Spoiler Alert: Obama Budget Due Out Feb. 26, To Include 10-Year Projections
The Obama 2010 budget will be released next Thursday, February 26.
This will be the summary, topline document that will allow Congress to begin its own work on next year's budget. The detailed proposal supposedly won't be released until late March or April.
I was told yesterday that the summary will include 10-year projections. Although not unprecedented, it is unusual; most presidential budgets show 5-year numbers.
My guess...and it's only a guess at this point...is that these longer projections will serve two purposes.
First, it will allow the administration to say (accurately) that it is being as transparent as possible and not trying to hide the long-term effects of its policies, that is, those that will occur after the typical 5-year window when the costs often explode.
Second, it will allow the White House to show progress. Because of the economy and what is being done about it, the various financial services packages, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Medicare problem that will become increasingly evident around the middle of the next decade, and the fact that the budget reforms the administration is talking about will take some time to work, the deficit after 5 years will still look bad. The 10-year deficit projection, however, could look significantly better as the reforms kick in.