5 Important Things In The President’s Budget
President Obama released his administration’s fiscal year 2015 budget request today. It serves an important purpose in detailing the administration’s vision for investing in the future of the country and establishes an important contrast with Congressional Republicans. The latest GOP salvo in the budget wars, offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) yesterday, was filled with what we’ve come to expect: another attack on decades of successful anti-poverty programs. President Obama’s, meanwhile, contains a number of pro-growth policies and investments that will help create an economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy few. Here are five of the most important:
1. Expands the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The President’s Budget doubles the maximum credit from $500 to $1,000 for 13.5 million low-income childless adults, putting more money back in the pockets of low-income working Americans. The credit has also been extended to young workers aged 21 to 24, adding further support to those individuals at the start of their careers.
Some conservatives have countered the progressive campaign to raise the minimum wage by saying that the EITC is a better alternative to help low-income workers. While the President and the progressive community have no intention of stopping the fight for a higher minimum wage, in this budget Obama has called their bluff in his expansion of the EITC — how will Republicans respond?
2. Significantly Extends The Child Tax Credit. Childcare be often be so expensive for families with young children that it can keep a parent from working full-time. The President’s Budget would extend the Child Tax Credit, particularly for families with children under age five. According to the White House, about 1.7 million families would benefit from the expansion in 2015, receiving an average tax cut of $600.
3. Invests $302 Billion Over Four Years In Transportation Infrastructure. As America’s roads and bridges are falling apart, the President’s focus on transportation infrastructure in this budget took a critical step forward in two ways. First, it draws almost half of the budget request–$150 million–directly from new revenues earned through closing tax loopholes. Second, it prioritizes “fix-it first” investments: those highways, bridges, roads, subways, bus services, and more, that are among the most in need of repair.
4. Promotes Smart Fiscal Responsibility. The budget predicts the following savings from smart policies:
- $402 billion in additional health savings from the Affordable Care Act as well as innovations for Medicare and Medicaid;
- $650 billion over a decade by creating a smarter, more efficient tax code including closing corporate tax loopholes and implementing the “Buffett Rule” so that millionaires pay no less than 30 percent of their income;
5. Reiterates Support For Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Immigration reform is a no-brainer, estimated to reduce the deficit by $1 trillion and increase economic growth by $1.4 trillion over twenty years. It is supported by the vast majority of American interests: businesses, faith leaders, labor unions, many Republican lawmakers, and most important almost 9 in 10 voters. And it would help more than just the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country — it would have huge benefits for American workers as well.
BOTTOM LINE: The President’s budget is a bold progressive document that calls for an end to an era of austerity by investing in working Americans and strengthening the economy for everyone and not just the wealthiest few. Republicans, even while finding that many anti-poverty programs are actually very effective, continue to castigate many low-income Americans and remain opposed to commonsense polices that would spur the economy and reduce the deficit.