The Obama budget and 'middle class economics'

by Vinnie Rotondaro

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Mashable breaks down President Obama’s budget proposal “by the numbers.” 

The budget proposal asks for $4 trillion over the course of the 2016 fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1st. As Mashable notes, this amounts to a 6.4% increase over estimated spending in 2015, paid for by $2 trillion in tax increases, including $320 billion from “the wealthiest Americans and corporations.”

The budget would add $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.

The Obama budget calls for a $478 billion infrastructure program for roads, bridges and transit systems, paid for by a one-time 14% tax on overseas profits. It seeks to raise $95 billion over the next ten years through a tax hike on cigarettes, from $1.01 a pack to $1.95. It also proposes a $60 billion program for free community college, benefiting an estimated 9 million students.

Furthermore, the Obama budget proposes an end to sequestration budget cuts; it proposes to boost military and domestic spending by $74 billion in 2016. "I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America," Obama said, announcing the budget proposal.

The Obama White House says the proposed budget reflects “middle class economics.” In a fact sheet released online, the White House Office of Management and Budget defined “middle class economics” thusly:

Middle class economics means ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed in our global economy and all working families can afford the cornerstones of economic security: child care, college, health care, a home, and retirement. The Budget supports working families by reforming the tax code to help middle-class families get ahead, tripling the child care tax credit, expanding child care assistance, encouraging state paid leave initiatives, ensuring access to quality, affordable health care, making two years of community college tuition-free for responsible students, bolstering job training so it leads to careers, expanding access to child care and early education, supporting and rewarding work, and helping families save for retirement. 

Republicans have roundly, and vocally, rejected the Obama budget proposal. Politico reports on the opposition:

For congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget is “laughable.” It “shamelessly panders to the Democratic base.” And it’s nothing more than a “lousy Groundhog Day repeat.”

[Vinnie Rotondaro is NCR national correspondent. His email address is]

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