I think the fact that President Obama has refused to offer a budget for the government for the next year is underreported. The latest reason the White House gives for the delay is that officials are working on getting it right and they are struggling with the details. Given that all the resources of the federal government are at the president's disposal, this could not be the real reason. The budget is not a pop quiz that they didn't know was coming; the due date is written in the law. Why has the administration been waffling about submitting a budget? The answer must be that offering a budget would reveal things that they don't want revealed.
A budget creates winners and losers and even Obama can't say yes to everyone. Also, as Haley Barbour likes to say, "A budget is a plan put to numbers." Well, having a budget would reveal a lot about the Democrat's plans. If nothing else, a budget discloses what your priorities really are.
The president's inaugural speech was an ideological manifesto, and now he must show how he will prioritize his beliefs — or put another way, he now has to put your money where his mouth is. Obviously, the president is not eager to do so. As Speaker John Boehner said on the House floor yesterday, "Our economy could use some presidential leadership right now ... we are having trouble, in large part because spending is the problem. It's what's chasing jobs overseas and causing so much anxiety about our future."
For all his talk about wanting to be serious and elevate the debate, Obama can't bring himself to be honest and specific about how he wants to spend the taxes he has been so eager to raise. The fact that Obama won't submit a budget is further proof that he wants to raise taxes as an end unto itself, not necessarily to fund anything in particular.
I always look for the political angle or fallout from decisions made in Washington. I don't think it will matter to voters in 2014 that the president's budget submission was late or if he offers one at all. But the arrogant act of not following the law and ignoring the public's right to know what the White House wants to do with Americans’ money does contribute to the idea that our politics are failing us and that Washington is broken.