Traverse City Record-Eagle

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March 15, 2014

Another View: Obama’s populist budget ignores deficit

President Barack Obama proposed a nearly $4 trillion budget ... that prioritizes ideology and politics instead of tackling the country’s pressing fiscal issues.

This budget won’t stimulate the economy or help create more jobs. Instead, it props up spending already in place and allows the debt to continue to grow. It seems more designed to secure the Democratic base in the fall elections than to embrace financial responsibility.

It’s an election-year budget. Instead of taking on entitlement reform, Obama has proposed a budget that adds billions more in spending for education, infrastructure, job training and environmental research.

This budget would produce a $564 billion deficit for fiscal year 2015 — smaller than the past year, but still too high. And as with other major issues, this budget kicks the deficit can down the road (again) by forecasting the shortfall will only fall by about 1 percent through 2018, one year after Obama’s departure.

The revenue making up that 1 percent would come from some of the proposed $1 trillion in new taxes over 10 years. Most of the tax hikes are on estates and high-income earners, as well as American businesses of all sizes.

With such large tax hikes and no spending reform, this budget has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. But it will give Democrats talking points for their election campaign and another opportunity to paint the GOP as stingy and insensitive.

The budget extends unemployment insurance for almost 2 million Americans. It also increases funding for the U.S. Department of Education, including for a program that would provide universal preschool and day care for 100,000 infants and toddlers. Obama would also like to pay to teach 100,000 teachers how to use the Internet.

As the president promised, he’s also asking to raise to $10.10 an hour the federal minimum wage, which will further shrink the job market.

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