Raise your hand if you're surprised by any of this:
Senate Democrats are drafting a federal budget blueprint that would raise nearly $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade and slice roughly $1 trillion more from projected spending, according to Democratic aides familiar with the document. But the framework would never bring the budget into balance, potentially putting Democrats on the defensive as Washington enters a new phase in the ongoing battle over the swollen national debt. This week, both parties are scheduled to unveil competing visions for the 10-year period that begins Oct. 1. House Republicans have made wiping out deficits their top priority, and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) plans to offer a framework Tuesday that would do so entirely through spending cuts.
Democrats have mocked that approach, calling it unfair to middle-class Americans and damaging to the economy. Instead, President Obama and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have called for a “balanced” approach that mixes tax hikes and spending cuts with new investments in infrastructure and education. Murray plans to unveil her budget proposal on Wednesday, marking the first time Senate Democrats have drafted a budget since 2009. Aides said Murray will not offer explicit policies for raising new revenue or trimming expensive health programs, but will instead leave those details to other committees, including the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee
Indeed, Democrats have "mocked" the Republican proposal, which balances the budget within ten years, reforms unsustainable entitlements, and reduces the rate of overall spending increases from 4.9 percent to 3.4 percent annually. Hilarious. Our moral and intellectual betters much prefer a "balanced approach," which...never balances, even after shoveling another trillion dollars in tax hikes onto the American people. How, exactly, does the Reid/Murray budget intend to raise those revenues? They reportedly won't say. But surely they'll offer some specific plan on "trimming expensive health programs," right? Wrong. They'll punt both decision sets to "other committees," which (a) defeats the purpose of budgeting, and (b) always works! Phil Klein is beginning to suspect that these Senate Democrats aren't especially serious people:
Unfortunately, according to the National Journal, Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray’s budget is “expected to offer only broad outlines of many of the (Democratic) party’s usual talking points.” According to the report, Murray’s budget will raise taxes, call for more economic stimulus spending, largely ignore reforms to entitlements, undo automatic spending cuts (i.e. sequestration) and rely on phony savings such as winding down the war in Afghanistan (as if the nation would otherwise be at full strength in Afghanistan for the next decade). So, after four years of avoidance, Senate Democrats are finally putting out a document called a “budget.” But it’s unlikely to represent a serious attempt to get the nation’s debt problem under control.
More spending, higher taxes, new "stimulus" projects, and budget gimmicks to paper over fiscal realities. Super. As for Senate Republicans' efforts to amend the their colleagues' budget, Sen. Ron Johnson says Chairman Murray won't permit GOP members of her committee to even see the document until the day of the truncated mark-up session:
What's a real shame here is we're not even going to be able to see that budget until after we make our opening statements in the budget committee mark-up, so we're going to be expected to propose amendments to a budget we've never even seen...All the Republicans on the budget committee sent a letter to Senator Patty Murray asking, 'could we at least see it 72 hours before we have to sit down and start amending it?' The answer was no.
The fundamental problem, of course, is that Democrats are wedded to the dangerous fantasy that our entitlement state can be sustained so long as "the rich" pay their "fair share" as part of a "balanced approach." That math doesn't add up. Not even close. Still, many liberals in Congress are vowing to oppose any plan that reforms a program like Medicare, which will be insolvent in 11 years if these Democrats have their way. By swearing to "protect" these programs through stubborn resistance to reform, they're actually dooming them. Either they're ignorant of the math, or they're happy to grandstand for temporary political advantage. If it's the latter, the expiration date for these reckless theatrics grows closer with each passing day. I'll leave you with this National Journal piece, marking another historic "accomplishment" by President Obama:
Over the next few days, Senate Democrats and House Republicans will unveil starkly different proposals for how to fund the government in the next fiscal year. It will be the first time since 2009 that the Senate majority party has released a budget proposal. The dueling congressional proposals will come as President Obama still has not yet set a date for the release of his budget blueprint. This year, in fact, will mark the first time that the Congress--and not the president--will kick off the budget process. The modern executive budget process, requiring an annual White House budget submission to Congress, was established under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. The law also created the agency that would eventually become the White House Office of Management and Budget. And, every year since then...the president’s submission has represented the start of the budget process--until now. The tradition was broken after the White House missed the early February deadline for sending the president's proposed budget to Congress. Missing that deadline is not unusual: Obama has done it three years running...But letting Congress start the budget process has never happened in modern times.
Leading from behind, in violation of the law. It's incredible that these numbers aren't even lower.
UPDATE - The Hill confirms that Senate Democrats' budget will raise taxes by $1 trillion. The story notes that the plan only amounts to $800 billion in deficit reduction over ten years -- so where did all those tax hikes go? To bankroll new spending, of course, including roughly $100 billion in infrastructure projects. Wow:
The first budget from Senate Democrats in four years includes nearly $1 trillion in new taxes but would not balance the budget. The blueprint unveiled by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Tuesday to her Democratic colleagues would also turn off the next nine years of the sequester and replace those spending cuts with a 50-50 mix of tax increases and spending cuts. The budget would dedicate $100 billion to economic stimulus in the form of infrastructure spending and job training. Murray argues that her budget cuts $1.85 trilion from deficits over ten years. But once the sequester cuts are turned off, Murray’s budget appears to reduce deficits by about $800 billion, using the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline. The Murray budget does not contain net spending cuts with the sequester turned off.
Mighty fine work from the people who recently brought you a "deficit reduction" plan that increased the deficit.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography