The budget will, among other things, come as a huge relief to Democrats who were starting to feel a bit of postpartisan depression. The stimulus bill that Congress passed may have been too weak and too focused on tax cuts. The administration’s refusal to get tough on the banks may be deeply disappointing. But fears that Mr. Obama would sacrifice progressive priorities in his budget plans, and satisfy himself with fiddling around the edges of the tax system, have now been banished.
Best thing about budget: It seeks to make wealthy people pay significantly more taxes, after decades of cuts for those in the highest tax bracket. The New York Times estimates that “the most affluent Americans will see their tax burden rise by $1 trillion over 10 years under Mr. Obama’s budget.” (And when you hear conservatives screaming that tax increases will hit the middle-class and small business owners, consult this item by Matthew Yglesias.)
Worst thing about the budget: It doesn’t begin to challenge the biggest entitlement program of them all, otherwise known as the defense budget (which actually increases by one percent, to $664 billion.) Every rational analyst knows that the defense budget is wildly inflated; the U.S. spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined and more (in real terms) than it has since World War II. And the Pentagon needs more?