Today is dispassionately described as Budget Day by reporters, wonks, and politicians. Really it’s just the day that the President of the United States releases, as required by law, a budget for the federal government. During times like these – election year, non-uniform partisan control of Congress – it’s particularly inconsequential as a specific budget matter. Congress will do whatever it wants to do, which means little to nothing in the President’s budget will be enacted, and yet we’ll hear non-stop campaign rhetoric taking such an inconsequential bundle of papers way too seriously. Anyway, it’s important politically but in terms of policy implications fairly irrelevant.
I don’t have the time to go in depth about the plan, but plenty of others have done the legwork for us. If you interested in reading the entire thing (bless you if have the stomach for it) you can find a copy here. Otherwise I wanted to point out a graphical comparison done by Ezra Klein:
Ezra uses the Ryan budget plan from last year, and of course as part of the House Budget Committee he’ll release a version this year. But like Obama’s budget, pretty much everyone expects the 2013 House GOP variant to include the same policy ideas as before. One thing being lost in the rhetoric is that either scenario (Obama, Ryan) total spending as a percentage of GDP goes down, and total debt will still rise – albeit less than current policy. Let me write that again…both Democratic and Republican plans would see total debt rise by 2022. So please keep that in mind when you hear (as I did earlier today from my Senator) denouncements of Obama and radical debt increases.