Wonkblog: Federal budget

Blame voters, not Congress, for our budgetary woes

Blame voters, not Congress, for our budgetary woes

An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey released Wednesday asked 1,000 U.S. adults about what would make them more or less likely to vote for a congressional candidate. “Compromise” overwhelmingly topped the list, with 86 percent saying that they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who “will work with members of the other party and compromise to get things done.”

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Obama budget would double bank tax size

President Obama's budget plan calls for a bank tax twice as big as the one he proposed last year, a further sign he wants to make anti-Wall Street sentiment a major part of his re-election campaign.

 The bank tax, also known as the "Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee," first appeared in Obama's 2011 budget and was projected to raise $90 billion over 10 years. A year later, in the wake of the mid-term elections and accusations from executives that Obama was "anti-business," the White House cut the proposal by two-thirds to just $30 billion.

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Domestic spending: Winners and losers in Obama’s budget

Domestic spending: Winners and losers in Obama’s budget

The White House’s 2013 budget request is the first that has to follow the terms of last year’s debt-ceiling deal. That means it’s the first year that domestic discretionary spending — the money for agencies that Congress funds each year — gets strictly capped. So how does this shake out?

First, let’s define terms. “Non-defense discretionary spending” is a relatively small part of the budget, about 18 percent. It’s not Social Security. It’s not Medicare. It’s not the Pentagon. It’s not multiyear highway or farm bills. But it is just about everything else that gets set each year by Congress. The Veterans Health Administration. Medical research at the National Institutes for Health. Low-income housing assistance. And under last year’s Budget Control Act, it’s all getting squeezed. Two years ago, the White House predicted that such domestic spending would amount to $477 billion in FY 2013. After the debt-ceiling deal, the White House is asking for just $410 billion — a full 14 percent less. Which means, inevitably, there are winners and losers.

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