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First Budget Round to Obama

President Obama's budget plan sailed through both houses of Congress yesterday. But it failed to garner a single Republican vote, and Democratic grumblings threaten to make the next steps considerably more challenging.

Lori Montgomery writes in The Washington Post: "Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly embraced President Obama's ambitious and expensive agenda for the nation yesterday, endorsing a $3.5 trillion spending plan that sets the stage for the president to pursue his most far-reaching priorities.

"Voting along party lines, the House and Senate approved budget blueprints that would trim Obama's spending proposals for the fiscal year that begins in October and curtail his plans to cut taxes. The blueprints, however, would permit work to begin on the central goals of Obama's presidency: an expansion of health-care coverage for the uninsured, more money for college loans and a cap-and-trade system to reduce gases that contribute to global warming.

"The measures now move to a conference committee where negotiators must resolve differences between the two chambers, a prelude to the more difficult choices that will be required to implement Obama's initiatives. While Democrats back the president's vision for transforming huge sectors of the economy, they remain fiercely divided over the details."

Carl Hulse writes in the New York Times that the lack of Republican support was "a sign of deep partisan tensions likely to color Congressional efforts to enact major policy initiatives sought by President Obama....

"Democrats said the two budgets, which will have to be reconciled after a two-week Congressional recess, cleared the way for health care, energy and education overhauls pushed by the new president. The Democrats said the budgets reversed what they portrayed as the failed economic approach of the Bush administration and Republican-led Congresses....

"House Republicans, who offered budget alternatives featuring a domestic spending freeze and broad tax cuts, accused Democrats of encouraging runaway spending that would bloat the government, worsen the economy and pile government debt on future generations."

David Rogers writes in Politico that congressional leaders "first shaved back many of the bolder proposals in the president’s budget -- and thereby lessened his momentum going forward."

By Dan Froomkin  |  April 3, 2009; 12:50 PM ET
 
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Comments

"shaved back many of the bolder proposals in the president’s budget -- and thereby lessened his momentum going forward"

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And yet we are still fortunate enough to see trillion dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. Bravo Mr Obama .... bravo!

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | April 3, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

But wait SSP, last year and for the previous eight the cry was "Reagan proved deficits do nto matter" Why the change of heart? I have always thought they mattered, and have not flipflopped lie the republican party has so what is the difference today?

Posted by: m_mcmahon | April 3, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Except that deficit spending is an appropriate response to recessions, as opposed to the economic expansion the nation experienced during the Bush years...when the deficits exploded anyway.

Those Republicans, such economic whizzes! You'd almost think they intended to bankrupt the government. Now they can just blame it on their successors.

Newt's got a point. Here's to the potential for a third party in 2012! Should be amusing.

Posted by: whizbang9a | April 3, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The deficit was Bush's doing and everyone knows that. It's only the shills who keep saying its not. He consistently lied about the deficit it by moving a lot of the spending off the books so to speak with his emergency funding proposals for the Iraq war. And everyone knows Bill Clinton left Bush a sizable surplus which Bush gave to the wealthy in a time of war which was an unprecedented tax cut in a time of war.

Despite all the hand wringing by the so called liberal media, I think the people clearly know where the blame lies and the polls show it.

Posted by: troyd2009 | April 3, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives talking about the economy remind me of the film "Dark City," Alex Proyas' film about a city where every night at midnight an entire city and its residents change completely and the previous day is little but a vague memory, like a day at the beach a long time ago. SSP is exactly like that, as are many "conservative" commentors, whose positions change completely depending upon who proposes the same actions. Bush gives Paulson the go ahead to hand out a trillion or so dollars? Democracy and freedom and ponies for the deservedly wealthy! Obama does it and its Stalin and Hitler making the beast with two backs!
Utter and complete insanity is what keeps the American Right so darned interesting.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | April 3, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"And yet we are still fortunate enough to see trillion dollar deficits for the foreseeable future."

They were there long before Obama, you know. I'm sure a smart guy like you would not have been so easily fooled by the accounting tricks of the previous administration, right? I mean even an idiot could see that not including the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan made the old budget figures meaningless.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | April 3, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, SharpshootingPugilist, all we need to do to reduce the deficit is to take a trillion dollars or so off budget, like the Republicans did for disasters and their wars.

Posted by: dickdata | April 3, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans don't even seem to be functioning as a minority party right now. By simply not engaging in debate and voting en masse against every proposal they are removing themselves from the legislative process altogether. I hope voters consider whether they want a representative who works for them or one who is content to sit on their hands while the country is run by someone else.

Posted by: fletc3her | April 3, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

You can trace a bit of this mess way back to the Nixon Congresses, where a democratic majority decided to listen to the Republican minority and work with them. The ended the Viet Nam ere by inventing the "All Volunteer Army" which kept being reduced in size and belittled by the good republican Military Theorists, who kept demanding more teeth, less tail; by cooperating with the Republican tax cutters who decided that, because only a few rich Republicans paid the tax rates above th3 50 % bracket we ought to do away with those brackets, and by letting those Republicans begin to chip away at the Great Society programs, and the landmark civil rights legislation of the Johnson Administration. By the time those Republican Military Geniuses finished gutting the Army, (guts being more related to tail than to teeth) we had a small, lopsided force more dedicated to itself than to the country at large, which is normal for ANY small, totally professional military force. The tax reductions, especially the simultaneous tax tricks that made it possible to make lots of money on large, short term, capital gains and get to keep almost all of those gains, produced the corporate raider mentality that nearly destroyed several great companies, like federated Department Stores, GE, and especially GM, so that KKR and their ilk could blackmail major corporations into taking suicidal actions to hype their stock values to satisfy rump stock holder groups in it for a fast, heavily leveraged buck.

Now we pay the back due bills from Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Shrub, and those self same Republicans cry "Tax and Spend." They think we ought to just forget their contribution to the whole mess and go on, Republican Business as Usual until the economy permanently freezes over.

When the deficit finally scares us enough, we can REALLY begin to undo N,R,B,&S, by raising marginal tax brackets back to 95%, by instituting a revenue tariff, and by going back to high short term capital gains tax rates, and high excess corporate profits taxes. The screams from the gored Rich Republicans will be deafening, but they will be just screams when those actions make universal health care affordable, and in so doing make U. S. manufacturing viable again.

We have had mot of half a century of Republican wishful thinking destroying economic and social reality.

It is time to go back to living in the real world.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 4, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama Deficit Is Outrageous


Running up deficits and spending did not lead us out of the Great Depression. Obama's huge deficit budget won't get us out of a recession either. We will eventually come out of it and economists will once again prove that government does not create jobs but just moves money around and upsets the speed of an economies recovery.
Even leading democrats are balking at Obama's deficit spending ways. Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi took a shot at Obama’s budget, saying “change is not running up even bigger deficits that George Bush did.” They know that creating programs that can never die, amassing huge debt, devaluing the dollar and increasing the cost of money through debt financing is not good for America in the long run.

Here's hoping that Obama takes that "Team Of Rivals" book off his night stand and soon begins to read up on the Great Depression with some titles written by rea world economists. Maybe then he won't try to triple the Bush Deficits with his planned, 4 year, $5 Trillion dollar gamble using your money..

Posted by: smokedsalmoned | April 5, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

"When the deficit finally scares us enough, we can REALLY begin to undo N,R,B,&S, by raising marginal tax brackets back to 95%, by instituting a revenue tariff, and by going back to high short term capital gains tax rates, and high excess corporate profits taxes. The screams from the gored Rich Republicans will be deafening, but they will be just screams when those actions make universal health care affordable, and in so doing make U. S. manufacturing viable again.

We have had mot of half a century of Republican wishful thinking destroying economic and social reality.

It is time to go back to living in the real world."

Why not make it 100% tax rate and call it what it is: socialism.

In my opinion, this simply doesn't work. You have to reward hard work and risk taking or people simply won't do it (or they'll go do it where it is rewarded). It's human nature. If I'm going to get paid the same regardless of what I do, I'll find the job that allows me to spend the most time possible with my family. So will everyone else.

A further problem with this approach is international competition. Most nations put a 25% tax rate on corporations. We already put a much higher 38% tax rate on them. We have to compete with other nations in attracting new companies. We're already at a serious disadvantage and raising taxes will only make it worse. Do you want every new international corporation to make sure it bases it's headquarters outside of the US?

I don't care if you're republican or democrat, use your common sense. This is a global economy and we have to position ourselves to compete.

Why do you think GM and Ford are losing to Honda and Toyota? Do you think raising their taxes will help? Do you think forcing them to fire their CEO's will help? Do you think nationalizing them and letting the government run the corporations will help?

Furthermore, I don't care if you're republican or democrat, black or white, young or old... a 3+ trillion dollar budget plan is beyond outrageous.

Posted by: DrFrost | April 8, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"Newt's got a point. Here's to the potential for a third party in 2012! Should be amusing."

I would love a third party. The left thinks the right is crazy. The right thinks the left is crazy. And both of them are far more dedicated to playing the blame game and destroying the other side than they are to fixing the actual problems. We need a third party.

Obama will leave his position (after 4 or 8 years... it doesn't matter) with a much larger deficit and a much bigger government and we'll lose even more civil liberties (you thought that was only a Republican problem didn't you?). IMO that's a failure.

Turns out the democrats and republicans really aren't that far apart (barring a few social issues that each side seems to hold to fanatically). If you doubt that statement, I suggest you look at the political compass website (google it for a link).

Another very interesting link I suggest reading is http://dariusthemede.tripod.com/glubb/.

Posted by: DrFrost | April 8, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

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