Woodward, Okla. — The largest tax increase would limit deductions for high-income taxpayers, raising $600 billion over the next decade. Obama has proposed that tax hike in every one of his budgets, only to have it die in Congress.
In fact, the vast majority of Obama's tax proposals are reruns. Of the 175 or so tax provisions, only 28 are new. Taxes would also be raised on large estates, financial institutions would pay $56 billion over a decade through a "financial crisis responsibility fee," smokers would pay 94 cents more a pack in cigarette taxes and managers of private investment funds would see their income taxed as wages instead of investments.
The budget also contains a four-year $302 billion plan to boost spending on highways, rail projects and mass transit. Both the administration and House Republicans propose using one-time revenue from a tax on the overseas profits of U.S. companies to finance a renewal of surface transportation programs after they expire at the end of September; the administration claims $150 billion for such purposes. But the money is contingent on a broader overhaul of the corporate tax code, which may be a stretch in an election year.
There are lots of other initiatives sprinkled throughout, including a 10-year, $66 billion plan to fund preschool for all 4-year-olds, $30 million in the upcoming year to hire young people and veterans to repair and improve national parks and a "New Career Pathways" initiative to try to help as many as 1 million unemployed workers get new jobs.
And NASA would put aside $15 million — a small amount — to begin work on a new robotic mission to Europa, the moon on Jupiter where many scientists think there may be life. NASA won't say how much the project will eventually cost but it's likely to be significant.
The president's spending plan also takes credit for reducing accumulated deficits over coming decade by $2.2 trillion. Nearly one-third of that comes from claimed savings from the end of the U.S. war in Iraq and the gradual withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.