President Obama's budget was released last week, and there are a few big takeaways.
1. While there may be no greater potential threat than a women scorned, beware the wraith of an ex-smoker:
Really Mr. President, can't you cut the little guy some slack? Do we really need a 94 cent a pack tax on cigarettes? Couldn't you instead have gone a little retro-70's and proposed legalizing pot to actually create some jobs and boost tax revenues while cutting government spending?
2. Social Security is not going to survive the next ten years without major changes:
The Obama budget proposing changed indexing for Social Security COLA calculations would have drawn outrage from the Democratic side of Congress when Paul Ryan proposed it two years ago. Can't say I would have believed President Obama would propose the same thing in his budget ... but he did.
3. Medicare is in far worse financial shape than America was told during the Presidential election cycle:
The president's budget cuts for Medicare, combined with $700 billion in expense cuts from the Affordable Health Care Act, pull well over a trillion out of program in next decade.
4. The middle class and even the least affluent are going to be called upon to help close the budget deficit.
From higher taxes to reduced benefits, the President’s budget cuts across all economic sectors.
5. Maybe term limits do make sense:
What the president has proposed in his budget would never have been plausible if there remained one more election to run. President Obama's legacy could largely be determined on how he progresses over the next four years on dealing with the deficit. While his current budget pleases neither side, it puts many third-rail issues front and center.
What did I learn from the president's budget? The time may have come when leadership from the White House could begin to bridge the ideological divide between the left and the right.