A Responsible Budget
NEW YORK TIMES Editorial:
President Obama’s 2013 budget was greeted on Monday with Republican catcalls that it is simply a campaign document, but election-year budgets are supposed to explain priorities to voters. This one offers a clear and welcome contrast to the slashing austerity — and protect-the-wealthy priorities — favored by Republican Congressional leaders and the party’s presidential candidates.
The president’s budget calls for long-term deficit reduction, but its immediate priority is to encourage the fledgling economic recovery. Instead of trying to stabilize the budget on the backs of the poor, it would raise taxes on the wealthy and on big banks and eliminate many corporate tax loopholes.
To put Americans back to work, it would invest $350 billion in constructing roads, rail lines and schools, and encourage manufacturing through tax incentives and research spending. It would maintain the Pell grant program for low-income college students and add new spending for teacher improvement and education reform.
Republicans, on the other hand, would cut taxes for the rich and cut almost all of that spending, heedless of the pain that it would inflict on the economy and the millions of Americans still reeling from the downturn’s effects. In poll after poll, the public has made clear that it prefers the president’s approach of rebuilding the economy now and tackling the deficit when the fundamentals are stronger. While Republicans have counted on voters blaming Mr. Obama for the hard times, some are beginning to worry that they will be blamed for their obstructionism. That was clear on Monday when House leaders announced that they would agree to Mr. Obama’s proposal to extend the payroll tax cut for the rest of this year without insisting on drastic cuts elsewhere to pay for it. [MORE]