President’s Budget Lays Out Inclusive Vision for the Future
Feb 15, 2012
In recent months, multiple studies have revealed economic mobility is unlikely for most people in the United States. Poor children are less likely than their peers in other nations to move from poverty into the middle class. Further, economic inequality has risen and median household income has declined, while the job market and economy have gone through structural changes that make it more difficult for workers without postsecondary education and training to access jobs that pay family-sustaining wages. Unemployment, despite recent declines, remains persistently high.
These are the realities that ordinary Americans face every day, and it is in this broader context that our nation's lawmakers should approach public policy.
On Monday, President Obama released his FY 2013 budget proposal, a blueprint that lays out not only his spending priorities, but also his vision for the country. Although the proposal includes a plan for long-term deficit reduction, it makes short-term investments in child care and early education programs, workforce development, and postsecondary education and training. In addition, the president calls for a fairer tax code by raising taxes for the wealthiest, eliminating corporate tax loopholes, and permanently expanding tax credits for working poor and middle class families.
The president's budget follows the template created by the Budget Control Act, which called for significant cuts in domestic discretionary spending over the next decade. Within this constraint, the president's FY 2013 budget proposal sets the right tone for our nation's future.
The budget invests in the nation's youngest children by proposing modest increases for child care and early education programs such as the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start and Early Head Start. It proposes additional funding for a Race to the Top competition that would include early education and K-12. It provides money for Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative that takes a comprehensive approach to improving child and family well-being by creating a system of services and support for families in communities. It also invests in some of the most vulnerable children by providing funding to states to provide critical treatment services to children in foster care that they often do not receive under current law.
The budget recognizes that low-skill, low-income workers are an essential part of the workforce and must have the opportunity to access jobs and participate in the economic recovery. It invests in these workers by calling for a $12.5 billion Pathways Back to Work Fund, which includes money for subsidized employment and job training as well as year-round and summer jobs for youth. The budget further invests in workers by providing funding for a Workforce Innovation Fund, which provides competitive grants to test innovative workforce strategies. At the same time, the budget recognizes the unique challenges facing disconnected youth, and it invests money to strengthen federal agencies that serve youth.