders in Congress.

All we can do is hope and pray that somewhere along the line, somebody up there in Washington remembers where that money came from: you and me.

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