President Obama presented his final budget request to Congress this Tuesday: a $4.1 trillion proposal for 2017 that represents his pipe dream for climate change as well as his goals for bolstering technology and education while setting the stage for his successor. Let’s not forget that Obama has shattered records for taking America’s deficit to the highest level yet (even when compared to Bush).
The budget proposes $196 billion in increased spending and assumes that revenue will increase by $308 billion. Obama also hopes to raise $2.6 trillion over the next 10 years through tax code changes including restructuring levies on international business income and revoking some benefits for the rich.
As I wrote on Tuesday, the budget includes a whopping $10.25 tax on every barrel of oil coming into the United States. This robbery will pay for clean technology research and public transportation infrastructure. Obama also claims that his budget would provide $1.3 billion “to advance the goals of the Global Climate Change Initiative.”
The White House knows that the GOP-controlled Congress won’t let much of the budget pass. Both the Senate and House announced before the release of the 182-page document that they would not be granting the White House budget director the traditional hearing to explain the president’s wishes and priorities.
“This is such a campaign document that the Republicans will almost certainly reject it out of hand because it came from Obama,” predicts budget analyst Stan Collender. As with most of his initiatives during his last year in office, this ridiculous proposal is part of Obama’s attempt to create his legacy and influence the 2016 presidential campaign.
“The president isn’t going to shy away from proposing solutions that are both good for our economy and address major challenges we face,” argues White House budget director Shaun Donovan. Some proposals “may not be enacted this year, but lay the groundwork for solutions in the long run.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republican lawmakers criticized the plan as too expensive. “It’s the biggest and worst one yet,” complained House Republican whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
“President Obama will leave office having never proposed a budget that balances – ever,” says Paul Ryan. “This isn’t even a budget so much as it is a progressive manual for growing the federal government at the expense of hardworking Americans.”
Obama also wants:
• $755 million for cancer research
• $6 billion to help poor teens get jobs
• $4 billion to develop driverless cars
• $4 billion to establish computer coding classes for kids
• $1.1 billion to fight opiate-abuse
• $3.4 billion to bolster Europe’s defenses against Russia
To fund these demands, Obama hopes to increase taxes by $2.6 trillion over the next ten years. In addition to the tax on oil, he is planning to draw an additional $36 billion from corporate taxes and an extra $56 billion from wealthy Americans.
To be specific, Obama wants to expand a 3.8% tax on the net investment income of high-earning individuals, to reach the active income of S-corporation partners, shareholders, and LLC members and income from sales of business property. Last year’s proposal to “fix” our international tax system has been renewed. The administration more than doubled its projection of how much these tax changes would raise – up to $484 billion over the next decade.
Ten years from now, Obama’s budget would have added $6.1 trillion in deficits to a country already drowning in debt. To give you an idea, the national deficit is currently hovering around $616 billion. The national debt recently topped $18 trillion.
The budget, which would begin on October 1st, relies on optimistic assumptions including a decreasing unemployment rate and a growing economy. This budget is more of a wish list penned by an outgoing president than anything else. “They figure out how to make savings in areas that Congress is not going to agree to and then they talk about programs that are never going to happen,” explains Scott Lilly of the Center for American Progress.