The First Senate Budget in Four Years Is Not Worth The Wait

The Senate Democrats have, after four long years, finally released an actual budget document. It's not worth the wait. It proposes spending $3.7 trillion in 2014, a number it grows to $5.7 trillion in 2023. It calls for almost a trillion dollars in new taxes over the same period.

The one interesting thing about it is something that has been completely overlooked in most news accounts: When it comes to next year's spending and taxes, it is virtually indistinguishable from the GOP's rival plan.

Four years! William Faulkner published The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, and Light in August in a four-year span. The Beatles released Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's, Magical Mystery Tour, the "White album," and Abbey Road (plus other music) over four years. Even after turning 65, Clint Eastwood has managed to direct as many as five movies during any given four-year period.

The Senate Democrats' budget, led in this effort by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), is called "Foundation for Growth: Restoring the Promise of American Opportunity." They should be ashamed of themselves if this took more than few long nights to pull together. With the tin-eared chutzpah native to majority members in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body, the document proclaims

The Fiscal Year 2014 Senate Budget builds on the work done over the last two years to create jobs, invest in broad-based economic growth, and tackle our deficit and debt responsibly.

Here's a news flash for the Senate Democrats (and the rest of Congress): If you're proposing more of whatever it is you've been up to over the past two years or since 2009, when you last submitted a budget, thanks but no thanks.

Click on the link above to read through the turgid verbiage that surrounds the document, which pretends to bring some semblance of restraint and responsibility despite proposing nearly a trillion dollars in new taxes over the coming decade and increasing annual government outlays from this year's estimated $3.6 trillion to $5.7 trillion in 2023 (for the summary tables that lay out actual spending and revenues, go here).

If these folks can seriously claim that for a document that proposes to increase annual budgets by 58 percent in current dollars over the next decade and keep a straight face, they should be auditioning for a new run of Make Me Laugh. It's sad enough when the GOP proposes to jack spending by over 40 percent in the name of smaller government, but this is simply ridiculous.

Judging by the press coverage of the budget, you would be hard-pressed to have any idea what the Democrats propose for 2014, the one year that would actually be covered by a budget bill. This sort of weird and frustrating oversight is typical of all accounts related to budgets plans. A lot of the coverage of GOP House plan released earlier this week, for instance, mentioned that Paul Ryan's budget would radically alter Medicare in 2024 - a year that is not even covered in the 10-year "budget window" annual budget documents present. It was a lot harder to simply find out what the Republicans propose to spend and raise in 2014 than it was to hear about all the deficit reduction etc. that a single-year budget plan was going to create over the next decade.

The same is true with the Democrat's plan. Check out this representative CNN Money story on "What's in the Democrats' Budget?" and you'll find all sorts of fun calculations of how much the plan cuts deficits as a percentage of GDP, how much it raises in tax revenues through 2023, and more. What you won't find is a simple declaration of what the Senate Democrats say they want to spend next year and how much they want to raise in tax revenues.

mercatus.orgmercatus.orgFor the record, those figures are $3.7 trillion and $3 trillion respectively.

Arguably the most interesting thing - perhaps the only interesting thing - about those numbers is how close they are to the 2014 numbers in the GOP budget, which proposes spending $3.5 trillion next year while raising $3 trillion in revenue (see Table S-1 here). That's the real news in this budget season: The Senate Dems and the House GOP are just $200 billion apart on the spending side for the coming fiscal year. Both sides - and the president of course, who has already sworn to stand against any spending or "grand bargain" that might "gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid" - could very quickly come to an agreement on next year's budget, upon which there seems to be almost complete agreement.

After that, they could actually start seriously and openly debating matters such as reforming the tax code (all sides agree it needs a fundamental rethink), what to do about entitlements (all sides agree that Medicare especially threatens fiscal stability), and how to seriously address growing debt and deficit issues (again, all sides agree that deficits need to shrink and debt to GDP needs to be reduced). Who knows? We could even have the sort of engaged debate - one that involves the actual citizens and taxpayers of this fine country - about the size, scope, and spending of the federal government that Washington and the press seem so terribly opposed to.

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  • Counterfly||

    That budget, you didn't write that.

  • Wendy J. Elliot||

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    Titled "Foundation for Growth: Restoring the Promise of American Opportunity,"

    On the "Fiction" shelf, then.

  • ||

    Why does the title anger me more than the actual expenses and taxation within? Maybe because I expect those parts but the blatant pandering lie of the title makes me want to punch Bloomberg again and he's not even involved!

    But so punchable.

  • Sevo||

    Bones| 3.14.13 @ 12:46PM |#
    "Why does the title anger me more than the actual expenses and taxation within?"

    Because it's insulting to be handed such blatant lies with the expectation that you'll buy that steaming pile of bullshit.
    Just gaddam insulting

  • DarrenM||

    It's surprising how many people apparently live to be insulted, then bend over for more.

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  • Fatty Bolger||

    I usually just assume the effect will be the opposite of the name.

  • brodyc||

    It's just like the crap the Dem's pulled with the Violence Against Women Act. They loaded it up with pork and crony handouts, and anybody who opposed it they claimed was in a "War against women!".

  • jester||

    Restoring the American Promise of Equality would be a better subtitle as it really is just a huge redistribution scheme exercised in the name of equality...and as an acronym pretty much sums up the plan.

  • NeonCat||

    You forgot to add "for Young and Old Universally."

  • SiliconDoc||

    Foundation for Gutting: Resorting to Promised American Obscurity

  • brodyc||

    Brilliant!

  • Randian||

    This silly effort also highlights why the Ryan Budget is fundamentally silly: Congress cannot bind future Congresses. If you aren't willing to cut spending in the next immediate budget, then you just aren't serious. Period.

  • AlexInCT||

    I second that. A promise of a cut that happens decades from now is basically the same as the promise to respect her in the morning after you engage inf reaky s3x.

  • RightNut||

    Congress cannot bind future Congresses.

    Certainly true. It is to bad the sequester wasn't 10x its own size. So far, the sequester at least seems like its sticking.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Sillier than that is the constant act of not referring to the dollar amounts quoted as part of a single year, ten years out projection, or 75 year projection, in real dollars, nominal dollars, inflated dollars, steady dollars, and on what rosy predictions it all rests.

    In other words, it's the biggest pile of lies any group of scam artists could hope for, and the arguing over it is the most ridiculous display of lying liars Stuart Smalley could ever hope to encounter.

    I remember shortly ago when portly Bob the Demorat from Florida was running for POTUS, and 'ol demo idiot got up there and protested Bush that "took Clinton's 6 trillion dollar surplus and turned it into a 9 trillion dollar debt"...
    Yes, a Congressman, running for POTUS, a democrat, and that self deluded, that dumbed down, that stupid. He dropped out very quickly.

  • Jerryskids||

    Holy shit, that's a scary picture. Imagine that you didn't know who any of those people were - would it surprise you to be told that was a frame from a recent Hollywood production of '1984' or 'Judgment at Nuremberg' or 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'?

  • Jerryskids||

    I mean, just glancing at the picture, you might not be sure exactly what sort of evil monsters these people are supposed to represent but it's very obvious they are supposed to represent some sort of evil monster.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Jerryskids,

    Holy shit, that's a scary picture.


    Between Shummer's Lavrenti Beria face and Murray's Morla-like face, there's enough there to give little children nightmares.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    The banality of evil is its most terrifying aspect.

  • robc||

    Does the law require 10 year budgets or something, even though a new one has to be passed every year?

    How about we just pass annual budgets with no projections past that year?

  • ||

    Because then they couldn't pretend to be "cutting" anything over the long-haul.

  • Hugh Akston||

    They also couldn't project the eleventy jillion dollar increases in GDP that will fuel their wildest welfare wet dreams.

  • Teaching Student||

    But then we couldn't have down the road "cuts" and the critters couldn't claim to be "Budget Hawks" and "Responsible Public Servants." What would they do if they couldn't put off the effects of their actions to a time when they aren't in office?

  • Randian||

    Yeah I don't know when the 10 year thing came into effect, but it's really annoying. This was not always the budget window, was it?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    It is twice as good as a 5 Year Plan!

    GOSPLAN times 2!

  • AlexInCT||

    Da Tovarish!

  • ant1sthenes||

    But then they might have to actually cut something instead of promising to cut eventually to justify spending more right now.

  • OldMexican||

    The Fiscal Year 2014 Senate Budget builds on the work done over the last two years to create jobs, invest in broad-based economic growth, and tackle our deficit and debt responsibly.


    Other than the obvious fiction represented in these two statements: create jobs, and tackle our deficit and debt "responsibly," just what the hell do they mean when they say they want to "invest in broad-based economic growth"? What the hell is that, anyway? I have an image of the government giving away money to new tech-based companies, energy companies and buggy-whip manufacturers, all at the same time. Maybe they'll add the manure collectors and streetlight lighters while they're at it.

  • sarcasmic||

    just what the hell do they mean when they say they want to "invest in broad-based economic growth"?

    It means that they're counting on the average voter having no concept of opportunity cost.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It means that they're counting on the average voter having no concept of opportunity cost.

    But...the average voter doesn't have any concept of opportunity cost.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    And they count on it.

  • jester||

    Invest=spend. Government spending is always investment to those types. That is why austerity is so evil. It is aimed at diminishing our investment in our children's future.
    Yes it really is full tilt bullshit, but unfortunately it's a rhetorical flourish ( euphemism) that ironically holds currency with a lot of rubes out there.

  • Question of Auban||

    “perhaps the only interesting thing - about those numbers is how close they are to the 2014 numbers in the GOP budget, which proposes spending $3.5 trillion next year while raising $3 trillion in revenue”

    Yep, we have a one party state. It is funny to see how some are actually frightened by the supposed “divisions” between the two wings of the ONE TRUE PARTY. Some are so disturbed by this supposed division that they actually want to grant more authoritarian power to the executive branch. One such person is Bill Gates. One of the many reasons to use FOSS software is to deny him any more of your money or power.

    Is H&R blocking all URLs now? Google "Bill Gates: ‘Some days I wish we had a system like the UK’ to give Obama more power" for the URL I was trying to provide.

  • Jordan||

    Someone linked it in the morning links. If it wasn't for gaming, I would ditch Windows in a heartbeat.

  • Question of Auban||

    Thanks, good to know. Have you looked at WINE or crossover office?

  • Jordan||

    Nah. I would never trust an emulator to run serious games. As for office, I don't do much office work at home, but I use OpenOffice when I need to, so that would be no problem if I decided to switch to Linux.

  • Question of Auban||

    Despite it's name, Crossover Office is not an actual office suite, it is this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_Office

  • ||

    Don't know what all games you run, but the Steam linux client has a growing library, and Wine runs Steam and all of the Source-based games nearly as well as native Windows for me.

  • ||

    (I really only play CS:S, CS:GO and the Portal games though)

  • ||

    Bill Gates doesn't run Microsoft any more, so his idiotic political views aren't even tangentially connected to the company. I suggest not deciding what OS you want to run by political means; it's just as stupid as deciding what entertainment you like by political means.

  • Jordan||

    My decision has nothing to do with Bill Gates. I'm tired of the Windows bloatware.

  • Randian||

    Serious question: what bloatware?

  • Question of Auban||

  • Jordan||

    The OS just has a huge memory footprint. Admittedly, it's not so bad on my home PC because I keep the hardware up to date and have the pagefile set on an SSD, but my work laptop is horrendously slow because the OS consumes about half available memory.

    The constant critical updates are a pain in the ass too.

    Since I work on a Windows application, I also have to frequently deal with bullshit Windows quirks and DLL-hell type issues which I didn't have to when working on a Java/Linux app.

    Yeah, I know changing my home PC doesn't make that much sense since most of my frustration is at work, but whatever.

  • Question of Auban||

    Serious squirrels today! I have had several posts disappear! I didn't even have a link this time. I have to retype this reply. I agree with Jordan about the bloatware. Also, Gates probably still has a bunch of Microsoft stock, so when the company does well, so does he. I also have never had a virus on a Linux & GNU machine. At work I am forced to use Windows, at home I use Fedora Linux and GNU.

  • MJGreen||

    Plus, if you want to stick it to him, you use a cracked version of Windows. Like a normal person.

  • brodyc||

    He acknowledges that in the interview. Even so, just because he doesn't run the company anymore, he's still probably immensely more qualified to talk about macroeconomic and political matters than you are.

  • ||

    Is anyone else concerned that there hasn't been a budget passed in 4 years? The government simply stopped doing its job. For 4 years. From the media... crickets.

    President fails to comply with the law and chooses not to submit a budget. No big deal. Or at least it must not be, since no one is taking action or even discussing it. I wonder what other laws they will simply stop following? Does that mean I don't need to continue complying?

    Anybody know if this ever happened before?

  • Randian||

    He technically submitted a budget. It was just such a nonstarter that not even a Democrat could vote for it.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Congress established the modern budget process in 1921. Under the terms of the law, the President is required to submit a budget for the federal government no later than the first Monday in February. Obama has only met this statutory deadline once during his Presidency, a record worse than any modern President. Obama has missed the deadline 4 times. Prior to him, all the Presidents back to 1921 together missed the deadline twice."

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-G.....-tradition

  • Randian||

    Francisco didn't mention anything about missing the deadline, so i didn't respond to that nonexistent inquiry.

  • ||

    Did he submit? Last I heard he hadn't. If so, he still didn't comply with the law which states he needs to submit between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in February.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "President Obama's budget will "probably" be released during the week of April 8, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday."

  • ||

    Point being, the government is not complying with its own laws and the supreme law of the land. Once that begins, what stops them from doing anything they wish?

    Can we all stop paying our taxes until they pass a budget?

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!" - America's first Democrat (sic) president

  • John Thacker||

    He submitted a budget in previous years, just hasn't submitted one this year.

    Our friend Francisco is complaining about two different things in two paragraphs.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Isn't the problem Reid and the Senate ?
    They are the bozos who've rejected everything so Barak could spend whatever he wanted wherever he wanted with the "continuing resolution" which as it has been explained to me, allows vast leeway for bumbler and his executive czar apparatchiks to blow dough by switching it around in whatever whimsically tyrannous fashion they deem fit.
    There's a method to their madness, and they got away with it.

  • AlexInCT||

    "Is anyone else concerned that there hasn't been a budget passed in 4 years?"

    I was until I saw this budget. Then I wished they had stuck to not passing anything.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    So we now have two plans...one shafts us, one screws us. Terrific.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "It calls for almost a trillion dollars in new taxes over the same period."

    But don't you DARE call them tax & spend obsessed, you racist FAUX news reichwingerz!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Who's that guy on the left in the pic, Schumer? I guess it's appropriate that he looks like Illyn Payne from the Game of Thrones series; too bad he's not actually mute like Payne is.

  • Loki||

    Click on the link above to read through the turgid verbiage that surrounds the document, which pretends to bring some semblance of restraint and responsibility despite proposing nearly a trillion dollars in new taxes over the coming decade and increasing annual government outlays from this year's estimated $3.6 trillion to $5.7 trillion in 2023

    Ahh, but they could have proposed a zillion dollars in new taxes and spending to rise to a hundred gazillion dollars in 2023. See? RESTRAINT!

  • dalewalt||

    "The Senate Dems and the House GOP are just $200 billion apart on the spending side for the coming fiscal year. Both sides - and the president of course, who has already sworn to stand against any spending or "grand bargain" that might "gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid" - could very quickly come to an agreement on next year's budget, upon which there seems to be almost complete agreement."

    I have to take issue with this comment... if a cut of $44 billion for 2013 can cause the poverty and despair we're now seeing, a difference of five times that amount would be the difference between bread and circuses for all and both the poor AND disabled children being killed off.

  • RightNut||

    Or you could use the poor and disabled IN the circuses.

  • SiliconDoc||

    I'd be happy with a 20% wage and pension and benefits cuts for the 2.5 million fed gov workers and include the other 6.5 million on the books with retirement or whatever else they are.

    Yeah there's 9 million of them, not 2 million plus. 20% off across the board, including all the jerkoff congress and all their little collegiate minions and fellow harvard and yale travellers and smelly harry brown too.

  • ||

    Inappropriate use of ICP imagery should be a capital offense.

  • ||

    Well everyone knows that $3.7 billion = restoring opportunity, wheras $3.5 billion = children writhing on a pike

  • ||

    trillion

  • SiliconDoc||

    and everyone else knows they'll spend 4 trillion plus anyway, which will take about 6 years of "revised books" up until 2020 for that truth to "come out".
    Of course "the data takes time to come in" so that's why they revise for so many years afterwards...
    On the other hand they have no problem predicting ten years into the future immediately, with the full of holes current stats.

  • MJGreen||

    Ten years is a long time, but it still blows my mind that the federal government plans to spend, not just $5 trillion, but nearly $6 trillion in a single year.

    WHY DOES IT NEED THAT MUCH MONEY!?

  • mgd||

    To keep the children from having to eat the seniors who will be dying on the streets.

  • DarrenM||

    Sgt. Pepper's, Magical Mystery Tour

    Sounds like the budget process.

  • DarrenM||

    The Senate Dems and the House GOP are just $200 billion apart on the spending side for the coming fiscal year.

    And both sides indulge in fantasy arithmetic that would fail a seventh grade math test to come up with revenue.

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