Debate Club

Has President Obama Given Away Too Much In His Budget?

Has President Obama Given Away Too Much In His Budget?

The Obama administration yesterday released its fiscal year 2014 budget which, unlike previous efforts, attempts to codify what Obama believes a "grand bargain" with the GOP would look like. Instead of a wish list of administration priorities, the document proposes many of the concessions Obama reportedly offered to Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, during previous budget negotiations.

Obama has emphasized that this budget is not his "ideal plan," but rather a roadmap to a compromise. For example, the budget calls for using so-called "chained-CPI" to calculate inflation adjustments for Social Security and new changes to Medicare (in addition to those already adopted as part of the Affordable Care Act), which the administration thinks Republicans should accept in return for agreeing to new revenue.

But liberal lawmakers and organizations are, to put it mildly, displeased. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has already said he "will do everything in my power" to prevent the changes to Social Security from coming to pass. "Real Democrats don't cut Social Security benefits, period, and it's positively shameful that a Democratic president is leading the charge to do so," added Jim Dean, chairman of Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee.

Republicans, meanwhile, have displayed an array of responses to the budget. Boehner said the president "does deserve some credit for some incremental entitlement reforms that he has outlined," but went on to say "I would hope that he would not hold hostage these modest reforms for his demand for bigger tax hikes." Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called the document "a blueprint for a recession," while Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said it "destroys jobs, depresses wages, and diminishes opportunity."

So did Obama give away too much? Here is the Debate Club's take:


The Arguments

#1
22 Pts
Obama Accepts the Agenda of Misguided Washington Elites

Yes – Obama Accepts the Agenda of Misguided Washington Elites

Dean Baker Codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

#2
6 Pts
Obama's Budget is Bad Policy and Bad Politics

Yes – Obama's Budget is Bad Policy and Bad Politics

Andrew Fieldhouse Federal Budget Policy Analyst at the Economic Policy Institute

#3
4 Pts
Obama Gives the GOP What It Hasn't Asked For

Yes – Obama Gives the GOP What It Hasn't Asked For

Robert Reich Professor of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley

#4
-2 Pts
More Smoke and Mirrors From Obama's Latest Budget

No – More Smoke and Mirrors From Obama's Latest Budget

Douglas Holtz-Eakin President of the American Action Forum

#5
0 Pts
The President's Budget Is No Move Toward the Center

No – The President's Budget Is No Move Toward the Center

James Capretta Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center


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