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Fed budget scary but necessary

The federal budget proposed by President Barack Obama on Monday is scary. It proposes a sea of red ink well into the future, saddling us and our offspring with enough federal debt to sink a battleship.

The 2011 budget calls for a record $3.834 trillion in spending and will leave a $1.56 trillion deficit at year's end. And the pattern of spending will see declining deficits, but still a $1.27 trillion deficit in 2011, a $828.5 billion deficit in 2012, a $727.3 billion deficit in 2013 and a $705.8 billion deficit in 2014 are not numbers to sneeze at, especially since they add up to a mountain of debt.

Yet, what is the president to do?

A combination of poor past decisions by the Bush administration, even poorer decisions by a Democrat-led Congress and most importantly, a sour economy, have all led us to this predicament.

The budget presented by President Obama on Monday is perhaps the best he can do, given the conditions. He calls for a three-year freeze in discretionary funding, which is a huge start if Congress sticks to it. He strategically increases Pentagon funding, both to not short-circuit our troops now in conflict and to end the conflict as soon as possible.

He's still trying to jumpstart the economy by proposing $100 billion in immediate job-creating investments in small business tax cuts, infrastructure and clean energy. He would also extend for another year the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, which aided 110 million American families last year.

Some choices are tough. We don't necessarily like the president's curtailing of the NASA budget for space exploration to the moon, which in the past has proven to be our frontline for new technology, but rather than eliminate it, he's proposing it go to new rocket technology for deep space exploration. We hope our search for knowledge isn't stymied.

The president, to help pay for the budget, is attempting to make a fairer taxation system. He proposes to allow the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire for households making more than $250,000, which will raise $678 billion over 10 years. Also, he proposes eliminating the tax preference for oil, gas and coal companies, raising $40 billion over 10 years.

Still, running such deep, constant deficits is scary, and takes us into territory where this country has not been before. But we believe the president is rising to the challenge in proposing a budget that causes some pain, but retains our quality of life. -- Bemidji Pioneer