Two months late and in violation of federal law the Obama administration released its long awaited budget. Not surprisingly the release drew strong rebuke from Republicans who described it as a “reheated” plan that simply reiterates past proposed tax hikes as claimed deficit reduction yet never ever achieve balance.

“I have already met Republicans more than halfway,” Obama said in the Rose Garden Wednesday.

While Republican leaders praised the president for proposing changes to control the growth of Social Security, they widely agreed that suggesting additional taxes in a budget far out of balance was a waste of time.

“We don’t need an extreme unbalanced budget that won’t balance in your lifetime or mine,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor Wednesday.

The claim of deficit reduction is laughable in a budget that increases deficit spending to the tune of $5.3 trillion over 10 years.

Speaker of the House John Boehner said that the Democrats were holding “modest” changes to entitlements “hostage” to additional tax increases.

While the president’s budget claims to lower the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years, the annual deficit spending never drops below $400 billion. While that might seem like an improvement over the $1 trillion plus deficits common during Obama’s first four years in office, the continued deficit spending doesn’t address the national debt crisis in anything but a cursory manner.

The president’s budget nearly doubles the federal tax on cigarettes to $1.95 per pack in order to fund a new pre-school program for 4-year-olds; a tax that falls predominantly on the lower income brackets, a group the president promised he would not increase taxes on.

Obama Budget

Obama called his plan “a fiscally responsible blueprint for middle class jobs and growth. If you’re serious about deficit reduction, then there’s no excuse to keep these loopholes open,” President Obama said in his remarks in the Rose Garden.

Knowing that any additional tax increases after the Republicans relented at the end of 2012 is a non-started, Obama’s proposals manages to do nothing to move the ball forward.

Obama’s plan includes an additional $50 billion in spending to fund infrastructure investments, including $40 billion in a “Fix It First” effort to provide immediate money to repair highways, bridges, transit systems and airports nationwide.

The president’s budget also provides $1 billion to launch a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country, and it earmarks funding to support high-speed rail projects.

The administration said its proposals to increase spending do not increase the deficit as they are paid for either by increasing taxes or making other cuts such as a reduction in defense spending by an additional $100 billion and domestic programs by an extra $100 billion over the next decade.

Washington is excellent at spending money, but when it comes to actually implementing cuts the record is a solid “F.”

The budget proposes cutting $400 billion from Medicare and other health care programs over a decade by negotiating better prescription drug prices and asking wealthy seniors to pay more.

A $200 billion savings is achieved by reducing farm subsidies and trimming federal retiree programs.

The only part of Mr. Obama’s budget that is getting support from Republicans is a change to the way the government calculates the annual cost-of-living adjustments for the millions of recipients of Social Security and other benefits. The new method, known as chain CPI, provides a more accurate method of adjusting for inflation and has been proposed by Republicans for decades.

The president raises an additional $580 billion by eliminating certain deductions for the top 2 percent of family incomes and revisits the “Buffett Rule” that requires households with incomes of more than $1 million pay at minimum of 30 percent of their income in taxes.

Obama will host a private dinner at the White House with GOP senators Wednesday night where the budget will be the main course.

Republicans have made it clear that they will not consider additional taxes after the $660 billion increase on top earners that was part of the late December agreement to prevent the government from going over the “fiscal cliff.”

Bridging the gap between the budget proposals seems unlikely. Obama’s budget replaces the sequester cuts while the budget plan already passed by the GOP-controlled House cuts deficits by $4.6 trillion over 10 years on top of the $1.2 trillion sequester cuts.

Once again the Obama administration has proposed a budget that is much more smoke, mirrors and symbolism than substance. Knowing additional taxes cannot get through the House the president is simply playing for a campaign message for the 2014 mid-term elections. The reductions to entitlement programs, that cannot get Democratic support, were only intended to show his willingness to compromise paired with tax increases that seal the budget’s fate.


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