The Brilliance of Obama’s budget

I have talked about the importance of fixing the economy and then tackling the deficit. Unfortunately, reality has raised its ugly head. The GOP is beating the deficit drum. Americans have been led to believe that short term deficit reduction is really, really important. So, the Obama administration is walking the tightrope. Reduce the deficit while sustaining job growth.

From Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:

The President’s budget achieves this goal by cutting domestic discretionary programs, securing savings in entitlement programs, limiting defense expenditures, and raising revenues primarily by curbing a plethora of tax loopholes.  At the same time, it does not propose the immediate and severe cuts in domestic discretionary programs that House Republicans are proposing, which would weaken the economy (and thereby cost many jobs) before it can safely absorb such austerity measures, eviscerate key programs and services, and render the federal government unable to meet some critical national needs.

Nobody is going to be completely happy with this budget. That’s okay. The key is that Obama budget must reflect the Progressive Agenda. It must work to stabilize Social Security. It must strengthen programs that work like Head Start. It must also begin to cut some of the expensive programs that are exploding the deficit.

From EPI:

Education: An 11% increase in education, investing in 100,000 new science, technology, engineering, and math teachers, and a $1.4 billion new investment in early childhood education.  Pell Grant funding is increased by over 20%, although eligibility criteria will actually be narrowed to prevent a larger increase spurred by growing demand for higher education and rising tuition costs.

Transportation: A 60% increase in transportation infrastructure investments over six years, focusing on rebuilding and maintaining the current system and building out the transit and rail infrastructure (ensuring that 80% of Americans have convenient access to a passenger rail system within 25 years).  This includes an immediate $50 billion investment as a down payment on this stronger commitment to transportation, and $30 billion for a National Infrastructure Bank.

Energy: A 12% increase, including a doubling of energy efficiency research, development, and deployment, increasing renewable energy investments by over 70% and continuing the vital investments in the national electricity grid.

Science and innovation: Doubles basic research at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies, while maintaining funding for the National Institute of Health.  The budget would also invest $15 billion in the national broadband network to boost speed and increase access. (more…)