Next Big Fight: President Obama to Unveil Budget on February 26th

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 16:03

Today, when signing it into law, President Obama framed the jobs / stimulus package as "the beginning." It turns out that the next, and much larger, step will come very soon. The Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama will unveil his budget proposal next Thursday on February 26th:

With a $787 billion stimulus package in hand, President Barack Obama will pivot quickly to address a budget deficit that could now approach $2 trillion this year.

He has scheduled a "fiscal-responsibility summit" on Feb. 23 and will unveil a budget blueprint three days later, crafted to put pressure on politicians to address the country's surging long-term debt crisis.

Due to the enormous amount of spending involved--a minimum of $2.8 trillion--the federal budget will be the largest fight of 2009. It will surpass, and even possibly encompass, like health care, foreclosure reform, and a new energy economy. It will also be a good measure of how many progressive votes we have really gianed in the House.

If the the stimulus is the downpayment, the budget is the mortgage. This is where President Obama can begin to restructure the economy. I am a little surprised it will start so soon, but at least we won't be without excitement for very long.

Update: This post was altered significantly. The sections on Social Security were removed, and expanded into a separate post.  

Chris Bowers :: Next Big Fight: President Obama to Unveil Budget on February 26th

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social security (4.00 / 1)
Given what Obama's actually said about social security, I say with near total confidence that no matter what plan comes out of Congress or the administration, it will definitely include raising or eliminating the cap social security taxes. Clinton did that for Medicare in 1993 and we bought it about 20 more years of solvency.

I'm not too worried about social security. Raising the cap in taxes will go a long ways towards solving its problems. So if we have to throw in a token one time cut in benefits or raising the retirement age by one year (but not anymore than that) then that'd be close to palatable for me.

I think the bigger battle will be whether we can pressure Obama to propose a higher income tax bracket than the Clinton 39.6% bracket (say 45%) for multi-millionaires to help eventually close the gaping deficit. That's to be the bigger worry. Because if we don't, the pressure to gut social and environmental programs will be huge down the line.  

Isn't it very early to unveil a budget? (0.00 / 0)
I wouldn't worry too much about this "commission"... Bush had lots of commissions.  At least half a dozen.  The one that got the most press was a tax reform one that was dead in the water 'cos it eliminated mortgage and local tax deductions..  Even the republican congress rejected it (it was presented to them).

If buying off Cooper and his traitorous blue dogs means giving them a meaningless commission that will do nothing n the end, then they should go for it.

We should be wary, but optimistic.  

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re (4.00 / 2)
don't discount the possibility that Social Security could actually be cut even under a Democratic trifecta.

I'm confident nancy won't sign off on that.

But if she does, is there any hope?

This "impossibility" has been out there for weeks. (4.00 / 1)
Now can we discuss some major, major push back, please.  Bad enough that such a commission can be assembled which is so heavily weighted towards fiscal conservatism. But to then present the plan for a Congressional up or down vote is the height of subterfuge.  

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - SCOTUS Justice Louis Brandeis

General Strike, May 1 (0.00 / 0)
I proposed this and was met with general ridicule a while back.

OK. Maybe it won't/can't happen but that's what counts as "major pushback".

Those who dismiss it need to propose something of their own in this category.

Or they're blowing smoke.

[ Parent ]
It would be an unconscionable (0.00 / 0)
betrayal for Obama to do anything that might cut SS benefits. Yet it's worthwhile to remember that he has far greater advantages pushing such "reform" than Bush enjoyed: the uncritical approval he has received at the hands of so-called liberals in this country.

Even if the progressive blogosphere finally finds its way to being angry at Obama over any move to cut SS benefits, there's no reason to believe that the larger liberal voting bloc will follow them. That bloc is still reveling in their Obama posters and memorabilia, and telling its children inspiring stories about Obama's brilliant and historic rise to power.

There's no way that, say, Josh Marshall could try to create a movement to fight SS reform if Obama is its leader, as he did when Bush was the proponent. Marshall has squandered his credibility on the point by being silent as a tomb in the past on the matter of Obama's right wing talking points -- even when it came to SS "reform" itself. Such is the price of hackery.

Nobody has the credibility to lead a popular movement at this time against SS "reform".

Obama may or may not choose to "fix" SS by cutting benefits or raising the retirement age -- but if he chooses to do so, I don't see how a genuinely effective pushback might be organized against him.

We All Need Toilet Paper. (0.00 / 0)
There are many low wage earners that cannot afford state payroll taxes and are given an exemption. But they cannot avoid the sales tax. It is outrageous to force a minimum wage worker to pay a sales tax on toilet paper. Billions of dollars in state sales taxes are collected on toilet paper alone. Workers have to go to work smelly and dirty unless that tax is paid. This law must be abolished at once.  This hygiene problem should be taken up by the new administration. Any new stimulus bill should include financial help for low wage toilet paper users. It is a filth producing tax and it smells.

Off topic, but an sick update on one of the biggest 'piggy' Banks.. (0.00 / 0)
J.P. Morgan Chase unfortunately has been and still is my main bank, temporarily.
In the last year, all of my account fees have been raised, all my credit card interest rates jacked up and my lines of credit reduced. Effective immediately and retroactive to everything I've bought in the past.

Our government and Congress piled more on our backs, by giving those banks 18 months to clean up their usurious practice and stuffing every orifice of theirs with OUR money.  The money Congress apparently thought too good to give US.

Well, I went in my Chase branch today already in a surly mood, to be greeted with big NEW signs that simply make this statement:


Chase bank has more money sitting in there accounts, than the ENTIRE COST OF THE STIMULUS BILL FOR THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES.

And the Republicans are furious at us??

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