The president’s annual budget reminds the Beltway tribes of what they do—tax the country, distribute revenues to their allies, and euphemize it as a budget. With his 2015 budget,Barack Obama at last makes clear his presidency’s reason for being: to establish an empire of taxation.
Commenting on Mr. Obama’s nearly $4 trillion budget, Jared Bernstein, a former policy adviser to Vice PresidentJoe Biden , told the New York Times : “It’s a visionary document and basically says, ‘You’re with me or you’re not,’ and we can have big philosophical arguments about the role of government.”
He is right. For the Obama presidency that is what it has always been about: You’re with me or you’re not. The government role reflected in this budget looks less like a 21st century American institution than a system last seen in 17th century Europe, in which a leader defines national wealth by handing out dispensations, emoluments and punishments.
The administration’s infliction of punishment deserves special note, most recently what the Obama Justice Department did this week to Standard & Poor’s, the bond-rating agency.