Today, Paul Ryan presented the White House with his 2014 budget proposal, which means that someone in Congress has managed to produce something of moderate value fairly recently, though whether the official document contains value is, of course, up to the subjective impression of the reader. While claiming to reduce spending, the budget seems to do little more than slightly curb spending growth, and relies on a repeal of Obamacare and specific Medicare spending cuts in order to achieve a balanced budget, as well as a suggestion that Congress completely overhaul of the tax code beginning in 2014.
It’s pretty good. Not great. But pretty good. And it’s nowhere near being subject to the hyperbolic claims of austerity measures that are being leveled against it. Probably because austerity involves an entirely different tax schematic that significantly raises taxes, even for a short period of time. But whatever. Facts. And smarter people than I handle the big economic stuff. I went to law school so I wouldn’t have to do math.
At any rate, the White House has obviously responded, first by characterizing Paul Ryan as a mean old meanie who wants poor people to starve and die in the streets so that he can stack them and use them as his own personal sidewalk, and then by trumpeting their own 2014 budget, which was authored by the very breath of the savior of mankind and his cadre of economic geniuses carefully selected from throughout history.
While the House Republican budget aims to reduce the deficit, the math just doesn’t add up. Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class…
That’s why the President has put forward a balanced approach to deficit reduction with no sacred cows. It includes more Medicare savings over the next decade than the House Republican budget, but it does so by cracking down on waste and fraud, not by asking middle class seniors to bear the burden. It closes tax loopholes for the wealthiest and biggest corporations so we can still afford to create jobs by investing in education, manufacturing, infrastructure, and small businesses. The President’s plan puts our nation on a fiscally sustainable path and grows our economy from the middle class out.
It is also invisible.
Because, as it turns out, the White House has not released a 2014 budget (note the use of the words “plan” and “approach”). The last budget it released was for 2013, and that was kind of a stinker in the sense that no one actually voted for it – not even Democrats. Probably because it also happened to be a carbon copy of previous budgets that were released and that no one voted for. Because – and this is key – despite what the White House think is in there, it’s pretty much just a mess.
The White House’s 2014 budget, which was due to Congress weeks ago, will be characteristically late (though “characteristic” only for this Presidential administration), because of the budget deals and the sequester and the fiscal cliff and the fact that Barack Obama cannot author this budget plan in his own blood and tears all at once and the unwillingness of the White House unicorn to fart it out before St. Patrick’s day. Or something. By the time the President actually sends Congress his ideas for the country’s financial management, if at all, both the House and Senate will have acted on their own budget proposals – primarily because the recent “No Budget, No Pay Act” makes it impossible for Congress to cut themselves a paycheck before agreeing on how to spend your money – making the President’s ideas almost completely irrelevant to the discourse.
Not that there’s anything new about this, but you can jot down at least one notable incident in your diary: Congress is springing into action, despite the President’s assumption that they would not be motivated to do any real work until they’d fully recovered from not working for the first two months of the year. Turns out, when you tell Congress they won’t get paid, they listen. We should try this more often. Not least because it seems to mess with the President’s typically stellar PR constructions.
[via Red Alert Politics]