Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A bit of light reading

This might be a bit much for some people, but for reference, here is a link to the 2013 budget proposed by President Obama. It runs a bit over 250 pages, and I certainly won't be reading every word, but I will be skimming it and trying to pass along the link so that it can be analyzed fairly by various people.

Obama's budget is already under fire, and it's been said that it is purely symbolic and has no chance of passing. While I'm sure that's the case, it is worth noting that this is the first budget we've had in three years or so. It's been a long time, and I hope that this one actually is debated and not simply shelved or earmarked into oblivion as tends to happen.

Criticisms of the budget include things like: It's a campaign slogan. It doesn't address our problems. It turns us into Greece. It doesn't reduce the deficit. It plays with the numbers. It's not sustainable. It's a talking point. You get the idea. The point is, there are a lot of people with R's next to their name in Congress who are not happy with this, and are seeking to change a good amount of it. While it's a good idea to have differing views in Congress and running the country, especially for something as important as the budget, it does raise concerns that the two sides are too distant to be able to come to a resolution.

Consider taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Here is a group worth billions of dollars. Surely, a 1% tax on their personal income would not make much of a difference. But despite the majority of Americans agreeing with that, GOP leaders are obstinate in their refusal to allow it, even in the name of balancing a payroll tax cut extension.

And consider spending in education, health care, and infrastructure. Self-investment is a job-creator waiting to happen, a machine of progress just waiting for the cash to fuel it. But the GOP has stomped on this idea, claiming that such investment is bad and produces no results for the economy. It's a short-sighted view they take on the subject, and one that will come back to bite them in the future.

I'm hopeful that a budget can be agreed upon, but it's going to be a long, painful process to watch from the sideline of American media outlets. It's going to be rife with campaign catch phrases. It's going to be partisan talking points and symbolic votes on the left and the right. All that matters is that there is a plan moving forward that will benefit the nation, the people, the economy, and the future. Here's hoping.

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