I decided not to comment immediately on the Obama 2014 released last week because I thought the usual instant micro analysis of what the president proposed was likely to be largely besides the point..
The Obama 2014 budget has far less to do with what was proposed than almost any other presidential budget in history. It's real purpose...and value...comes from understanding it as a document designed to drive a wedge between House and Senate Republicans.
To a certain extent it's hard to understand why more of the people who comment on the federal budget -- that is, almost all of Washington -- didn't get the fact that the individual proposals in the Obama plan weren't the big story. Regardless of the reasons for it being so late (some were legitimate, some were not), a president's budget that's sent to Congress more than two months after the statutory deadline and after the House and Senate have already adopted their own budget resolutions should never be analyzed in the same way as other presidential budgets have been. It simply won't -- or can't -- have the same micro impact on the budget debate even if it was going to declared dead on arrival anyway.
The Obama fiscal 2014 budget will be released today.
Because of the White House-generated leaks about the Obama budget, it has already been denounced by Republicans for proposing revenue increases and by Democrats for proposing a change in the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for Social Security.
Because the House and Senate have already adopted their own budget resolutions, the administration's budget may not even be voted on.
It's not impossible; in fact, there are GOP plans in the works in the Senate to make voting on the president's budget part of any effort to raise the debt ceiling when it's reached later this year. And Democrats might want a symbolic vote on the Obama budget just so they can oppose the president's Social Security proposal.
This week's most frequently repeated description of the Obama fiscal 2014 budget, which is scheduled to be released this Wednesday, April 10, will be something close to "...which was sent to Congress more than two months after the statutory February 4 deadline..."
Yes, the budget is very late. Yes, this may be the latest any president has ever sent his budget to Congress since the Congressional Budget Act became law in 1974. And, yes, in spite of the fiscal cliff at the beginning of January and the sequester on March 1, both of which got in the way of the typical presidential budget formulation process, this extreme delay is more than just a little hard to fathom.
Having said that, the only real difference the delay to April will make in this year's debate is that it deprived House and Senate Republicans from declaring the president's budget dead on arrival in February.
I'll be on CSPAN's Washington Journal this Sunday from 745 to 845 am EDT taking questions from all my fans (and probably more than a few critics).
If you're awake at that hour and have an EASY question...please call in.
Mention Capital Gains and Games and you get a discount.