President Obama is announcing his proposed 2014 budget today, and judging from an overview provided by the White House (below), it's bound to piss off conservatives and progressives in near-equal measure. The $3.77 trillion planned budget includes the largest deficit cut in any year of Obama's tenure.
To get there, here's the bulk of what gets cut:*
- $230 billion by "chaining" how quickly government-benefits payments and tax brackets increase to keep up with the economy.
- $200 billion in cuts to farm subsidies and government retirement plans.
- $400 billion in "health savings," mostly from cuts to Medicare spending and crackdowns on fraud.
- Also, redundant catfish inspections will be a thing of the past.
Here's some new stuff America would get:
- A raise in the minimum wage to $9.
- An end to across-the-board sequestration cuts, so maybe you can see flashy bomb-dropping Navy planes do propagandistic barrel rolls in your neighborhood, after all.
- The "Buffett Rule" requiring millionaires to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.
- Limits on the amount riches can keep in tax-sheltered retirement accounts; call this one the Romney rule.
- Universal pre-K, to be funded by a new tax on cigarettes.
- $40 billion to fix the crumbliest roads, bridges, and rail systems in the US.
House Republicans have already passed their own, more draconian budget proposal and dismissed Obama's plan as a dud. Democrats, meanwhile, are livid that Obama's olive branch to conservatives is the "chained consumer price index," the mechanism that would slow cost-of-living raises in government benefits like Social Security, as well as bump some middle earners into higher tax brackets over time. "During his first run for the White House, in 2008, Mr. Obama said he would not cut Social Security," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote in the New York Times last week. "I hope he remembers that promise and keeps it." D'oh.
*I originally wrote "million" in several places here where I'd meant "billion." The offending denominations have been fixed; apologies for the quite statistically significant error, and thanks to the careful readers who quickly caught it.
[Image via AP]