Tallahassee Journal

Obama: $4 trillion budget replaces ‘mindless austerity’

Obama: $4 trillion budget replaces ‘mindless austerity’

President Obama unveiled a nearly $4 trillion budget that is “designed to bring middle class economics into the 21st Century” through new programs to be financed by higher taxes on the wealthy. While unlikely to pass the Republican Congress, the budget calls for new tax credits and other initiatives devoted to education, child care, paid leave, and infrastructure, with tax hikes resulting from the closure of certain loopholes.GTY 158441009 A CLJ POL USA CT

The plan includes a $478 billion public works infrastructure program for roads, bridges, and transit systems, to be financed by taxes on overseas earnings. The president also wants to put an end to the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. “I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America,” Obama said in a speech at the Department of Homeland Security. “I’m not going to accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward. It would be bad for our security, and bad for our growth.”

Congressional Republicans said the president’s proposals — many of which leaked out in advance of Monday’s announcement — involve too many tax hikes and high-spending programs. “The president said in his State of the Union that the proposals in his budget would be ‘filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan,’ ” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “Turns out that’s not the case.”

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Sunday on NBC’s Meet The Press that Obama is trying to “exploit envy economics. … It may make for good politics. It doesn’t make for good economic growth.