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Tipsheet

Obama Set to Release Budget Plan on Monday

President Obama's 2013 budget proposal is set for release on Monday, and it is chock full of new fees, tax hikes, and spending projects. Here are a few snippets of what to expect tomorrow, courtesy of ABC News:

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The White House is focusing on re-election themes such as jobs and public works projects in President Barack Obama's new budget blueprint while relying on familiar but never enacted tax increases on the wealthy and corporations to reduce future deficits after four years of trillion dollar-plus shortfalls.

Obama's 2013 budget, set for release Monday, is the official start to an election-year budget battle with Republicans. It's unlikely to result in a genuine effort to address the $15 trillion national debt or the entrenched deficits that keep piling on to it. But it will serve as the Democrats' party-defining template on this year's election stakes.

The president's plan is laden with stimulus-style initiatives: sharp increases for highway construction and school modernization, and a new tax credit for businesses that add jobs. But it avoids sacrifice with only minimal curbs on the unsustainable growth of Medicare even as it proposes a 10-year, $61 billion "financial crisis responsibility fee" on big banks to recoup the 2008 Wall Street bailout.

In addition to infrastructure spending and the 'financial crisis responsibility fee', the budget will include a 'takeoff fee' for airplanes (including private jets), and a ten month extension of jobless benefits and the payroll tax holiday. As a means of paying for all this, the budget proposes implementing the Buffett Rule and $1 trillion in war savings. Unfortunately, both will turn out to be gimmicks. $476 billion of 'war savings' is already supposed to pay for infrastructure projects. As for the Buffett tax, good luck getting Congress to pass it.

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So it looks like instead we will get more of the same spending without any means of paying for it. If Obama's budget were passed in its existing form, it projects a $1.3 trillion deficit in 2012 and $901 billion deficit in 2013. I will say this for the President, however: at least he is still proposing budgets. This is more than can be said for the Senate which is currently punting on spending for a third year in a row.

Democrats controlling the Senate appear unlikely to offer a budget at all, for a third straight year. Instead, they are already planning to use last year's budget pact to determine the size of the pie and divide it into 12 annual appropriations bills that set the day-to-day budgets for Cabinet agencies. The move allows 16 Senate Democrats facing re-election to avoid having to make difficult votes on taxes and spending.

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