The Corner

Economy & Business

Stop Pretending the President’s Budget Matters

The president’s new budget is out. I have not looked at it and probably won’t. It is an irrelevant document that mainly serves to give political journalists stuff to complain about. Oh my, look at the cuts to the safety net! Ha ha, the economic-growth assumptions are really out there!

The fact of the matter is that the president does not set the country’s budget; spending and tax bills come from Congress. Congress is under no obligation to use the president’s suggestions as a blueprint, and the president has shown little willingness to veto spending deals that stray too far from what his budgets say he wants. The budget can be seen as a list of proposals the president stands ready to sign, I suppose, but when the president really wants to get legislation passed, he has better luck finding a legislator to sponsor a bill and pushing it publicly, rather than tucking it into a far bigger document.

Ignore the purported budget plan. Pay attention to what the president and lawmakers are actually trying to enact.

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