Obama’s budget ‘a good starting point for a discussion’ with Republicans: NYT editorial

February 16th, 2011 - 6:18 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama New York, Feb 16(ANI): United States President Barack Obama’s new 3.7 trillion dollar budget is encouraging, but it is difficult to answer whether it stands a chance in a Congress in which Republicans, who now dominate the House, are obsessed with making indiscriminate short-term cuts in programs they never liked, according to an editorial in the New York Times.

The proposal promises to slash 1.1 trillion dollars from the deficit over the next decade, but Republicans may argue that the plan is not tough enough.

The Obama budget’s main cut -400 billion dollars over 10 years - is the result of a five-year freeze in non-security discretionary programs, but on the other hand the proposal will increase transportation spending by 242 billion dollars over 10 years.

“What Obama’s budget is most definitely not is a blueprint for dealing with the real long-term problems that feed the budget deficit: rising health care costs, an aging population and a refusal by lawmakers to face the inescapable need to raise taxes at some point. Rather, it defers those critical issues, in hopes, we assume, that both the economy and the political environment will improve in the future,” the editorial said.

“For the most part, Obama has managed to cut spending while preserving important government duties. That approach is in stark contrast to Congressional Republicans, who are determined to cut spending deeply, no matter the consequences,” it added.

It also highlighted that the budget calls for spending on green energy programs - to be paid for, in part, by eliminating 46 billion dollars in tax breaks for oil, gas and coal companies over the next decade.

“Republicans are determined not to raise any taxes, even though investing for the future and taming the deficit are impossible without more money,” the editorial said.

The editorial concluded by saying that Obama’s budget does not directly address the big issues, but doing so would require a negotiating Republican partner.

“Obama, at present, does not have any negotiating among the Republican leaders in Congress. His latest budget is a good starting point for a discussion - and a budget deal - but only if Republicans are willing participants in the process,” it said. (ANI)

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