Obama's $3.9 Trillion Budget Would Produce $564 Billion Deficit

Mar 4, 2014
Originally published on March 4, 2014 11:53 am

As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.

The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.

But as NPR's Tamara Keith said on Morning Edition, Obama's budget isn't likely to have much of an impact on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers last December reached a two-year spending deal. It's also an election year, so they aren't going to be eager to reopen budget talks. And as The Associated Press points out, "many of the proposals were in earlier budgets and were ignored."

Still, Tamara added, presidents are required to draw up budgets and they use them to frame their visions for the nation.

The Wall Street Journal says the blueprint is "peppered with new taxes on upper-income Americans and businesses, plus numerous spending initiatives aimed at bolstering education, research and low-income work programs."

Politico says it would "raise taxes on the rich, expand tax credits for the poor and middle class — though as of now, it merely serves as a White House wish list."

The Hill writes that "the central elements of the proposal are $56 billion in new stimulus spending above the discretionary budget cap in place for next year, $302 billion in infrastructure spending over four years and a series of tax breaks for lower-income workers. The initiatives would be fully paid for by increasing taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals."

Since peaking at just over 10 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2009, federal deficits have been shrinking in comparison to the size of the economy — a measure economists say is useful when gauging the effect of all that red ink. At $564 billion, the deficit would be about 3 percent of GDP.

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