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On budget day, something for everyone

By Ben Pershing
In the more official (and nerdier) corners of Washington, Budget Day is akin to a secular holiday. But really, there's something in it for everyone, even the non-wonks among us.

The president's annual budget submission presents an orderly but aspirational listing of the administration's priorities, the White House's hopes and dreams handily boiled down into a booklet. President Obama's blueprint for fiscal 2011 includes tax increases that may never happen, and funding for a climate change legislation and other bills with uncertain futures. Yet it still accurately reflects Obama's desire to focus primarily on two topics in the coming year -- jobs and the deficit.

"President Obama will unveil a record $3.8 trillion budget for 2011 on Monday that would boost war spending, trim domestic spending and rely on $1.3 trillion in new borrowing," USA Today writes, adding: "The budget would be the third in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion. The red ink would be cut nearly in half by 2014, mostly by allowing tax cuts on families making more than $250,000 to expire in 2011." The Washington Post says the budget "calls for billions of dollars in new spending to combat persistently high unemployment and bolster a battered middle class. But it also would slash funding for hundreds of programs and raise taxes on banks and the wealthy to help rein in soaring budget deficits." Bloomberg reports "Obama is putting emphasis on boosting the U.S. economy, which hasn't recovered the more than 7 million jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007. Following up the stimulus legislation enacted last year, the president is seeking more spending on infrastructure projects and $33 billion in tax breaks and incentives to encourage small businesses to hire more workers and raise wages."

As for the red ink, The Wall Street Journal writes, "To get the deficit down by the middle of the decade, Mr. Obama will be relying on some cuts that have previously been proposed without success, on cooperation from a wary Congress and on a yet-to-be set up debt commission to suggest politically difficult choices." The Associated Press goes with the headline, "Obama unveils $3.83T budget with massive deficits," noting that "Republicans complained about Obama's proposed tax increases and said the huge projected deficits showed he had failed to get government spending under control. But administration officials argued that Obama inherited a deficit that was already topping $1 trillion when he took office and given the severity of the downturn, the president had to spend billions of dollars stabilizing the financial system and jump-starting growth."

Roll Call notes an internal Democratic split: "Several liberal lawmakers said they think Obama's proposed spending freeze on nonmilitary domestic spending is premature with the economy still on shaky ground and millions still unemployed. But the move, backed up by Obama with a veto threat during the State of the Union address, has won cheers from the Democrats' moderate wing, whose members have been battered back home over the past year and are spooked by Republican Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts special Senate election last month." The Hill adds that "Obama shouldn't expect much support from Republicans, who are criticizing the proposal for not going far enough. 'I'm worried that you'll have just enough policy to allow rhetoric of fiscal responsibility, but the substance won't be about fiscal responsibility,' said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee."

Reuters reports: "Obama will ask the Congress on Monday for an additional $33 billion in the current 2010 fiscal year to fund a troop increase in Afghanistan, the White House said. Obama announced in December he was adding 30,000 more U.S. troops to the Afghan war effort to join the 68,000 already fighting a resurgent Taliban. The $33 billion request would come on top of about $130 billion that Congress has already approved for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars through September 30, 2010." David Rogers notes that the budget "forecasts two consecutive years of near $160 billion in war funding, far more than he hoped when elected and only modestly less than the last years of the Bush Administration. ... The budget's increased war funding is not entirely surprising given Obama's decision to add more U.S. forces in Afghanistan. And his early estimates for 2011 in last year's budget were always suspect and more of a 'plug' than real. Nonetheless, seeing everything in a single budget brings the war costs more into focus. Democrats are increasingly agitated by the pace of withdrawal from Iraq, and the combined costs of the two wars is striking -especially when measured against the much more hopeful rhetoric of Obama's campaign."

Elsewhere on the national security front, the Chicago Tribune writes that the budget "includes $270 million to purchase and upgrade the Thomson Correctional Center in Northwest Illinois, according to the Office of Management and Budget. The Obama administration hopes to incarcerate some of the suspected terrorists housed at the U.S.-military run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, at Thomson." ABC News catches that "the president is proposing $734 million more be spent to support the deployment of up to 1,000 new Advanced Imaging Technology screening machines at airport checkpoints and for new explosive detection equipment for baggage screening."

The budget blueprint will also include some details of Obama's education plans. The New York Times reports: "The Obama administration is proposing a sweeping overhaul of President Bush's signature education law, No Child Left Behind, and will call for broad changes in how schools are judged to be succeeding or failing, as well as for the elimination of the law's 2014 deadline for bringing every American child to academic proficiency." AP adds "The administration said it was proposing the largest funding increase in the history of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a $3 billion increase to $28 billion plus an additional $1 billion if Congress agrees to some major changes in the law. The administration would also provide an additional $1.35 billion for the president's Race to the Top challenge, a federal grant program in which 40 states are competing for $4 billion in education money included in last year's stimulus bill. Obama hailed the results of this effort in his State of the Union speech."

On health care, Politico makes an ominous comparison: "The parallels to 1994 -- the last time health reform died -- are unmistakable. Democratic senators huddled for weeks in backroom meetings, groping for a workable alternative. Some of the attempts at reviving it were genuine, while others were only designed to suggest forward progress, observers recall. After four or five weeks, the effort was abandoned as Democrats geared up for the midterm elections. The same signs are all there for health care, circa 2010. No one in Congress will say it's dead, but smart people can't figure out how it stays alive." Jonathan Cohn is a bit more optimistic: "Democrats have made progress--more progress, certainly, than might be evident from all the dire headlines of the past few days. There seems to be a plan in place for enacting reform, even with the Massachusetts setback. But it's not an easy plan to execute, at least in this political environment. And it's not clear--to me and to many of the people I've interviewed--whether Democrats in the House, Senate, and administration are sufficiently committed to making it work." ABC News reports on a bipartisan effort in the House to pry details from the White House about its reform deals with drug companies and other stakeholder industries.

Fred Barnes writes that "Obama's greatest need is to escape the ideological grip of congressional Democrats and the liberal base of the Democratic party (they're one and the same). But he either doesn't recognize this or, as a conventional liberal himself, isn't so inclined. This self-inflicted difficulty has put Obama in worse political straits than President Clinton faced after the Republican landslide of 1994. Certainly there was nothing in Obama's State of the Union address last week to indicate he understands the fix he's in or has devised a credible way to get out of it." But Robert Kuttner counsels the opposite: "Given the wall-to-wall opposition, he might as well propose medicine strong enough to do the job. And might as well call out the Republicans for their sheer obstruction. On both counts, he'd win some respect for nerve and leadership." Andrew Sullivan compares this moment to the one after Obama lost New Hampshire in 2008, and to health-care's troubles during the town hall meetings of August, saying: "We should know the pattern by now. Barack Obama has a way of seeming to let things drift, even dangerously so. His supporters start to panic; his enemies start to sniff confidence like a junkie out of a brown paper bag. ... And then there's the comeback."

By Ben Pershing  |  February 1, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Next: Obama budget cuts Stupak scholarship

Comments

The only jobs we can expect Obama to "create" by taxing us more and further stealing from our children and grandchildren are "jobs" based on lies, gimmicks and smoke and mirrors, much like the jobs Obama has already "created" with the stimulus money in districts that don't even exist while unemployment soars!

And, worse yet, we can expect to be forced pay for “green” government jobs for ACORN "community organizers" in charge of helping Obama lie, manipulate, intimidate, and coerce us into socialism/Marxism.

Nothing would boost REAL job creation and the economy more than Obama being impeached.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 4, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Our budgets are going to look even worse if President Obama and the Wealthy Off-Shore Bankers pull this Psyop! Re:

Psyop On The Way
I have heard a message from Judge Napolitano and Alex Jones in conference at prisonplanet.com and infowars.com,http://www.judgenap.com/ that because President Barak Obama's presidency is in such trouble and because they are not able to pass enough of his Socialist policies and Bills through the House and Senate, so as to be able to set up America for a New World Order Agenda that a huge Psyop will have to be carried out and there have been many suggestions from the Globalists to have the CIA create a war between US and Iran,probably within the the next year or two likely sooner than later! Therby, getting the American citizens on Obama's side, which will allow him to declare Martial Law on the United States and without force be able to put all the policies Obama and the Elitists need to take over complete control of the United States! They tried this and failed the first time with Ulmar the Underwear Bomber on the air flight from Nigeria to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Detroit! However it really didn’t make much impact with the American people so they have to do something bigger to distract!The Globalists Elites maybe stuck and not able to move their program ahead so they have to use their favorite trick to distract the world, by starting a major war - of which they have done may times throughout history!
When one goes back in history and studies, what the Elitist Monopoly men have always done when they are in trouble and can gain no headway in their endeavor more power and wealth transfer into less hands, has always been to start a major altercation in the form of a war!Do not allow them to pull it off again they are going to try to scare the hell out of humanity and some will be scared, in reality what we need to be scared of is the fact that they could go ahead and start a war and spread trouble throughout the world! Protest it and stop it before they can get their sick humanity damaging plan off the ground!Help to stop it before it gets started!

Posted by: PaulRevere4 | February 3, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Barry is deliberately trying to destroy the USA and we know it. The bigger the crisis, the quicker BIG Government can take over.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | February 1, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

FELLOW AMERICANS OPEN YOUR EYES!!!

OUR COUNTRY AND WAY OF LIFE IS IN PERIL!!!

www.AMERICAWAKEUPNOW.net

Posted by: AMERICAWAKEUP | February 1, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

FELLOW AMERICANS OPEN YOUR EYES!!!

OUR COUNTRY AND WAY OF LIFE IS IN PERIL!!!

www.AMERICAWAKEUPNOW.net

Posted by: AMERICAWAKEUP | February 1, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

FELLOW AMERICANS OPEN YOUR EYES!!!

OUR COUNTRY AND WAY OF LIFE IS IN PERIL!!!

www.AMERICAWAKEUPNOW.net

Posted by: AMERICAWAKEUP | February 1, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The White House must make sure to sell this as Obama making the best out of a bad situation that he inherited. Most of these deficit numbers were forecast long before Obama took office, was elected or even decided to run for president.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 1, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

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