The NY Times with a preview of the budget:
President Obama’s budget proposal for 2010 projects a stunning deficit of $1.75 trillion for the current fiscal year, which began five months ago, reflecting a shortfall of more than $1 trillion as the fiscal year began, plus the costs of bank bailouts, the first wave of spending from the newly enacted stimulus plan and the continuing costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The administration, as it had announced, will try to cut that amount sharply by 2013, when Mr. Obama’s first term ends, to $533 billion, even as it escalates spending on crucial priorities.
“There are times when you can afford to redecorate your house,” Mr. Obama said on Thursday morning, “and there are times when you have to focus on rebuilding its foundation.”
His administration will attempt to close the large fiscal gap even while starting a major health-care initiative meant to substantially extend coverage; to do so, it foresees increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and using revenues from a new program: selling carbon credits to manufacturers as part of a cap-and-trade plan meant to slow climate change.
I remember when a 1.75 trillion dollar budget was massive, let alone a 1.75 trillion dollar deficit (and yes, I am fully aware this number is bigger than it would be under older budget rules). Oddly enough, I think the bitterest fight in this budget will not be over health care, but cap and trade (even though the two are connected, as one is allegedly paying for the other). I just sense the public has shifted on health care, and the old forces that aligned to fight it back in the Clinton years are exhausted and spent, while the public mood (in part because no one has job security anymore, and in part because the cost of health care keeps jacking up) has changed.
And while we are talking about spending, what is up with this:
The House on Wednesday passed a $410 billion omnibus spending bill packed with pet projects requested by Democrats and Republicans alike.
The 245-to-178 vote came just a week after President Obama signed one of the largest spending bills in the nation’s history, a $787 billion measure meant to rejuvenate a sluggish economy.
The new bill, a reflection of Democratic priorities, increases spending on domestic programs by an average of 8 percent in the current fiscal year, which began in October.
I don’t really need to point out how tone deaf it would be to trumpet the stimulus bill as earmark free then turn around and pass a spending bill filled to the brim with earmarks, do I (and in the comments, someone has suggested that 40% of the earmarks are from Republicans)? The PR war on this has already begun, and I am betting the Dems will lose this PR battle. Obama and Rahm better get this under control, and quickly.