Obama’s Robin Hood Budget: Tax the Wealthy, Support the Country
The $3.9-trillion budget for the 2015 fiscal year President Barack Obama sent to Congress Tuesday morning was well in keeping with the pledge he made during this year’s State of the Union address: to restore opportunity to the middle class. A press release detailing the proposal proclaimed that it would “show how to achieve real, lasting economic security and expand opportunity for all so that every American who is willing to work hard can get ahead.” Or more specifically, the president’s budget was designed, at least theoretically, to be a road map to implementing what he called his opportunity agenda in a “balanced and responsible way.” It is a means to create opportunity for future generations of Americans without leaving them “a mountain of debt,” the president also noted. Stripping aside the rhetoric, the Obama budget seeks billions of dollars in fresh spending to spur economic growth, but also promises to lower the federal budget deficit.
To implement new federal government spending, while lowering the federal deficit, the budget calls for raising the taxes on wealthy Americans, decreasing payments to healthcare providers, and overhauling U.S. immigration law.
When analyzing the president’s 2015 budget, it is important to keep in mind that this year is an election year. Even though his Tuesday morning statement to the press emphasized that the new spending he requested adheres to spending levels agreed to by both parties, it is clear that the opportunity agenda the budget supports will go far to appease the Democratic voter based and draw a contrast between his party and the Republicans.
His plan does include some spending cuts — expenditures on the Department of Defense will decrease by $495.6 billion, while funds allotted to agencies like the departments of Health & Human Services, Agriculture, Justice, Labor, and Homeland Security will decrease, as will spending on the Environmental Protection Agency. But a varied lineup of liberal policy schemes — namely, the four pillars of the president’s opportunity agenda — creating more “good” jobs and higher wages, training workers to get “those good” jobs, guaranteeing every child access to a world class education, and making sure our economy is one in which hard work is rewarded — will be supported in small party by the targeted spending cuts, primarily by the more than $1 trillion in new taxes.
Of those new takes, much of the burden falling on major businesses and the wealthy. Comparatively, Republicans have promised for three years to lower the top income tax rate to 25 percent.