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Budget Watch

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."

By Dan Froomkin  |  March 4, 2009; 12:21 PM ET
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The degree to which Republicans have convinced themselves that all taxes are bad is startling. Almost as startling is their deficit/debt hypocrisy. They cheered as Bush spent like a drunken sailor in relatively good times - when the debt should have been paid down - and now they're outraged about running deficits during bad times - the time when we're actually SUPPOSED to. It's as if the last 8 years never happened, and it's one of many reasons why the GOP is in the wilderness looking for shelter.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | March 4, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The feckless, rank hypocrisy of the Republicans (and too many Democrats) is beyond belief.
"Class warfare" is indeed the battle cry of the privileged and powerful against the rest of us... and they've been winning for 30 years. Naturally they are not going to go down without a fight--and they have too many politicians in their pockets.
I suspect many of the richest voted for Obama suspecting his agenda really wouldn't get too far.
Too bad for them.

Posted by: dbitt | March 4, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Why the GOP hysteria about a budget message which is just that--a budget message?

Because, unless I am quite mistaken, the rules of the Senate do not require 60 votes to close debate on appropriations bills.

Needing only a simple majority in both houses of Congress to get a budget passed, Obama is giving the GOP its due--ignoring it, and challenging self-satisfied, entrenched, so-called moderate Democrats to get on the bus or be left behind, quite possibly to face real challenges in the 2010 primary elections for the first time in many, many years.

Posted by: bfieldk | March 4, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

This country needs more than a course correction, we need a hard-about from the policies of the last 30 years. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton who had the best opportunity to make the structural changes to our economic system to bring about widespread and lasting prosperity during a time of growth, was too caught up by his libido. Now we are faced with fixing multiple issues; entitlement, health care, the environment, education, and the tax code during a major economic dive. Of course there will be resistance, but if we are serious about remaining the leader of the world, then these issues must not be put off any longer. Either we come out the other side a greater nation or we face the inevitable decline that doing nothing has placed us on course for.

Posted by: sapphiretini | March 4, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

BigTunaTim, they aren't in the wilderness looking for shelter. Truth is they have yet to realize where they are - or that they even need shelter.

Posted by: sherirogers | March 4, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

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