The Woodward News

Local News

March 5, 2014

Obama offers budget designed to rally Democrats

(Continued)

Woodward, Okla. — But many Republicans complained that the $496 billion proposed for Department of Defense core operations — a freeze at current levels — falls woefully short. The proposal would shrink the Army from 490,000 active-duty soldiers to 440,000-450,000 over the coming five years, take away helicopters and other equipment from the National Guard, cut purchases of the much-criticized littoral combat ship by almost 40 percent and retire the Air Force's A-10 attack aircraft.

Obama also requests $79 billion for overseas military operations related to Afghanistan and Iraq, but he says a more detailed request will follow, so that figure is likely to change.

In a move aimed at narrowing the gap between America's rich and poor, Obama's budget devotes $60 billion over the coming decade to expand the earned income tax credit, boosting the maximum amount available to childless people from $500 to $1,000. The administration says it would help 13.5 million workers. It would lower the age at which people can claim the credit from 24 to 21 and permit older workers to claim it through age 67 instead of 65 now.

Most of the expansion of the tax credit would be for people who owe no income taxes and would receive the credit as a payment.

The plan relies on tax increases and modest spending cut such as curbing payments to Medicare providers to bring the budget deficit to sustainable levels of below 2 percent of the size of the economy by 2023.

Obama's budget would raise taxes by more than $1 trillion over the next decade through a mix of tax cuts for the working poor and increases on the rich. He also claims $456 billion over that period in revenue from immigration reform as new immigrants pay taxes. There's another $248 billion claimed by repealing a host of business tax breaks, but the budget promises to devote that revenue to lowering corporate tax rates.

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