Monday Note: April 8

Budget, Guns, Immigration

Paul Brandus (Apr. 8, 2013)

Everybody’s angry: Both left and right are already attacking President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal, which comes out this week.

  • The right is upset because Obama’s proposing $580 billion in new taxes on the rich, by closing certain loopholes and deductions.
  • The left is upset because: Obama’s proposing cutting big-ticket government programs like Medicare, Social Security and benefits for veterans programs.

The combination of taxes and cuts would cut deficits $1.8 trillion over a decade without harming the economy, the White House says,  The $1.8 trillion would replace the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts (the so-called “sequester”) that are now underway.

The President said over the weekend that his plan provides new money for public works projects, early education and job training – all of which will help the economy long-term – while scrapping certain tax breaks for the wealthy. His plan wouldn’t cut spending on programs for the poor, the elderly and veterans, but it does cut the rate of growth of those programs.

Irritating both sides is “a compromise I’m willing to accept in order to move beyond a cycle of short-term, crisis-driven decision-making, and focus on growing our economy and our middle class for the long run,” Obama said over the weekend.

Counting reductions and higher taxes that Congress and Obama have approved since 2011, the 2014 budget would contribute $4.3 trillion to total deficit reduction by 2023.

Gun Safety

President Obama heads to Connecticut today for a gun safety event; the White House has multiple events planned this week – part of its campaign to keep a spotlight on guns. Sandy Hook parents, who appeared last night on “60 Minutes,” will meet with the President today; they'll also be in Washington this week to lobby lawmakers. 

Congress Returns

Lawmakers will get a look at the Obama budget this week when they return from a two-week break. The Senate is back in session today, the House tomorrow. Also high on the Congressional agenda: gun safety and immigration reform. The former doesn’t appear to be going anywhere; but a deal on immigration continues to move forward. The Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" is preparing to release its long-awaited plan for resolving the status of 11 million undocumented men, women, and children (“illegals” some say).

Here’s what immigration reform is likely to look like:

  • A 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumenteds: 10 years to get a green card, and another three years to gain citizenship.
  • Undocumented workers would have to pay a fine and back taxes, and pass a background check. The size of the fine remains unclear.

President’s Approval Near Post-Election Lows

  • 48.0% approve
  • 46.9% don't (Real Clear Politics avg of all recent polls)

Gasoline Prices Continue to Fall

AAA says the national average for a gallon of regular is now $3.60. That’s down .01 in a week, down .11 in a month and down .33 in a year


Gasoline prices remain well below July 2008 high of $4.11. Adjusted for inflation, that's about $4.53 in 2013 terms


Demand for gasoline in the U.S. continues to fall – and since we’re not using all that we have, refiners continue to export finished products (gasoline, diesel and jet fuel) to thirsty overseas markets where prices are higher.

-Paul Brandus



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