Now that President Obama’s budget has been out in the world for a few hours, it’s time to take a look at what other wonks have to say about it.
Here’s a round-up from across the Web:
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Jared Bernstein responds to Post reporter Lori Montgomery’s reasons why the Obama budget doesn’t matter. In her post, Montgomery explained that the December budget agreement reached by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) took care of the most pressing issue facing Congress — how much money it has to spend, rendering Obama’s budget largely irrelevant.
Still, you’ve really got to view these documents as aspirational and as such, representative answers to the most existential questions of our current politics: what is the role of government, how large should that role be, how should it be financed, what is the balance between austerity and investment in public goods, in what ways is the market failing to meet the needs of broad swaths of the population and which are the best policies to meet those market failures?
You don’t follow this news today to see what’s going to become law in the near term. You do so to learn the terms of debate, in this case from the administration, a debate that will be ongoing for many months to come. This year, those terms promise to be particularly germane because the President’s budget will build on the ideas he put forth in the State of the Union address, around inequality and opportunity.
Over on Reuters’ Counterparties blog, Shane Ferro touches on the same points:
What’s not up for debate in this budget proposal is how much the government will spend: back in December, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hashed out a deal, agreeing to spend roughly $1.1 trillion through September 2015.
The budget will, however, have spending projections that go out 10 years, which do often end up being quite a bit different from the money that actually gets spent.
The notion of a ‘dead-on-arrival’ budget is popular. The Heritage Foundation‘s Stephen Moore says:
Barack Obama keeps saying that there isn’t a government program for every problem, but his new near-$4 trillion 2015 budget suggests just the opposite. There is more federal money here for everything from changing the planet’s temperature to green energy to transit systems to nowhere to expanded welfare state programs to federal day care [...]
It’s a budget that should be dead on arrival and if by chance it still has a heartbeat, sign it up for Obamacare. That will surely be its deserved death sentence.
The New York Times’ Annie Lowrey takes a less pessimistic view, but she points out a potential flaw in the budget’s assumption:
On Tuesday, the Obama administration released an interesting if dead-on-arrival 2015 budget. The big message is that the White House wants to bolster support for the poor and middle class, paying for such measures with increased taxes on high-income households.
[...]It is worth noting that perhaps the single most important factor when it comes to deficits is largely out of the White House’s hands: economic growth. Mr. Obama’s budget assumes that there will be no recession for the next decade – indeed, he sees a moderate but strengthening recovery. History suggests those might be the most unrealistic numbers in the document.