On Wednesday, April 10, President Barack Obama released his annual budget proposal, generating a great deal of political dialogue. In an article published on April 13, The New York Times revealed that the budget includes some cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Though this concession has moved national budget negotiations forward significantly upon Capitol Hill, the change has garnered hostile responses from liberal Democrats who are damaging the Democratic Party’s image on the campaign trail. As both parties prepare for midterm elections, the Republicans are using Obama’s budget concession as evidence of hypocrisy within the opposing party, while left-wing Democrats claim that Obama has rescinded his campaign promises. Some Democrats even protested outside the White House last week in anticipation of the cuts.
One of the most controversial portions of Obama’s budget involves the switch to Chained CPI, a different way of measuring inflation. According to CNN, this modified fiscal method would allow the administration to reduce the increase of government benefits related to a rise in the national cost of living. As a result, Obama hopes to raise $230 billion over 10 years. Many left-wing party members worry that the benefits will become pointless if they are not enough for a family in the modern economy. The White House has responded to this concern by claiming that this change will not apply to low-income veterans, seniors or families who are receiving Supplemental Security Income.
Obama’s budget calls for more allocation to education, infrastructure and nondefense research. Though both political parties are frustrated by Obama’s proposed budget, the Task Force on American Innovation, The American Chemical Society and the teachers’ unions are all ecstatic with the funding increases this new budget provides. CNN is calling the proposal Obama’s attempt at a “Grand Bargain.” Though it demands wealthy citizens pay more in Medicare costs, it slashes defense by $200 billion, Medicare by $400 billion and non-health spending (unemployment and agricultural subsidies) by $600 billion. This part of the budget should appease Republicans, and the budget includes a slight tax increase on the wealthy and the closing of certain financial loopholes that large corporations and Wall Street investors currently take advantage of liberally. In his attempt to appease both sides of the aisle, Obama has initiated a great deal of hostility from extremes on both sides.
The New York Times and the Huffington Post anticipate further debate centered on Obama’s budget, but are hopeful that by placing a starting point on the table, the President has rekindled discussion that has been stagnant since December 2012. However, the White House has made it clear that this budget is already a compromise, and the administration hopes the Republicans will finally agree upon this proposed balance of revenue and debt deductions.
Information from The Huffington Post, The New York Times and CNN News was used in this report.