At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "Tax the rich. New details on how President Obama plans to pay for his $3 trillion budget." Later, correspondent Bill Plante reported on Obama’s proposed budget in a matter-of-fact way with little skepticism: "It spends almost $4 trillion. That's trillion with a 'T.' And the deficit is $1.75 trillion because of spending on the recession. And it raises taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for some new proposals on health care. The president wants to set aside $634 billion over the next ten years as a down payment on health care reform. He'd get the money by lowering the limit on tax deductions for high earners and by trimming some Medicare spending."
In Plante’s report, Politico’s Mike Allen was quoted: "This budget is going to have some highly symbolic cuts to show people that tough choices are going to be made." Plante elaborated: "Those include what officials call 'massive cost overruns' at the Defense Department. A phase-out of direct payments to farmers making more than $500,000 a year. Elimination of the federal mentoring program, a Bush administration initiative which is labeled ineffective. And closing the loophole which allows Wall Street investment managers to pay income tax at the rate of only 15%."
Plante did offer some criticism: "But for President Obama's goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2012 to be realized, all budget predictions would have to hit their mark. Something that's never happened." However, no opponents of the proposed budget were featured in the report. Slightly more criticism was offered in an 8:02AM news brief when co-host Russ Mitchell asked economist Peter Morici: "When you look at the numbers, is it going to work in your mind?" Morici replied: "Well, he's got it adding up for now. The problem with this sort of thing is when you expand a benefit, such as health care coverage, people come out of the wood work and you end up with many more beneficiaries than you anticipated."