What’s in President Obama’s 2015 Budget, and Why Should We Care?

President Obama in the Oval Office/ White House Flickr

By Ben West-Weyner

On March 4, President Obama announced his proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2015.

The budget process is a long and complex one, but transparency in that process is key to the integrity of our Democracy. The first step in maintaining that transparency is developing an understanding of the President’s proposition, from which legislators will make their revisions.

In short, the President’s proposal:

  • Spends $549 billion on the military, a more than five percent increase from 2014. Fifty-eight percent of Americans would support substantial reductions in military spending.

  • Raises $37 billion in 2015 by tightening tax breaks for wealthy taxpayers, plus $43 billion over ten years by limiting corporate loopholes in the tax code. Two-thirds of voters support closing corporate tax loopholes and limiting tax breaks for the wealthy.

  • Expands the Earned Income Tax Credit (a successful anti-poverty program) to benefit roughly 13.5 million additional low-income workers at a cost of $60 billion over 10 years. Forty-nine percent of Americans prioritize policies that help low-income households.

  • Spends $66 billion over 10 years to expand pre-kindergarten education and Head Start. Strengthening the educational system is a top priority for 69 percent of Americans.

  • Runs a deficit of $561 billion in 2015, or about 3.1 percent of the economy, as compared to the 2.8 percent average over the last 50 years.  Reducing the budget deficit has become less of a priority for Americans, dropping from 72 percent last year, to 63 percent this year.

After getting through Congress, the final version of the budget will likely look very different from this initial blueprint; but the changes legislators make should reflect your priorities, not their political agenda. Let your representative know what you think about the President’s plan, and urge them to consider your ideas. After all, they’re your tax dollars!

For further analysis of the proposal, click here.