10 things Obama would do if only he could

obama budget

Budget proposals of U.S. presidents are almost always described as dead on arrival in Congress. The budget proposals of outgoing presidents might best be described as dead before departure.

Even though Republicans have been dismissive of his last budget in office, President Obama on Tuesday laid out what ideally he would like to do as a coda to his eight years in the White House.

Obama’s $4.15 trillion budget would make a host of new investments, but also reduce debt as a percent of the economy over 10 years, according to White House estimates.

Here are just some specific ideas on his wish list, in no particular order:

1. Create wage insurance

Being laid off and taking a much lower-paying job is very hard on the family budget. Obama wants to create wage insurance that could subsidize workers who had at least three years’ tenure at a company before being laid off, and who get a new job that pays less than $50,000. The insurance would pay half the difference between the old wage and the new wage, up to $10,000 over two years.

“The goal of the program is two-fold: help workers who return to work at lower wages on a temporary basis as they gain a foothold in their new jobs and provide workers an incentive to return to work, even if they must take a pay cut relative to their former employment,” according to the White House.

2. Make child care more affordable

Obama would increase the value of and eligibility for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Under his proposal, working parents with household incomes up to $120,000 could get a tax credit worth up to $3,000 per child for kids under the age of 5.

3. Expand Head Start and make preschool universal

The president would like to add another $434 million for Head Start programs so more kids can attend the program on a full-time basis throughout the year.

He also supports universal preschool, which would ensure that 4-year-olds from low- and middle-income families can get access to high-quality programs. He’s proposing to increase funding for grants to states that are trying to establish it.

Related: America’s Debt and the Economy

4. Do more to fight cybsecurity threats

Obama wants Congress to spend more than $19 billion — a 35% increase over current funding, according to the White House — to update and increase the digital security of federal systems and protect other critical infrastructure from cyberthreats. He would also create a new role for a Federal Chief Information Security Officer.

5. Make paying for college easier

The president wants to create a partnership with states to provide tuition-free community college for “responsible students.” And he would provide grants to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving educational institutions (MSIs) to give first-time low-income students, including community college transfers, up to two years of free or greatly reduced tuition.

6. Fight heroin and other drug abuse

The Obama budget would allocate $500 million to fund existing efforts, particularly in rural areas, to prevent drug overdoses and increase access to treatment programs as well as the drug naloxone, which helps reverse the effects of an overdose.

But he would also spend $1 billion in new funding over two years to help states expand their treatment programs and increase access to them, especially for lower income residents.

7. Invest in clean energy by taxing imported oil

Obama wants to fund a “21st Century Clean Transportation Initiative” with $320 billion, which is above and beyond the funding already agreed to by lawmakers for the Highway Trust Fund. The big idea behind the clean initiative: cut U.S. reliance on oil, curb carbon pollution and help fight climate change.

He would pay for the new investments by imposing a $10-per-barrel tax on oil imported into the United States. It would be paid for by oil companies. Republicans have already slammed the idea, saying it would raise the price of gas and hurt jobs. So don’t expect it to go anywhere this year.

Related: Obama proposes a $10-a-barrel oil tax

8. Train workers for in-demand job skills

The president wants to spend $2 billion to set up an Apprenticeship Training Fund that would subsidize the pay of apprentices learning skills relevant to their chosen field. It would be part of the American Apprenticeship Initiative, which the administration launched in 2014.

9. Raise taxes on the rich

It’s a theme that has appeared in all of Obama’s budgets. This year, as he calls for more than $245 billion in new or expanded tax breaks for middle and low-income families, he’d also like to raise more than $900 billion in new revenue from the wealthiest.

Among his proposals: Raise the capital gains tax rate to 28% from nearly 24% today, including the Medicare surtax. Reduce a host of tax breaks and close several “loopholes” from which the highest-income filers benefit. And impose the Buffett Rule or so-called Fair Share Tax, which would mean those making $1 million or more would pay at least 30% of their income in federal taxes.

10. Keep the debt stable

The administration estimates that the president’s budget, if it were enacted, would end the next decade with the debt at 75% of GDP, about two percentage points lower than where it estimates the debt will be this year.

In terms of annual deficits, the White House expects they would remain below 3% of GDP for each year between 2017 and 2026.

– CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this story

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