Monday, February 13, 2012

Reason #131: Rose-Colored Glasses

As essentially everyone is pointing out, the budget plan the Obama administration released today is not really a budget plan. In reality, it's been over one thousand days since Congress has been able to pass a budget (read: since Obama took over), and while this is not the ideal way to run a government, things are still functioning (by federal government standards) piece by piece.

Nothing Obama was going to put out there would have a dream of passing - even if it wasn't an election year. So because this is an election year, rather than trying to meet the GOP halfway on a bunch of issues and therefore allowing them to lurch even further to the right, he's released what is essentially his re-election platform.

This budget, as NPR put it this morning, is "a broad statement of governing philosophy" - it's Obama saying to his voting public "this is what I'd like to do if I had my way. Do you want this, or the opposite of this?"

Included in the "this" of which I speak:

- $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue from the wealthy (the Buffett Rule) and the closing of corporate tax loopholes.

- a 39.6% tax on dividend income, up from 20%, and a 20% tax on capital gains income (the kind someone like Mitt Romney lives off of), up from 15%. Treating them like any other income, in other words.

- an overall lowering of the Defense and Homeland Security budgets (among others) and an overall increase in the Education and Interior budgets (among others).

- and speaking of Defense - Iraq? Done. Afghanistan? Done.

Best-case scenario, the Democrats do great in November and maybe some of these things can become reality next year (indeed, Harry Reid has admitted that they're not even going to try and get a vote on the budget this year). But in the meantime, it's wallpaper. All we can do is hold it in the back of our minds as the campaign grinds on, and think - do we want that, or the opposite of that?

(Side Note: for the next three weeks, I am conducting a survey of visitors to this blog. Whether you're a regular reader or this is your first time, I'd love to hear from you - just follow this link. This notice will accompany every post this month, with Saturday, March 3rd being the final day to participate. Thanks for reading!)

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