Jeff Zients, who serves as Presidebt Obama’s budget director, apparently doesn’t know how much debt is in the budget the White House just sent to Congress.
During an appearance before the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) asked Zients about the $7.1 trillion in increased debt in President Obama’s budget proposal ($5.7 of that is new public debt, excluding governmental transfers). Zients tried to shift the narrative, but Sessions pressed him on the numbers. Zients replied, “I don’t…I need to check the numbers.”
“You don’t know your numbers?” retorted Sessions, to which Zients responded, “There are a lot of numbers there.”
Sessions’ office notes that the national debt will climb to $25.3 trillion over the next 10 years — $19 trillion (or 73% of gross domestic product) of that is debt held by the public. In other words, the You can see those numbers below (click to enlarge into a PDF):
The new narrative being pushed by the media is that President Barack Obama’s new budget is an olive branch of sorts to congressional Republicans. Politico ran with the headline, “President Obama’s risky ‘goodwill’ gambit,” which highlighted some of the proposed changes to Social Security.
The Associated Press noted the frustration from some on the Left in its piece, “Liberals balk at Obama’s 2nd term overtures to GOP,” which also focused on the proposed cuts to entitlement programs.
While it’s true that the only real measure of good news from the the White House’s budget is the changes to Social Security, there is absolutely nothing here in terms of compromise or reform. The White House has made that much clear by telling Politico — in a separate article from the one mentioned above, of course — that Republicans can take the Social Security changes in exchange for more $1 trillion in tax hikes or leave it:
And Gene Sperling, the director Obama’s National Economic Council, on Wednesday afternoon emphasized that the proposal is ”not an à la carte menu” for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and congressional Republicans to choose what they like and discard the rest.
“You can’t decide to only pick out the concessions the president has made and not include the concessions from the Republican side that need to be part of a bipartisan deal that can pass both houses,” Sperling said.
After a two-month delay and missing a legally-required deadline, President Barack Obama finally unveiled his budget for FY 2014. The spending plan is, unfortunately, just more of the same from this president:
President Obama’s 2014 budget calls for a trillion dollars in new taxes, almost twice as much as previously thought, The Washington Examiner has learned.
“Of the more than $1 trillion in new taxes, about $800 billion is raised through the individual income tax system, about $125 billion comes from new excise taxes — including new taxes on tobacco and financial companies,” a source familiar with the president’s budget explained. “The remainder comes from reverting back to the 2009 estate tax parameters and other miscellaneous tax increases.”
Despite the talk of deficit reduction, President Obama’s budget doesn’t substantially reduce spending and will never balance. The only constant in is the same, old class warfare rhetoric.
Written by John Kartch and Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform. Posted with permission from Americans for Tax Reform.
White House spokesman Jay Carney “not disputing” Obama budget would “raise taxes on middle class Americans.”
During a Friday, April 5 White House press briefing, spokesman Jay Carney replied “I’m not disputing that” when asked if a particular Obama budget proposal would raise income taxes on the middle class.
The proposal in question is known as “Chained CPI.” The term is a Beltway euphemism for measuring inflation at a different, slower pace. Many tax and budget items are indexed to inflation, so slowing inflation’s measured rate of growth has both spending cut and tax increase implications.
On the tax side, all income tax brackets are subject to inflation. Slowing down the inflation rate slows down the annual rate of growth in all income tax brackets.
This means the Obama budget contains a tax increase on 100 percent of middle class taxpayers—anyone who pays the federal income tax.
Many other tax provisions—the standard deduction, the personal exemption, PEP and Pease, IRA and 401(k) contribution limits, and many others—are also tied to how CPI is measured.
Chained CPI as a stand-alone measure (that is, not paired with tax relief of equal or greater size) is a tax increase and a Taxpayer Protection Pledge violation. Various reports peg the tax increase amount as exceeding $100 billion over the next decade.
The White House has finally rolled out its budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. While there has been a lot about the proposed cuts to entitlement programs, President Obama’s budget unsurprisingly pushes tax hikes, including proposed changes to retirement accounts, as Politico noted last week:
The budget will also show how we can provide targeted tax relief to strengthen the economy, help middle class families and small businesses and pay for it by eliminating tax loopholes and make the tax system more fair. The budget will include a new proposal that prohibits individuals from accumulating over $3 million in IRAs and other tax-preferred retirement accounts. Under current rules, some wealthy individuals are able to accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving. The budget would limit an individual’s total balance across tax-preferred accounts to an amount sufficient to finance an annuity of not more than $205,000 per year in retirement, or about $3 million in 2013. This proposal would raise $9 billion over 10 years.
With Social Security anything but guaranteed given its unfunded liabilities, many Americans are relying on their private retirement accounts to help get them through their golden years. This is, after all, part of the American Dream. But it apparently doesn’t fit the America that President Obama has been trying so hard to re-create since taking office in 2009.
Despite all the talk about draconian spending cuts due to the sequester, President Barack Obama has, as part of his FY 2014 budget, asked Congress for $100 million to map the human brain, which is trying to sell as a job creation initiative:
President Obama today proposed $100 million in spending to map the human brain in hopes of unlocking “this enormous mystery” and curing diseases and traumatic injuries.
“As humans, we can identify galaxies light years away, we can studies particles smaller than an atom, but we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the 3 pounds of matter that sits between our ears,” the president said as he announced the new BRAIN Initiative in the East Room of the White House.
The president said the program, which he first proposed in his State of the Union address, could create jobs and potentially lead to cures for diseases such Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or autism.
“We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races ahead,” Obama warned. “We have to seize them. I don’t want the next job-creating discoveries to happen in China or India or Germany. I want them to happen right here, in the United States of America. And that’s part of what this BRAIN initiative’s about.”
Let’s make this clear right now — while researching diseases like those President Obama named is laudable, the United States is flat broke and taxpayers cannot continue to afford paying for it. We just don’t have the money. Also, there is another aspect of continuing to poor federal dollars in scientific research.
While they face tough odds to take control of the Senate next year, Republicans will no doubt set their sights on Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and she’s giving them plenty of ammunition to use in what could be an expensive, heated campaign.
In an interview with Politico, Landrieu stood behind her record and even suggested that she could support President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals, which will come before the Senate next month:
The Louisianian confidently voted last week for the Democratic budget with its $1 trillion in tax hikes. She was one of only 20 Democrats who favored keeping the medical device tax, an element of Obamacare that some Democrats have worked to abolish. Along with other Democrats, she backed a handful of amendments opposed by senators from conservative states restricting health care for immigrants and politically charged language to curb a cellphone assistance program.
“I do not scare easily,” Landrieu told POLITICO. “I think it’s in my DNA. I come from a family that feels very passionately and very strongly about public service and about trying to always find a balance and keep our eyes focused on representing the people and not getting too caught up in the politics of the day.”
House Republicans are claiming a victory on spending over President Barack Obama. According to a memo sent to his caucus, Speaker John Boehner said that their “new tactical plan” was a success:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hailed his conference’s success against President Obama in a memo issued to Republicans on Thursday.
Boehner said the House GOP’s “new tactical plan” to fight Obama and Democrats on spending had largely succeeded, and sought input from his rank-and-file on where to go from here.
“Republicans may be the minority party in Washington — but because we forged a plan together and have stuck to it, our actions as a team over the past couple of months have made a difference for all Americans,” Boehner wrote.
The Speaker highlighted as a success legislation that would have withheld pay from the House and Senate if either chamber did not produce a budget. He also complimented House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) “make life work” initiative, which is meant to showcase GOP ideas that will help working families.
“From #NoBudgetNoPay to Leader Cantor’s #MakingLifeWork initiative to last week’s passage of our Path to Prosperity budget, we’ve used our limited power in Washington to maximum effect, and shown the Democratic majority what leadership looks like,” Boehner wrote.
We’ve heard it before — Republicans have an image problem. There aren’t many who deny this, after a brutal election last year, and continued messaging problems this year. But with the fight over the FY 2014 budget still far from over and an important mid-term election next year, Republicans clearly have their work cut out for them.
And the problem Republicans have isn’t because of their ideas on fiscal matters. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Early last week, The Hill released a poll showing that voters actually responded well to the Republican budget message…as long as they didn’t know that it came from Republicans:
Respondents in The Hill Poll were asked to choose which of two approaches they would prefer on the budget, but the question’s phrasing included no cues as to which party advocated for which option.
Presented in that way, 55 percent of likely voters opted for a plan that would slash $5 trillion in government spending, provide for no additional tax revenue and balance the budget within 10 years — in essence, the path recommended by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week.
Only 28 percent of voters preferred this option, which reflects the proposal put forth by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week.
An even stronger majority of respondents, 65 percent, said U.S. budget deficits should be reduced mostly by cutting spending rather than by raising taxes. Just 24 percent said the budget should be balanced mostly by increasing revenue.
This was an eventual week in Washington as both chambers each passed their own budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. This shouldn’t be a big deal. The House has done its duty, passing budgets in 2011 and 2012. However, the Senate had not, until yesterday morning, passed a budget since April 29, 2009. And they budget they did finally pass never balances is loaded with $1 trillion in tax hikes.
In the weekly Republican address, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) explains why the Senate’s budget falls short on priorities and defies logic and he also slammed President Barack Obama for not submitting his budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
“This week, the United States Senate finally took up its annual budget,” noted Lee. “This shoudn’t be news, but Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in four years. The President has again failed to follow the law requiring him to submit his budget by the first Monday in February.”
Lee added, “In what clearly falls into the category of ‘a day late and a dollar short,’ he announced that he wouldn’t submit his budget until the second week of April.”
“To Republicans, the budget isn’t just about dollars; it’s about sense: common sense,” said Lee. “A budget is the only way to end the non-sense of Washington’s out of control spending. Reckless government spending has laid nearly $17 trillion of debt onto the backs of hardworking Americans.”