Obama Budget: Why It's Unveiling Will Come Too Late to Make a Difference


President Obama's lawful due date for his budget proposal was in early February. Currently, it is set to be revealed on April 10. While being two months late on a budget proposal may normally be disparaged, things like sequestration and the debt limit debate got in the way. So, one can forgive the president just a little here.

The consequence of the lateness is that the House and Senate have each already submitted their proposals. This gives Republicans an excuse to declare the budget dead on arrival. Although they probably would have declared it dead anyway, but this way they get to whine a lot more about it.

Still, the budget process has been well on its way for a while now, so Obama's proposal will be less of a trend-setter than a bit of awkwardly interjected advice.

One part of his budget that has gotten a lot of attention, exceeding that of the budget itself, is $100 million set aside to study the human brain over the next year. The project, often compared to the human genome project of the last decade, is expected to yield significant returns. The genome project, for example, paid itself off 140 times over. This brain project is very consistent with President Obama's message of investing in scientific research and development.

Newt Gingrich praised this brain initiative. That seems like an odd alliance until you remember Gingrich's desire for a moon base, indicating his disposition toward the sciences.

While the other details of the president's budgets are unknowns, we do know what Congress' plans are. The House's budget is what you'd expect, a magically balanced budget over the next 10 years without any new taxes. The Senate's adds over $1 trillion in new taxes over the same period while sheltering social programs.

The next step will be the arduous process of these two chambers reconciling their two very different budget resolutions into one bill. All of this will need to get done, and the president will need to sign, before the beginning of the next fiscal year in the beginning of October.

Expect a renewed budgetary drama over the summer as the Democratic Senate and Republican House once again stalemate until the last minute.

Suddenly, Obama's decision to give up and sign the sequester into law makes a lot more sense. The poor guy just wanted a break.