As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

1.75 Trillion.

Wow, he really honestly looked at the numbers.

President Barack Obama is sending Congress a "hard choices" budget that would boost taxes on the wealthy and curtail Medicare payments to insurance companies and hospitals to make way for a $634 billion down payment on universal health care.

Obama's first budget, which will top $3 trillion, predicts the deficit for this year will soar to a whopping $1.75 trillion, according to administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity before the public unveiling of the budget Thursday. The huge deficit reflects the massive spending being undertaken to battle a severe recession and the worst financial crisis in seven decades.

That's what it probably should have been - and actually was - for several years now. Remember that Obama's goal is to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. In this document he sets the deficit at that time at $533 billion, but half of the topline number would be more like $900 billion. This gives him some space to work with.

As expected, Republicans are already freaking out about the repeal of the Bush tax cuts:

"Everyone agrees that all Americans deserve access to affordable health care, but is increasing taxes during an economic recession, especially on small businesses, the right way to accomplish that goal?" asked House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

It's good that Republicans have to play on Democratic turf when talking about health care - that's a shift and a sign of the weakness of their position. The "small businesses" canard is based on the false idea that a business making $250,000 in revenue would have to pay taxes in individual tax brackets. That's, um, not how it works, and Republicans know that.

...Obama's remarks on this piece:

In keeping with my commitment to make our government more open and transparent, this budget is an honest accounting of where we are and where we intend to go. For too long, our budget has not told the whole truth about how precious tax dollars are spent. Large sums have been left off the books, including the true cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that kind of dishonest accounting is not how you run your family budgets at home; it's not how your government should run its budgets, either. We need to be honest with ourselves about what costs are being racked up -- because that's how we'll come to grips with the hard choices that lie ahead. And there are some hard choices that lie ahead.

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