President Barack Obama has proposed a $3.77 trillion budget for 2014 that is intended to trim deficits by almost $2 trillion over the next 10 years.
But that’s just part of the story: When deficits get cut, that means spending is reduced, and when spending is reduced, that means someone is going to feel the pinch.
The tricky part for the President is figuring out how to allow for greater spending in areas he favors, such as early education, while slashing the price tag on other controversial programs and initiatives.
Budget watchers know that President Obama’s budget is only a proposal that will be modified repeatedly by the time lawmakers on Capitol Hill approve it. Still, the President’s budget — as with all presidents — will show where his priorities lie and give political rivals a clear map to attempt to block him.
If you aren’t clear on what all the budget hoopla is about, NewsOne‘s got you covered with seven key highlights of President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal below.
Rich Will Feel Some Pain – In general, a greater burden will fall on high-income earners who will see their taxes increase. One way that will happen is through capping the value of itemized deductions. In years past, someone in the 39.6 percent tax bracket used to save $39.60 for a $100 deduction. Under the 2014 budget, they will save just $28.
You know Republicans will howl that measure unfairly burdens the rich, but since President Obama won re-election, he gets to call the shots on who will bear the greatest tax hit. Sorry, GOP.
Smokers, Beware – Cigarette smokers will be seeing red if Obama’s effort to nearly double the tax on cigarettes is adopted. The current tax of $1.01 per pack would balloon to $1.95, and the added revenue would go toward expanding pre-K education and child health programs. If the higher tax forced some smokers to give up the habit, Obama and health experts wouldn’t complain. Still, don’t expect lawmakers from tobacco states to take this proposal lying down.
Filling Potholes – To help cut unemployment and address the nation’s crumbling roadways, President Obama has proposed that $166 billion be spent over the next decade to repair and build roads and railway systems.
If It’s Hot, Open The Window – President Obama is seeking a $452 million cut to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the program that helps poor families heat and cool their homes.
Gun Safety – On the heels of the Newtown, Conn., shooting tragedy, new gun-safety programs for state and local governments would be funded by $222 million in new spending.
Calling Luke Skywalker – A new $78 million program will fund the creation of robots that will redirect small asteroids headed toward Earth. This might sound like pie-in-the-sky, but if you remember the scary images of the space junk that buzzed Russia months ago and caused millions in damage, Obama can’t build those robots fast enough.
Give Veterans A Break – No department of the U.S. government is as poorly served as the Veterans Administration (VA). Consequently, President Obama is trying to give veterans a much-deserved break by increasing the VA budget by $63 billion. The funds won’t be enough to give veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan the treatment and rehabilitation services they deserve, but it is a step in the right direction.