“It’s a road map for creating jobs with good wages and expanding opportunities for all Americans," says the president.
In a press conference on Tuesday, President Obama released details of his proposed 2015 budget. The plan calls for $56 billion in increased spending while providing an optimistic outlook on the country’s fiscal state that projects the US to be on track to cutting deficits below 2 percent of the economy over the next 10 years.
The proposal – which faced opposition from congressional Republicans in the days prior to its release – outlines the President’s plan for new manufacturing centers, work training, and early childhood education, as well as other programs that would be paid for through budgetary cuts as well as a reduction of tax benefits for multimillion-dollar retirement accounts.
Speaking at a Washington elementary school, Obama stated, “It’s a road map for creating jobs with good wages and expanding opportunities for all Americans. And at a time when our deficit has been been cut half, it allows us to meet our obligations to future generations without leaving them a mountain of debt.”
Half of the money for the new spending plan would come from a cap on tax-preferred saving on retirement funds for those whose accounts would pay out over $200,000 per year in retirement (or more than $3 million per account).
The remainder would be covered through a number of spending changes. These include a $14 billion reduction of federal crop insurance subsidies, and gains of $5 billion from increased TSA passenger fees on commercial air travel and $3 billion from preventing individuals from collecting unemployment and disability insurance simultaneously.
Republicans in Congress bashed the plan even before its public release, saying its success is predicated on an unrealistically rosy outlook on the state of the US economy.
“After years of fiscal and economic mismanagement, the President has offered perhaps his most irresponsible budget yet,” House Speaker John Boehner said. “American families looking for jobs and opportunity will find only more government in this plan.”
Another Republican, Rep. Hal Rogers, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said, “It is important to remember that it is the Congress, not the White House, that holds the ‘power of the purse’ and will decide where to cut, where to sustain, and where to invest tax dollars to the most benefit of the American people.”
The President’s budget includes the following highlights:
– Expanding Earned Income Tax Credit: The President seeks to expand EITC for 13.5 million low-income individuals, a move that would be paid for by closing tax loopholes for fund managers and high-income self-employed workers. The plan would cost $60 billion over a decade.
– Manufacturing Hubs: Obama’s plan calls for 45 new manufacturing hubs that would connect businesses with research universities in order to spur domestic innovation. This goal would be met by means of a phased 10-year strategy.
– Transportation: The budget provides for $302 billion over four years to repair run-down infrastructure. $150 billion of this would come from temporary revenues generated by ending tax breaks for businesses – an element of a comprehensive corporate tax reform plan that would have the overall effect of lowering tax rates.
– Early Childhood Education: Universal preschool and an expansion of Head Start, which provides early childhood education for low-income families, is once again on the table. Costs would be offset by an increase in the tobacco tax and in the Education Department’s discretionary investment in preschools to $500 million. The program will also be able to rely on an additional $250 million in grant money.
Alberto Gonzálezis the Associate Editor of Aleteia’s English edition. His prior endeavors have included working in political campaigns and in the United States Senate. He also maintains an active schedule as a liturgical vocalist and organist.
A native of California, Alberto graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 with a B.A. in Music and Political Science. He currently lives in the greater Washington, D.C. area.