Obama Unveils His Final Annual Budget Proposal

Published March 16, 2016

In his final annual budget proposal, President Barack Obama proposes significant spending increases, higher crude oil production taxes, and other tax hikes on individuals and businesses.

Federal lawmakers such as U.S. Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) and U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the respective chairmen of the U.S. House and Senate Budget Committees, have declined to hold any hearings on Obama’s budget plan, effectively stopping the proposal before it can be voted on.

Obama’s proposal was released in February.

Jonathan Bydlak, the president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, says Obama’s budget plan is irresponsible.

“Any budget that would spend more than $4 trillion, almost by definition, foregoes any reasonable semblance of fiscal responsibility,” Bydlak said. “But what’s more noteworthy is the budget’s reliance on rosy growth projections from the Office of Management and Budget that stand in stark contrast to those of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.”

Wishful Thinking

“By assuming higher rates of growth, the president’s budget is conveniently able to assume away larger deficits as a share of [Gross Domestic Product]. Add to that expected growth from the adoption of the president’s immigration agenda, which is unlikely to be enacted, and no adverse economic impact from new capital gains taxes and you have a budget that doesn’t reflect reality. Indeed, the budget relies almost entirely on tax hikes, rather than spending reduction, to reduce the deficit.”

Romina Boccia, deputy director of The Heritage Foundation’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, says Obama’s budget will add trillions of dollars in new spending.

“Under President Obama’s plan, spending will grow from the 2016 fiscal year level of $3.9 trillion, as reported in the Congressional Budget Office’s latest budget and economic projections, to $6.5 trillion in 2026,” Boccia said.

Very Small Silver Lining

Boccia says Obama’s budget does offer some small positive changes.

“The federal crop insurance program, an epitome of cronyism, is the largest agricultural program, costing about $8.5 billion a year,” Boccia said. “While Obama’s 2017 budget does little to address this out-of-control program, it would reduce the amount of the premium subsidy by 10 percent for farmers who select a revenue-based policy with the ‘harvest price option.’

“Reducing premium subsidies for revenue coverage with the harvest price option is a very small step in the right direction, but it is a far cry from what is needed,” Boccia said.

Calls for Better Ideas

Boccia says Congress can come up with far better ideas than what Obama has offered.

“Congress’ 2017 budget resolution should repeal Obamacare in its entirety,” Boccia said. “Repeal is essential to getting the nation’s health care entitlement spending under control and necessary for laying the groundwork for market-based and patient-centered health care reform.”

Boccia says taxpayers are entitled to expect their tax dollars to be used wisely.

“The American people have a rightful expectation that Congress and federal agencies will be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Boccia said. “Wasteful spending and duplication is estimated to consume about $200 billion annually, or 5 percent of the budget. Eliminating wasteful spending where possible and strengthening controls and punishments for agency mismanagement helps to establish the moral authority to reduce spending in politically popular but fiscally unsustainable programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.” 

Dustin Siggins ([email protected]) writes from Washington, DC.