Budget Watch

By Dan Froomkin
12:21 PM ET, 03/ 4/2009

President Obama's budget proposal presents a challenge not only to Republicans, but to Democrats who are more comfortable with the status quo than he is. (See my post from Monday, Obama vs. the Washington Establishment.)

Watch the carping begin!

Lori Montgomery writes in The Washington Post that "some Democrats are worried about the impact of a cap-and-trade system and are urging that the money raised through permit auctions be returned to consumers.

"Some Democrats also joined Republicans in complaining about another tax provision: a proposal to reduce the value of itemized deductions for charitable contributions and other items for high-earning families. Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) called the proposal 'a nonstarter.'"

Manu Raju writes for Politico: "Moderate and conservative Democrats in the Senate are starting to choke over the massive spending and tax increases in President Barack Obama’s budget plans and have begun plotting to increase their influence over the agenda of a president who is turning out to be much more liberal than they are."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik addresses the Republican cries of class warfare: "[T]he true class war of recent American history is the one that has pitted the upper 1% of income earners against almost everybody else. Over the last three decades, a period that spans Republican and Democratic administrations alike, average family income has scarcely budged an inch, while the wealthy have grown measurably wealthier....

"Obama's proposed budget, by reversing the transfer of wealth from lower- and middle-income Americans to the wealthy imposed by the Bush tax cuts and by the economic mantras of a generation, won't in itself restore a sustainable balance to the economy, but it will start the process.

"Better-paid workers will be better able to consume goods and services without going into debt, and the frenetic search for profits in financial engineering, rather than in productivity and innovation, will fade. And we'll know whether the talk of 'class warfare' echoing so widely today represents the roar of a permanent overclass, or the death rattle of the old guard."

© 2009 The Washington Post Company