Debt & Taxes
Dem Budget Pipe Dream: $1 Trillion in New Taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 12:05pm
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After nearly four years, Senate Democrats leaked details about  their first budget blueprint Tuesday, which includes nearly $1 trillion in new revenue over 10 years as part of a replacement of the sequester spending cuts.

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray,D-Wash., said her blueprint, which does not balance the budget, trims $800 billion from the debt over 10 years once the sequester is turned off. It also includes $100 billion in economic stimulus for infrastructure spending and job training.
The details came out shortly after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released the House GOP’s budget, which balances the budget in 10 years by reducing tax rates, repealing Obamacare and slashing spending. Democrats will officially release their budget Wednesday afternoon.
Both budgets are basically partisan wish lists and neither have a shot at becoming the actual budget. But they can dream.  -   Read more at The Hill

SAME OLD STORY   “Much of the conversation in the months ahead will involve Republicans talking about the importance of immediately reducing the debt. It’s a highly speculative argument, given the potential damage to an economy that is still limping from the 2008 financial meltdown,” The Fiscal Times’ Josh Boak writes. Meanwhile, “Democrats will frame these cuts as smoke-and-mirrors, more akin to the illusion of a casino magician. But they’ll be stuck grappling with how to explain the complexities of why a balanced budget is not needed to a skeptical public. Their defense is that a ten-year timeframe in Ryan’s budget is arbitrary and that the alleged savings are phony.”   -   Read more at The Fiscal Times

REPUBLICAN SENATORS BLOCK SPENDING BILL    Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz, and Tom Coburn, R-Okla, held up debate on the Senate’s amended continuing resolution, which keeps the government funded through the end of the year and prevents a government shutdown on March 27. The two senators blocked the bill because they said they weren’t given enough time to read the 587-page bill. McCain and Coburn both said they had already found “pork barrel spending” in the measure. “What we found is so egregious ... frankly it’s beyond anything I have ever seen in my years in the United States Senate,” McCain said. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure Thursday and send it back to the House for final approval, though it is unclear how long the senators will hold up the process.  -  Read more at The Hill

REPUBLICANS DUMP DEFENSE DEPARTMENT    In the past, “the Republican Party has claimed the Defense Department as their own, labeling Democrats who wanted to trim the Pentagon’s budget or who questioned operations overseas as unpatriotic,” The Fiscal Times’ David Francis writes. “But in an age of austerity, the Pentagon is no longer a GOP sacred cow. Deficit reduction and cuts in spending have become the Republican Party’s mantra.” -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

OBAMA TO DEMOCRATS: ENTITLEMENT REFORM MUST HAPPEN    President Obama told Senate Democrats Tuesday afternoon to prepare to take up entitlement reform during a lunch on Capitol Hill.  The president assured lawmakers that though he would protect entitlement programs, big changes needed to be made to Social Security and Medicarein order to rein in the federal deficit. Obama added that in exchange for entitlement reform, Republicans must agree to additional revenue, though judging by the House GOP’s budget proposal released today, that’s sure to be a challenge.  -  Read more at Politico

DEMS PITCH ANOTHER CARBON TAX PLAN      Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif, introduced a new bill Tuesday that places a tax on carbon emissions. Though carbon taxes traditionally have a hard time going anywhere in Washington, Waxman’s bill seems to be gaining some attention. The bill includes three potential per-ton prices for carbon pollution, $15, $25 or $30, and a range of annual cost increases from 2 percent to 8 percent a year, aimed at reducing  greenhouse gas levels over time.   -  Read more at The New York Times

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Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.