Every single U.S. senator is expected later today to have to vote on whether the federal budget should be balanced, senior Senate aides tell me. The vote will be for support of an amendment to the Democratic budget, which is currently not balanced, and which will be debated on the Senate floor today, calling for it to be balanced.
Robert Samuelson's fine column in the Washington Post, “America the retirement home,” argues that “The budget debate’s central reality is that federal retirement programs, led by Social Security and Medicare, are crowding out most other government spending,” and that this is endangering the other important functions of government, including defense:
There are times when the absence of really, really bad news passes for good news. This is such a time here in America, at least for those who worry that our fiscal deficits of over about $1,000,000,000,000 per year will soon have historians referring to the glory that was Washington.
The Democratic budget, released yesterday by Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray, passed out of committee this evening on a party line vote, 12-10. In response, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions, released this blistering statement:
At the New Republic, Jonathan Cohn writes,“Paul Ryan has released his new budget proposal, ‘The Path to Prosperity.’ It looks almost exactly like his old budget proposal.” Cohn continues, “That tells us a lot about Ryan’s priorities — and how l
The Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee claims the budget released today by Senate Democrats will raise taxes by $1.5 trillion. Before being released today, it had been reported that the Democrats' budget would raise taxes by $1 trillion, but number appears to have been far enough.
The minority side of the Senate Budget Committee releases this chart to back up its claim:
Barack Obama is fond of saying that “the majority of Americans” agree with him on his “balanced approach” to deficit reduction—which these days seems to mean increasing tax revenues through rate hikes and big defense spending cuts with relatively insignificant cuts elsewhere. At the beginning of his second term, the president appeared to be moving forward with an agenda that assumed the previous election settled the question of which party Americans liked more on taxes and spending.
White House spokesman Jay Carney roasted reporter Mara Liasson who asked whether entitlement reforms would be in the president's budget:
"Mara," said Carney to NPR reporter Mara Liasson, "the way you phrase that question makes me think that you're still working on a typewriter or something. It's available online. The proposal is there."
Carney then would not confirm that entitlement reforms will actually be in the president's forthcoming budget proposal.
"The president has always believed that deficit reduction is not a goal unto itself," said Carney. "The whole purpose of deficit reduction should be part of an overall policy objective of strengthening the economy, having it grow faster, have it create more and better jobs for the middle class. And that's the president's objective."
Carney then indicated the president's budget will not be balanced.
When it comes to deficit reduction, President Obama and the mainstream press seem to have a fascination with the figure of $4 trillion. During last year’s first presidential debate, Obama falsely claimed, “I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan,” even though he’d done nothing of the sort.
President Obama has grown fond of saying that he’s “not a dictator,” “not a king,” and “not the emperor,” but is instead “the president.” Whether his tendency to clarify a seemingly obvious point reveals his inner desires or not, his actions in a variety of ways suggest that he doesn’t think the president shares his fellow citizens’ ongoing obligation to obey the law. To the contrary, he seems to view the president as being somewhat above the law.