WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Top Republicans charged President Barack Obama with driving the United States toward socialism on Friday, opening an ideological attack on his big spending plans.
While the tough rhetoric was certain to rev up hard-line Republicans -- many of whom regard "socialism" as anathema to American life -- it was unclear how much it would change the debate in the Democratic-led Congress, which begins hearings next week on Obama's $3.55 trillion budget proposal.
John Boehner, Republican leader in the House of Representatives, on Friday called Obama's new budget proposal and recently passed economic stimulus plan "one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment."
Obama's budget proposal increases taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for more government attention to healthcare, education, climate change and social programs along with efforts to jolt the economy out of a deepening recession.
The budget also forecasts the biggest U.S. deficit ever at $1.75 trillion, adding to widespread sticker shock in Congress where Democrats already pushed through Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus package with just three Republicans votes in the in the 100-seat Senate.
"The problem for Obama is more a question of whether the increased government intervention actually works -- gets the economy moving, creates the sense, within the next year-plus, that we are turning the corner," said Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
"The second question is whether he can keep his own Democrats together behind his tax plan and his budget hopes," Ornstein said.
MODERATE REPUBLICANS WORRY
This is a powerful article and I would have posted it all if it wasn't bad form. I encourage you to read the full article.