Barack Obama has set out the battles lines over the economy in this year's presidential election by proposing a budget that favours stimulus spending over austerity, and commits to the increasingly popular demand to raise taxes on the rich.
The president laid out $4tn in cuts to the deficit over the next decade as he seeks to reassure the large number of swing voters and conservative Democrats that he is serious about reining in government spending – a primary source of attack by Republican presidential contenders.
But, in a speech in Virginia in support of the proposals on Monday, Obama said a fresh wave of cuts should be delayed until the economy is in better shape to absorb them. In the meantime he proposes new investment in education, jobs and infrastructure, in part paid for by cuts to military spending with the end of the war in Iraq.
"The main idea in the budget is this: at a time when our economy is growing and creating jobs at a faster clip, we've got to do everything in our power to keep this recovery on track. Part of our job is to bring down our deficit and if Congress adopts this budget then along with the cuts we've already made then we'll be able to reduce out deficit by $4tn by the year 2022," he said. "By reducing our deficit in the long term, what that allows us to do is to invest in the things that will help grow our economy right now. We can't cut back on those things that are important for us to grow. We can't just cut our way in to growth."
I personally think its about time that the democrats stopped compromising and started pulling back, so the news that Obama is going for higher taxes on the rich and funding more infrastructure sounds good to me. We've been seeing the signs for a while though, so it shouldn't be a surprise for many that it happens now. It is more a campaign trick than a real budget, as the chances of it being passed right off the bat are minimal.
Hopefully this will turn the focus back on economic politics instead of red herrings like gay marriage, abortion, immigration and all the other things that makes "conservatives" froth around the mouth.