Now With Alex
updated 4/10/2013 2:50:39 PM ET 2013-04-10T18:50:39

The president’s $3.7 trillion budget will save $1.8 trillion over the next ten years through tax increases for the wealthy and cuts to earned benefit programs, but will it see the light of day?

On Wednesday morning, to add to the long list of budgets stacking up on Capitol Hill, President Obama unveiled his budget for 2014, emphasizing the importance of taking on fiscal issues with a balanced approach of spending cuts and new tax revenue. The president’s $3.7 trillion budget will save $1.8 trillion over the next ten years through tax increases for the wealthy and cuts to earned benefit programs.

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein joined the NOW with Alex Wagner panel on Wednesday to discuss the latest chapter in the battle over the budget.

Klein said a deal between President Obama and Republicans was “not likely,” but that’s not going to stop the White House from trying. “The sequester had a kind of a rolling beginning and it’s going to begin really hitting in April,” Klein said, “so there’s going to be more pressure to come to a deal and the White House is setting up that debate by clearly showing a willingness to compromise.”

Video: Pres. Obama unveils long-awaited budget

  1. Closed captioning of: Pres. Obama unveils long-awaited budget

    >>> hill was not enough, president obama has added another to the file, unveiling the fiscal blueprint, a $3.7 trillion plan to cut deficits over the next decade. in the last hour, president obama outlined his budget priorities.

    >> growing our economy, creating jobs, shrinking or deficits, keeping our promise to the generation that made us great, but also investing in the next generation. the next generation will make us even greater. these are not conflicting goals. we can do them in concert. that's what my budget does, the numbers work. there's not a lot of smoke and mirrors in here.

    >>> the president call plans for reduction in social security and medicare, new investments in education and infrastructure, and new taxes on the wealthy, mainly a revival of the buffett rules, ensure that those who make at least 30% of their income in taxes at over a million.

    >>> it's meant to draw republicans back to the bargaining table, but the final offer . a senior white house official said the following -- we don't view this budget as a starting point in the negotiation. this is an offer where the president came more than halfway toward the republicans in an attempt to get this fiscal deal and get this era of government by crisis behind us. the republicans seem to be ready to snap the branch in half.

    >> president got tax hikes in january, we don't need to be raising taxes on the american people .

    >> memo to the speaker -- the whole thing with compromise is each side has to give a little. that's why they call it compromise. this is something the white house also made clear on friday, quote -- if they refuse to include retches, there will be no deal. it is that simple. paul ryan isn't exactly pleased with the president's budget , either. he took to the air waves this morning to question the plan.

    >> this is probably a status quo budget . the real question i want to know is when does he balance the budget ? does he propose to ever balance the budget ? those are the kinds of things we'll be looking for.

    >> the president isn't just dealing with government push-back. yesterday democrats protested in opposition, with senator bernie sanders leading the charge.

    >> some of you may remember that when barack obama was running for president in 2008 , he said that he would not cut social security . we want the president to remember what he said and not go back on his word.

    >> it issen clear whether the deal-making in general will actually go anywhere. tonight the president will break bread with sonar republicans , but with still bitter tastes lingering, perhaps they should start with dessert. with us, "the washington post 's" ezra klein . what a day to have you, ezra . what a day.

    >> i'm so happy to be here.

    >> you talk like there could be a number of budgets that would be enough or even too much.

    >> there's no such thing as enough budgets. you always have great analysis on this, but you had a great post today, where you suggest -- we talk about whether there's going to be any deal-pealing. you make the point that republicans don't think they have to come to the table, because sequester was no big deal , but actually we're going to start feeling pain semi-soon. once that pain is felt, republicans will be in a very distinctly different negotiating position and may have to play ball with the president. tell us more.

    >> put it this way. here is what is happening. one of the things sequester will begin doing this very month, if you're unemployment and been unemployment for more than 26 weeks, you've getting federal, not state. these sequester will cut those benefits by 11%. that check you will get, and you are very bad off, the long-term unemployed, it will cut it by 11%. you'll begin seeing that all across the government. there was a miscalculation made by democrats right before the sequester that something really bad would half the day after, but the reverse miscalculation has been made, because nothing bad happens the day after, nothing bad will happen. it's gust to begin hitting in april and may. there will be more pressure to come to a deal. the white house is setting up that debate by clearly showing a willingness to provide a compromise. it's just really disingenuous. two years ago, one year ago --

    >> like many other things about paul ryan , but continue, ezra .

    >> this is a pet peeve . a year ago paul ryan 's budget , if it ever balanced, and probably didn't, in 2038 , in his assumption. it was 2038 , 2040 when it finally balanced. this year, because of things that paul ryan had nothing to do with, or because there was a big tax increase in the fiscal deal, because the congressional office brightened the outlook. so now he says that the only way to judge a budget is when it balances, but he need a year ago, two years ago, that balance had nothing to do with it. you need debt on a declining percentage of gdp, you do need to get this down, but this idea of what we're trying to do is to just get it to balance, it is balance for balance's sake. it has no coherence economic theory behind it, and requires cuts that are draconian and aren't necessary for any reason except to symbolically say, look at how great i many am, i balanced the budget .

    >> here the republicans have been given the things, but they could just say balances a budget would be the paper on which -- it's not college ruled . you know, whatever it is.

    >> to build off what ezra said, it shows a year ago everyone figured that a budget deal would go through paul ryan . okay? paul ryan is last year's news. i don't mean that in a conned sending way, but in a political reality. the president is might with the senate, trying to establish a coalition of the wills, a coalition of the willing on guns, on immigration, a coalition of the willing on the budget , in order to force the house to have to do something. the strategy is a little less than voluntary, but that's the way this thing is going to go. the mantra of let there be a vote is not just going to be something i predict you see on guns. i think as you get a coalition of the willing , sensible members of the senate that will step out of line of sort of the doctrineaire, let there be a vote, will be huge pressure on the house to do something. paul ryan , fairly insignificant in this entire debate. you tell me where a couple of senators are, and i can give you a better sense of what might happen.

    >> let me ask you, heather, to build on robert's point about paul ryan being last year's news or fairly insignificant. the legacy of paul ryan is where the president is putting the markers. he's starting from a position far further right, which is to say in the center than the white house would have it than a lot of progressives like bernie sanders would have it. on some level, yes, if the president gets a bargain done, that is some kind of victory. if he doesn't, he has put medicare and social security on the table, and what is the legacy of that for the progressive community especially?

    >> it's really a challenge. there are so many great things in the president's budget , the increase in the minimum wage, near universal pre-k for low and moderate income children paid for by cigarette taxes. really great things in this budget . however, when you look at the question of how retirement is treated, i think you have to remember this slogan that the president used to say in his campaign, which is i'm not here to represent washington to you. i'm here to represent you to washington . the fact that he has felt right flu so, i think, that he has had to put reduction of social security benefits down the line on the table. it shows that he is actually in the washington bubble . the fact is that retirement is going to be only more secure in the future. americans will need more from social security in the future to have any kind of retirement security than they do now. it's not representing actual american families. it's representing washington .

    >> are you trying to make me feel old? no, the interesting thing is president obama has done something that he said he wouldn't do. he always said that social security should be its own conversation on those terms, and we should talk about its sustainable, then you could do a lot of things. you might have to change cpi --

    >> means test?

    >> means test or whatever, but it shouldn't be sort of mixed in discussion that you've got all these other budget sort of concerns, but now it is, and i think that's something they'll have to explain.

    >> but teakically, what we are witnessing is the education of a president. the way he doubled republicans , when he essential ignored them, because he could to now, we have seen this evolution. he had dinner with republican senators a month or two ago, where senior white house officials are telling us, this is for you press people who say dinner with republicans is going to help bring him on board. well, if they didn't think it was effective, they wouldn't be doing it again tonight. they're doing it a second time tonight, because they think they can build relationships here.

    >> ed ra, given the intransigence on revenue raisers, how likely do you think a deal actually is?

    >> not likely. i agree with ari, they should have been doing this for much longer. there are two possible outcomes. one the real clear effort to build these relationships, and on the other, the clear end to include concessions. the two outcomes are one. they systematically take away are not single republican use. at such, all that's left is intransigence. no more pocks on both your houses, no more the president going to capitol hill . the republicans won't agree to everything with revenues. that's why there won't be a deal, period. the other possibility is the crux of inclusion of the willing in the senate, where you get four, five, six, ten senators around lindsey graham or joe manchin , who can get through the senate and then jam it.

    >>> the house. if boehner suspends the house reel again and gets a vote. that is how you get to an answer. after the sequester, creates enough pressure that there's a need, up in 2014 , but that is a key, you wipe all the excuses off the table. either you're let with a better political situation or reply policy situation.

    >> the recurring theme seems to be get it done in the senate and use a battering ram to open the doors of the house. you would think boehner would just


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