Democrats:

On February 2, 2015, President Barack Obama submitted his budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year to Congress.

Funding the government from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016, President Obama’s budget includes a number of common-sense initiatives aimed at improving the lives of ordinary Americans.

For example, the 2016 budget increases funding for preschool education, matches federal Pell grants with inflation, and with two-thirds of job openings estimated to require postsecondary education by 2020, President Obama has proposed two years of community college free for eligible students.

Furthermore, President Obama’s proposal would increase child care tax credits and encourage paid family leave nationally so American workers don’t have to choose between starting a family and making ends meet.

The President’s proposal also works to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ community, mandating that states recognize same-sex couples’ spousal benefits under Social Security, regardless of a state’s lack of recognition of same-sex marriage as legal.

The President’s 2016 budget proposal if passed will aid lower-income families, make education more affordable and available, strengthen the middle-class and work to end discrimination against LGTBQ+ couples.

In addition, President Obama’s budget proposal is an opportunity for the United States to signal to the world that the state of the union is stronger than ever.

President Obama’s proposal discourages U.S. companies from offshoring jobs and profits by implementing a one-time 14 percent mandatory tax on $2 trillion in earnings held overseas by companies avoiding taxes domestically.

Foreign profits would then continue to be taxed at 19 percent, with companies receiving a credit for foreign taxes paid. The top corporate tax rate for companies will also lower to 28 percent, encouraging U.S. businesses to keep jobs at home.

This corporate tax reform proposal will increase domestic growth, a benefit that will be compounded by a six-year, $478 billion public works program that will revitalize our nation’s aging infrastructure and mass-transit so everyone has a way to get to work.

Finally, the 2016 budget allocates a defense budget of $534 billion so our military is not only the best fighting force in the world but continues to be the most technologically prepared and advanced as well, along with $14 billion to improve cybersecurity in the wake of increased cyberattacks domestically.

President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal would assure that America not only protects its domestic industry but our interests abroad and in cyberspace.

With the unemployment rate down to 5.6 percent — its lowest rate since June 2008 — and the country surging economically, with 2014 being the United States’ best year for job creation since 1999, the economic policies of President Obama and Democrats have clearly succeeded.

This upcoming fiscal year is thus an opportunity for the newly elected Republican-controlled 114th Congress to end partisanship and continue the fiscally-responsible policies that led America out of a Great Recession. President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal is clearly a smart investment for America’s future.

Republicans:

Many Republicans are deeply disappointed with Obama’s budget that he released earlier this week. It’s another round of taxing, spending and creating deficits.

There are some areas that he is increasing and areas that he is cutting that disturb many Republicans. He wants to increase spending on roads, which by no means is a horrible thing, but the issue is where the money will come from.

Obama is calling for tax increases up to $2 trillion, mostly from higher earners, businesses and financial institutions. He wants to tax companies with offshore profits with a one-time 14 percent tax.

We are not excited to see another anti-business tax from the Obama Administration. Companies are going to be less likely to operate in the United States if we continue to increase taxes on them, especially sudden enormous tax burdens like this one.

More companies will move to countries with better business taxes to prevent dealing with the U.S. government. The President needs to stop pushing businesses out of the country with his anti-business policies.

He also wants to cut $50 million from an immunization program at the Department of Health and Human Services. With the recent measles outbreak on the West Coast, this is not the time to be cutting funding to immunization programs. This is a major concern that needs to be addressed for the safety of the public.

His proposed budget also includes a $4 trillion spending plan that leaves the U.S. government with $474 billion deficit for fiscal 2016. With our debt already reaching over $18 trillion, it’s time that the government stops spending more than it takes in.

Many Republican state governors have been making moves across the United States, asking the federal government to add a balanced budget amendment. What this means is that, by law, Congress and the President would have to pass a balanced budget every year, as to not increase the debt we already have. Thirty-eight states, including Ohio, Indiana and Minnesota, all require that no deficit can be carried over into the following year. If the majority of our states are able to follow this rule, why can’t our federal government?

Although there are many problems with Obama’s budget, I think the actual budget we will see will be very different due to the Republican majority in both the House and the Senate. I look forward to seeing where this will take us.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch. Contact Michael Peterson and Alexandrea Griffin at torch@valpo.edu.

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