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Statement by Robert Greenstein, Executive Director, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on the President's 2010 Budget Proposal
Date:2/27/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Robert Greenstein, Executive Director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

The President's budget represents a bold and courageous proposal to make progress in restoring fiscal discipline while addressing two central problems of our time -- a broken health care system and the threat of catastrophic global warming -- and other national needs.

Particularly courageous are several proposals that take on vested interests to fully pay for the costs of health care reform and tackling global warming, including:

  • Instituting major cost-saving reforms in Medicare that also hold promise for slowing private-sector health care costs and are consistent with recommendations of Congress' expert advisory body, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Faced with intense opposition from insurance companies and other interests, Congress has shied away from such proposals, but the new Administration has embraced them. The budget also includes a sound, longstanding Republican proposal -- to increase the premiums that affluent Medicare beneficiaries pay for the prescription drug benefit that Medicare provides them.
  • Limiting various tax subsidies to the most affluent Americans to 28 cents on the dollar. Currently, middle-income Americans receive a tax subsidy equal to 10 cents or 15 cents for each dollar of their deductible expenses (if they itemize deductions at all), while affluent Americans get a subsidy of 35 cents for each dollar of the same expenses. The budget would cap the subsidy at 28 cents on the dollar for those with incomes over $250,000, the same rate at which those expenses could be deducted in the final Reagan years, when the top tax rates were lower. As a result, incentives to incur those expenses would be the same as under President Reagan.
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SOURCE Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
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