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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

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The budget also deserves high marks for transparency and honesty. Gone are the gimmicks that have been an annual feature of both Presidential and Congressional budgets, under which policymakers pretended to reduce deficits markedly over time by omitting costs in the "out years" for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, natural disasters, and continued relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax and the scheduled reductions in Medicare fees for doctors -- and by printing in the budget numbers for the costs of discretionary programs in the out years that everyone knew were unrealistically low.

Those gimmicks, sleights-of-hand, and convenient omissions are absent from this budget. Its greater realism and transparency makes the President's pledge to cut the deficit in half in four years a meaningful one; we will now know each year whether we are on course to meet that goal.

The budget also provides needed investments in key areas for long-term economic growth, such as energy efficiency and early childhood education. And it proposes savings from lower priority programs such as bloated agricultural subsidies and from unwarranted tax breaks, such as one that millionaire equity fund managers have exploited to pay taxes at lower rates than many middle-income families and others that benefit oil companies. The budget also follows in the tradition of the 1990 and 1993 deficit-reduction laws in both shrinking the deficit and reducing poverty, which is higher in the United States than in other Western nations.

Predictable but Unfounded Criticisms

The budget already is facing several lines of attack that rest on inaccurate or misleading charges. Chief among them is the claim that the tax increases for people who make over $250,000 will seriously injure small businesses.

In fact, small businesses would win under this budget. Tax Policy Center data show that fewer than one
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SOURCE Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
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