Budget Director On $3.6 Trillion Plan


Pledging "a new era of responsibility," President Barack Obama unveiled a multi-trillion-dollar spending plan Thursday that would boost taxes on the wealthy, curtail Medicare, lay the groundwork for universal health care and leave a string of deficits dwarfing any in the nation's history.

As you might know the part of the budget pertaining to healthcare dragged down big cap Pharma stocks such as Merck as well as healthcare stocks including Aetna and WellPoint .

"They are certainly looking at providing healthcare across the board for everyone, but to pay for that they are looking to obviously reduce revenue for some of the healthcare agencies," says Peter Jankovskis, director of research at OakBrook Investments.

However the White House tells Fast Money the changes in healthcare are key to reducing costs in the years ahead. “If you look out over time the key to our future is healthcare… and there are substantial opportunities to make healthcare work better,” says White House budget director Peter Orszag to the traders.

Although many other items of the budget are also noteworthy perhaps the one receiving the most attention is the allocation of more money for bank bailouts.

"We hope that it will not be necessary," says Orszag. "We have no plans to go to Congress at this point to ask for additional money. ... The placeholder is in case the situation deteriorates further and more intervention is necessary."

Still, the inclusion of the money is the clearest sign yet that Obama's economic team is not certain that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program that Congress approved last fall has done enough to unlock the capital markets and make credit more available.

Also it’s worth nothing Obama's budget proposal would effectively raise income taxes and curb tax deductions on couples making more than $250,000 a year, beginning in 2011. By not extending former President George W. Bush's tax cuts for such wealthier filers, Obama would allow the marginal rate on household incomes above $250,000 to rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

We thought you might be interested a somewhat detailed breakdown of the budget.The following was compiled by our news partner, the Associated Press.


Agency: Health and Human Services

2010 proposal: $821.7 billion ($78.7 billion for discretionary spending, plus $453 billion for Medicare and $290 billion for Medicaid)

Change from 2009 estimate: 7.5 percent increase

Highlights: The government's gargantuan health insurance programs for the elderly and poor would grow more slowly under Obama's proposed health care budget.

Obama wants to squeeze Medicaid and Medicare spending to help create a 10-year, $634 billion fund billed as a "down payment" on his goal of providing health insurance for all. He would use $316 billion in savings from those entitlement programs and predicts other savings by reducing the rate by which wealthier people can cut their taxes through certain deductions.

Obama's budget proposal acknowledges that "additional funding will be needed" for health coverage for all, but doesn't say how much or where it would come from.

Experts say achieving universal coverage could top $1 trillion over 10 years.

The 2010 budget for Medicare, the health insurance program for people 65 and older, is proposed at $453 billion. That's a 6.5 percent increase from 2009.

Medicaid, which covers certain poor and disabled people, would be funded at $290 billion in 2010, up 12 percent from 2009.

Some of the Medicare savings would come from scaling back payments to private insurance plans that serve older Americans, which many analysts believe to be inflated.

Other proposals include charging upper-income beneficiaries a higher premium for Medicare's prescription drug coverage, and increasing the amount of money drug manufacturers rebate to states for prescription drugs covered under Medicaid.

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency

2010 proposal: $10.5 billion

Change from 2009 estimate: 34.6 percent increase

Highlights: Obama's budget signaled that the environment is a priority by providing the biggest increase for the Environmental Protection Agency in eight years.

The proposal nearly triples — to $3.9 billion — funding for states, local governments and tribes. They can use the money to improve sewage treatment plants and drinking water systems and to protect drinking water sources. These programs already received $6 billion in the recently approved stimulus package.

The EPA budget also would provide families, communities and businesses billions to offset the higher energy prices expected if Congress passes legislation to control greenhouse gases.

Starting in 2012, the budget proposes to invest $15 billion a year in clean energy — money generated from auctioning permits to companies that emit the gases blamed for global warming. The rest of the climate cash will be returned to taxpayers.

But it is far from certain that legislation will pass this year.

In another move that could increase energy prices, the EPA budget calls for reinstating taxes on petroleum products, chemical feedstocks and crude oil to pay for cleaning the country's most hazardous waste sites. These taxes expired in 1995. They would start up again in 2011 under Obama's budget.


Agency: Housing and Urban Development

2010 proposal: $47.5 billion

Change from 2009 estimate: 18.5 percent increase

Highlights: Obama proposed spending more to house the poor and invest in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

In past years, President George Bush proposed cuts for some of the Housing and Urban Development Department's biggest programs, including the Community Development Block Grant. Communities rely on the grants to help lure businesses and to improve neighborhoods.

Obama takes a different approach. He would increase spending from $3.9 billion to $4.5 billion and change the funding formula to give distressed neighborhoods more money.

One of the largest spending increases was recommended for the HOPE for Homeowners program — from $225 million to nearly $1.4 billion next year. The program helps eligible families refinance their mortgages into new 30-year or 40-year loans with lower payments.

Obama would create some new programs within HUD as well. He would provide $1 billion to start a trust fund that will be used to rehabilitate housing for the poorest families. The money would be spent over the next six years. He would also dedicate an unspecified amount to renovate older homes to make them more energy efficient.

The administration would also increase spending on vouchers to subsidize rent for more than 2 million families.

The president recommending eliminating two of the smallest programs within HUD, saving about $16 million.

Agency: Education

2010 proposal: $46.7 billion

Change from 2009 estimate: 12.8 percent increase

Highlights: Obama is calling for a huge expansion of the government's role in making college more affordable and putting it within reach of more kids.

In his budget proposal to Congress, Obama seeks to tie the Pell Grant program to inflation for the first time since it began. The Pell Grant program would grow by more than 150 percent over the next decade.

And in a proposal sure to rile the nation's lenders, Obama seeks to end government-guaranteed loans and to boost the government's own direct lending in an effort to insulate students from turmoil in financial markets.

Such a move would end a long-standing partnership between the government and the private sector — a partnership that has begun to crumble in recent months under the weight of the credit crisis.

Government-subsidized loans currently dwarf the direct loans. The subsidized program provided $56 billion in loans to around 6 million students last year. The government's direct loan program provided $14 billion in loans to 1.5 million students.

Lawmakers have struggled to keep Pell Grants growing, frequently failing to increase the size of the grants even as college costs soared.

Obama proposes to take Pell Grants out of lawmakers' hands, giving the program a mandatory stream of dollars like Social Security and Medicare, and to index Pell Grants to the annual inflation rate.

Pell Grants mostly support students from families earning under $30,000 a year.


Agency: Agriculture

2010 proposal: $26 billion

Change from 2009 estimate: 8.8 percent increase

Highlights: Big farms that receive large government subsidies would lose some of that money under Obama's budget.

Obama would break from the five-year farm bill that Congress enacted last year, with his support. He proposes eliminating what are known as direct payments — subsidies that are paid to farmers regardless of crop prices or how much they grow — for producers with more than $500,000 in annual sales revenues.

The budget also proposes eliminating other agricultural subsidies, putting a cap on the amount of money an individual farmer can receive. President George Bush made similar proposals to cut payments for the largest corporate farms in many of his annual budgets, but he was rebuffed each year by Congress.

Southern lawmakers in particular oppose cutting farm subsidies because cotton and rice crops there are more expensive to grow. The farm bill, enacted over Bush's veto, raised subsidies for some crops.

Nutrition would get a boost under this budget, with $1 billion more each year to improve child nutrition programs and enhance the nutritional quality of school meals. Obama also would direct more money to loans and grants for renewable fuels production.

Agency: Defense

2010 proposal: $533.7 billion

Change from 2009: 4 percent increase

War spending (addition to annual budget): $130 billion for 2010, $75.5 billion for 2009

Highlights: Obama wants only a modest increase in defense spending for 2010.

His proposal of at least $533.7 billion is only a 4 percent increase from estimated 2009 spending. Such a sizable sum shows the new administration plans to take a moderately conservative approach to the nation's defense.

But some weapon systems may take big cuts as officials and contractors decide how existing programs fit into that budget after adjustments for inflation.

Obama's request to Congress on Thursday also includes a separate $205.5 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan between now and fall 2010. More than a third of the war money — $75.5 billion — would be spent before October, when the new budget year begins.

Obama's senior defense advisers have warned that extraneous defense spending would be cut but said a detailed plan won't be released until April.

The administration said Thursday that big-ticket programs were risky and vowed to set "realistic requirements" for military priorities.

The administration said it also planned to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps and increase salaries for service members by 2.9 percent. It also will try to improve care for wounded veterans.

While the rhetoric does not bode well for contractors developing pricey weapon systems, the 2010 budget plan still reserves a considerable amount for the military, including some $10 billion a month for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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