Revenue and spending: The White House is seeking $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over a decade and at least $50 billion in infrastructure spending, mortgage relief, an extension of unemployment insurance and a deferral of automatic cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare.
Spending cuts: President Obama will support an unspecified amount of spending cuts this year, to be followed by legislation in 2013 producing savings of as much as $400 billion from Medicare and other benefit programs over a decade.
Taxes: Tax rates would go up for higher-income earners, as in the Senate bill, but Obama wants their dividends to be taxed as ordinary income, something the Senate did not approve. He also wants the estate tax to be levied at 45 percent on inheritances more than $3.5 million, a step several Democratic senators balked at. The Senate bill made no changes to the estate tax, which currently taxes inheritances over $5 million at 35 percent.
Debt ceiling: To ensure that there are no more crises like the debt ceiling impasse last year, Obama wants to permanently end congressional purview over the federal borrowing limit, Republican aides said.
Overall package: In total, the package was presented as a $4 trillion reduction in future deficits, but that too was disputed. The figure includes cuts to domestic programs agreed to last year that the White House put at $1.2 trillion but that Republicans say is about $300 billion less. And it counts savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though no one has proposed maintaining war spending over the next decade at the current rate.
Prince offered samples of a funky new solo album during an intimate late-night preview. He didn’t mention the album’s title or release date, but he did express frustration with the slow-grinding wheels of the record business.