The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 10, 2013

Obama budget: Trim Social Security, tax wealthy

(Continued)

In the tax area, Obama's budget would also implement the "Buffett Rule" requiring that households with incomes of more than $1 million pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.

Congress and the administration have already secured $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years through budget reductions and with the end-of-year tax increase on the rich. Obama's plan would bring that total to $4.3 trillion over 10 years.

It is unlikely that Congress will get down to serious budget negotiations until this summer, when the government once again will be confronted with the need to raise the government's borrowing limit or face the prospect of a first-ever default on U.S. debt.

As part of the administration's effort to win over Republicans, Obama will have a private dinner at the White House with about a dozen GOP senators Wednesday night. The budget is expected to be a primary topic, along with proposed legislation dealing with gun control and immigration.

Early indications are that the budget negotiations will be intense. Republicans have been adamant in their rejection of higher taxes, arguing that the $660 billion increase on top earners that was part of the late December agreement to prevent the government from going over the "fiscal cliff" is all the new revenue they will tolerate.

The administration maintains that Obama's proposal is balanced with the proper mix of spending cuts and tax increases.

Obama has presided over four straight years of annual deficits totaling more than $1 trillion, reflecting in part the lost revenue during a deep recession and the government's efforts to get the economy going again and stabilize the financial system.

The budget plan already passed by the GOP-controlled House projects reaching balance in 2023, a year in which Obama's proposal projects a $439 billion deficit. The budget outline approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate tracks more closely to the Obama proposal, although it does not include changes to the cost-of-living formula for Social Security.

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