President Obama’s Budget Speech

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    Here is the White House Fact Sheet, “THE PRESIDENT’S FRAMEWORK FOR SHARED PROSPERITY AND SHARED FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY.” A few major points:

    *”$4 Trillion in Deficit Reduction”

    *”Debt on a Declining Path, Backed Up By An Across the Board ‘Debt Failsafe’ Trigger”

    *”Balance Between Spending Cuts and Tax Reform”

    *”Shared Sacrifice from All, Including the Most Fortunate Americans”

    *”Bipartisan, Bicameral Negotiations on a Legislative Framework”

    *”The President’s framework includes a target of $360 billion in savings from other mandatory programs by 2023″

    *”…the President is calling for individual tax reform that closes loopholes and produces a system which is simpler, fairer and not rigged in favor of those who can afford lawyers and accountants to game it.”

    *”Additional Discipline on Security Spending While Keeping America Safe”

    *”The President does not believe that Social Security is in crisis nor is a driver of our near term deficit problems…the President supports

    bipartisan efforts to strengthen Social Security for the long haul.”

    *”A major contrast with the House Republican approach. The President’s framework rejects plans that would end Medicare as we know it or transform Medicaid into a dramatically underfunded block grant, putting at serious risk not only seniors but also the most vulnerable children and people with disabilities.”

    • It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that ten years from now, if you’re a 65 year old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today.  It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher.  And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy insurance, tough luck – you’re on your own.  Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.

      This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit.  And who are those 50 million Americans?  Many are someone’s grandparents who wouldn’t be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid.  Many are poor children.  Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome.  Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care.  These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.      

      Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can’t afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can’t afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.  Think about it.  In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined.  The top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each.  And that’s who needs to pay less taxes?  They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that’s paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs?   That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.

      The fact is, their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America.

      Exactly, keep saying this!!!

    • See here:

      My initial impression is that this looks a lot like the Simpson-Bowles report, but in a good way. It doesn’t go quite as far on defense cuts, but it also doesn’t implement a cap on tax or spending. It goes a lot further than Ryan’s budget does in terms of actually figuring out ways to save money rather than just using caps to shift costs onto states/beneficiaries. More as I’ve had more time with it.

    • April 13, 2011

      To the Virginia Delegation of the United States Congress:

      We, the undersigned organizations, are imploring you to reject the budget proposal released by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.

      We believe in shared sacrifice and working together to solve our country’s problems. Unfortunately, the Ryan budget proposal runs counter to values we hold dear like fairness, equity and patriotism. This budget proposal is an extreme example of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, middle class and the elderly, while giving millionaires and corporations enormous tax breaks. This proposal represents reckless and irresponsible governance. It undermines the middle class and changes the very fabric of our nation by decimating vital services our elderly and disabled have come to rely on.

      The Ryan budget proposal will ensure that, once and for all, future generations will not do better than preceding generations. This proposal is dangerous, extreme and will lead the Commonwealth of Virginia in a downward spiral.

      We oppose the Ryan Budget Proposal because it will:

      *End Medicare as we know it: The Ryan budget eliminates traditional Medicare. It trades seniors’ guaranteed health care benefits for vouchers that go directly to private insurance companies, risking their health and financial security when care is denied or premiums are raised. Under Ryan’s plan, the value of the vouchers would rise more slowly than private premiums, forcing seniors to make up the difference and fall farther behind with each passing year. Those who can’t afford it will be out of luck. The enrollment age would rise from 65 to 67.

      *Give mammoth tax cuts to millionaires and big corporations. At a time when income disparities are as big as ever, the Ryan proposal would widen the gap. This year U.S. corporations have taken the biggest profits in the nation’s history and corporate taxes are at the lowest levels in generations (some corporations don’t pay taxes at all!). But this proposal would cut another $1.5 trillion from the tax obligations of the wealthiest individuals and companies. This is a bonanza for corporate lobbyists and campaign contributors.

      *Rip apart America’s safety net. This proposal would convert Medicaid into state block grants that will shift costs to states, lower payments to hospitals and doctors, cost three million jobs, and impoverish seniors and their families by shifting to them the burden of paying for nursing homes and other essential long-term care services. The House budget proposal cuts Medicaid by more than 20 percent and would result in a loss of $10 billion in funding for Virginia over the next ten years and will lead to dangerous cuts in Virginia’s already lean program, now ranked 48th in the nation in per capita Medicaid spending.

      *Put insurance companies back in charge of our care. The plan would allow insurance companies to jack up our rates and deny our care whenever they want. The Ryan proposal would do away with cost savings and consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act, like the ban on denying care to people with pre-existing conditions, the big savings on drug costs for seniors and new caps on how much of each premium dollar goes to overhead and profits. Repealing the ACA would cause 102,000 small business owners in Virginia to lose tax credits, 54,000 of Virginia’s young adults to lose their health insurance, 1.2 million of Virginia’s seniors to lose access to free preventative care and 123,000 of Virginia’s children would again face denials due to pre-existing conditions.

      *Help Wall Street-run health insurance companies make record-breaking profits and pay their CEOs outrageous sums to deny people the care they paid for and need. The Ryan plan would hand over nearly 65 million seniors to the private health insurance industry. Private insurers selling Medicare Advantage plans already cost 11 percent more than the conventional Medicare program, the nation’s most efficient health plan. There’s no reason to think they could perform any more efficiently with 100 percent of Medicare beneficiaries.

      Please act quickly to save the middle class and ensure that future generations have a shot at the American dream. Reject the Ryan budget proposal.

      Signed,

      Tenants and Workers United

      Virginia AFL-CIO

      Virginia Organizing

      Virginia Poverty Law Center

      Voice of Vietnamese Americans

    • The only way we will move past partisanship and gridlock to solve our nation’s fiscal challenges is to leave our partisan hats behind and work in good faith to craft a responsible agreement. I still believe we must put everything on the table: spending cuts, including defense, entitlement reform, including strengthening Social Security, and tax reform.  

      That’s how we will put our economy on a more fiscally responsible path that leads to economic growth and greater global competitiveness.

      I commend the spirit of the President’s message today, and I will continue to work with our bipartisan group of Senators to find solutions to these difficult issues.

    • NotJohnSMosby

      1) Return all tax rates to Clinton’s.  One major exception – keep a larger deduction on estate taxes, like $3 million instead of $600k.  600k does hit some family businesses; 3 million, not really.

      2) Make some cuts to social programs and DoD.

      3) Close loopholes and increase enforcement.

      4) For Social Security, expand the current max on income a bit – I think it’s somewhere in the mid/high $90k range.  For income above the cap, institute a very small – maybe a quarter percent – on all income on the taxpayer side.  Businesses don’t need to pay a share after the cap.  Institue a law where gains from non-qualified stock options are still taxed as capital gains, but are also taxed for Social Security.  Both of these ideas increase Social Security taxes – by a quarter of a percent – on the wealthy and/or those who’s main income is in the way of stock benefits.  Like hedge fund managers.

      5)  Combine Medicare and the health reform laws into one.  Open up Medicare to everyone, regardless of age, as a universal single-payer system.  Employers who offer health benefits can keep existing plans but must also offer their portion of the insurance costs to be used for an employee’s Medicare plan.  Basically a Medicare voucher.  Employees can decide if they want the private plan or Medicare.  One great advantage here is, you can start on Medicare when you hit 25 or whatever, and maintain the same plan your entire life, with private/government employers picking up most of the tab while you work, the government picking up most of the tab when you’re retired.

      Now that I’ve fixed the budget, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid/Health Care, I’m off to the Caps-Rangers game.

    • Jim B

      It is amazing that the country forgot so quickly how the repugs screwed the country and elected the tea baggers. All those people think you run a country on sound bites. Even anybody that is not efficient using math can figure their numbers of cutting a few social programs will not cure a trillion dollar budget deficit.

    • There was still plenty of Carter-bashing for programs Republicans claimed brought about the crash of the housing market thirty years later!

    • See here, very positive reviews from a strong critic (from the left) of the Obama administration.