The debate over the federal budget and deficit spending continued this week as each chamber passed their respective budgets. What was missing from the debate was a budget proposal from President Obama. That changed on Wednesday when the president’s budget was released.
The president promises that this is a compromise budget and takes a balanced approach to addressing the deficit and growing the economy. As always, the devil is in the details and the details on the president’s proposal have everyone up in arms, making it a compromise no one wants.
The plan includes $661 billion in new taxes by taxing the rich to the tune of $583 billion and smokers $78 billion in new cigarette taxes. The poor will face $452 million in cuts to their heating assistance program. The budget includes $222 million in new gun control spending. There are $230 billion in savings through adjusting the formula for cost of living increases for Social Security and other federal benefits. Seniors also take a hit, with wealthy seniors being targeted for paying more of their Medicare premiums to raise $50 billion; all seniors will be charged an extra $3 billion in premiums for Medigap insurance which helps to cover co-pays.
The presidents hope to achieve compromise rest on his decision to implement measures that appeal both to his base and to Republicans, particularly in the House. This balancing act is shown though the cuts to the growth of Social Security and the tax increases for the wealthy. While these do represent issues that appeal to the intended parties, they also represent lines in the sand from those same groups.
This attempt at compromise has actually pitted the president against everyone. House Speaker Boehner has already rejected the plan because of the new revenues being generated and has his liberal base is vowing to fight him over his cuts to entitlement programs.
True compromise is when both sides are willing to give a little to accomplish the greater good. No one is willing to budge in our current political climate, making this attempt at compromise a failed endeavor from the get-go.