The truth about President Obama’s budget

I like to write good things to write about President Obama.  It helps me to convince myself that I am a fair-minded person, and also convince my friends, most of whom are supporters of the President.

But usually when I do, it turns out there is a catch.  I feel as if I were Charlie Brown in the comic strip once again trusting Lucy to hold the football so he can kick it.

I wrote a post the other day praising the President for budget proposals, which contained some modest tax increases on the upper income brackets and some modest benefits from working people.

But now I realize I missed important parts—more spending for the military, tax reductions for the rich and cuts to Medicare.

Andre Demon, writing for the World Socialist Web Site, pointed out:

Obama’s budget proposal would increase Pentagon spending by 7 percent, adding an additional $38 billion to bring the total defense budget to $534 billion. 

Obama is separately proposing $51 billion in additional funding for the wars in Iraq and Syria, including money to back the so-called “moderate” opposition in Syria, as well for as the ongoing US troop presence in Afghanistan.

Newsweek - Obama - The Democrats ReaganThe budget calls for the corporate tax rate to be cut to 25 percent for manufacturers and 28 percent for other corporations, down from the current rate of 35 percent.

The proposal would also allow US corporations to repatriate past profits generated overseas at a tax rate of only 14 percent.  Foreign profits would be taxed at 19 percent in the future. 

Currently, US corporations pay a rate of 35 percent on foreign profits, which many corporations avoid by keeping their foreign earnings abroad.

These tax cuts are accompanied by $400 billion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The budget proposes to raise $66 billion over ten years by charging higher Medicare premiums to upper-income patients, a move that would undermine Medicare’s status as a universal entitlement and open the door to means testing and the transformation of the government health insurance program for seniors into a poverty program.

The plan would cut another “$116 billion in Medicare payments to drug companies for medicines prescribed for low-income patients,” according to the New York Times. 

It would also slash $100 billion for the treatment of Medicare patients following their discharge from the hospital, affecting primarily the elderly.

via World Socialist Web Site.

It’s true that Obama proposes modest tax increases on investment income, tuition subsidies for community college students and an infrastructure spending plan.

The proposed tax increases include a 0.07 percent fee on some 100 large financial corporations and an increase in the capital gains tax from 24.2 percent to 28 percent for couples making more than $500,000 per year.

These would ostensibly be used to finance a plan to pay tuition—but not increase per-pupil funding—at community colleges, which would cost $60 billion, as well as an $80 billion proposal for increasing child care tax credits.

The budget also proposes $478 billion in infrastructure spending over six years. These projects would be contracted out to private for-profit companies and would not take the form of government-run public works programs.

via World Socialist Web Site.

Noting the significance of the fact that Obama announced his new budget at Homeland Security headquarters, Demon pointed out that the Republicans in Congress will likely give bi-partisan support to the pro-military, pro-corporate and pro-austerity parts of the budget, while stripping out everything else.

He noted that Obama has pledged to veto any budget sequesters that limit military spending.

No wonder the Republicans keep moving to the right.  That’s the only way they can prevent Obama from overtaking them.


Obama’s ‘pro-middle class’ budget: Cut corporate taxes, raise military spending, slash Medicare by Andre Demon on the World Socialist Web Site.   Hat tip to Corrente.

Are Dems Trolling the Left? by Pat Garofalo for U.S. News.


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