President Obama has submitted a budget to Congress — but wait, there’s more. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already has said there’s no reason for a budget because we’ve gotten along without one for more than 1,000 days.
So, why is the president bothering? Well, it’s an election year, and not having a budget during the majority of one’s first term isn’t exactly a great record to run on.
His chief of staff, Jack Lew, says the only reason the country doesn’t have a budget now is that the Senate only has 60 Democrat votes. Oh, the poor Democrats. It takes ... let’s see ... how many votes to pass a budget? Uh, 51 at last count. Lew told a CNN interviewer that “unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed.” Since Lew is a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, you would think he would know what he said is wrong.
What he was really saying is this: Obama isn’t very good at governing, even among his own party. He had trouble getting things passed when he had solid majorities in both the Senate and the House. Without those majorities, he seems to have more of a struggle.
The budget he has proposed has a $1.3 trillion deficit, which means the government will have to continue to borrow massive sums to operate. While a deficit may not be avoidable, Democrats who have to stand for re-election this year don’t want to have that on their record.
His proposed tax increases on the incomes of the wealthier Americans, which is part of the budget plan, also ought to be able to get through a 60-majority Senate in no time flat. The problem for Obama is, not all that many Democrats are sold on the idea of raising taxes on those who already pay the majority of income taxes.