• With: Dan Henninger, James Freeman, Kim Strassel, Joe Rago

    All right, thanks, everyone.

    Well, an ObamaCare delay isn't the only election-year trick the president has up his sleeve. Wait till you get a load of his budget. The details are coming up after this break.


    VARNEY: In case you missed it, President Obama released his 2015 budget proposal this week, revving up those tax-and-spend engines once again in an effort to turn out Democrats this fall and turn the debate away from ObamaCare. Will it work?

    We're back with Dan Henninger, James Freeman and Kim Strassel.

    Dan, I just call it a tax-and-spend budget, a way around and into a political game plan for this year. Where am I going wrong?

    HENNINGER: You're not going wrong. I mean, welcome to 1933. Spending is going up --


    -- 21.4 percent. It's a $4 trillion budget. Revenues are up and he has created an array of programs. We can talk about that.

    But I think the political point to make here, Stuart, is that, yes, they are trying to send money out to these constituencies because midterm elections are all about turnout. At the moment, the Democrats are in trouble. They have got to get their base somehow energized, give them some reason to go to the polls. The Republicans are very energized. I think this is just one piece of it, creating new programs for preschool and so forth. Give the Democrats something else to talk about other than ObamaCare.

    VARNEY: Kim, there's one thing stood out to me when I looked at this budget proposal, and that is the earned-income tax credit. That is a check from the treasury that goes out to people working on the books but don't make much money. If I'm not mistaken, this budget proposal would raise the number of people getting that check by some $13 million. I think you're familiar with this.

    STRASSEL: Yeah. This is the other half of the budget. Dan is right. This is mostly about ginning up constituencies to go out and vote. It's also about the Democratic big campaign theme of this year about inequality. You see a number of aspects of this budget to back that up. The EITC is coupled with new taxes on the wealthy. What we are going to do is tax the 1 percent more and turn around and give that money to those who are not earning very much, by expanding this refundable tax credit, the EITC. This is coupled as well with proposals to raise the minimum wage.

    So this is something Democrats are going to hit hard on the campaign trail. If you're with us, it's because you believe in getting those 1 percent and making sure that everybody else has more. If not, you're one of those greedy Republicans.

    VARNEY: James, will it work? If that's the game plan, does it work?

    FREEMAN: Fiscally, it's not going to work.


    FREEMAN: $1 trillion in new taxes next 10 years, big deficits. But politically -- we've been talking about riling up the base. Certainly, a big part of that Obama base has been young people. This year, of course, it has been terrible for young people economically. But for whatever reason, they seem likely to vote for him.

    And another piece you have in this budget is expanding the number of people, student-loan borrowers who can get what is called income-based repayment plans. Meaning you pay less depending on your income level. This is another big effort to say to young people, there is a stake for you this fall in cheaper student loans.

    VARNEY: You could call that buying votes. But that would be a pejorative statement on my part, would it not?


    FREEMAN: But dangerous. Student loan default rates and delinquency rates are now above credit cards, auto loans, mortgages.

    VARNEY: Look, has the president so fundamentally changed America in the last five years -- Kim, I'm addressing this to you. Has he changed American fundamentally in the last five years to the point where this kind of class warfare, this kind of spreading the money out, take it from here and give it to there, will it work, do you think?

    STRASSEL: Look, here is the problem for the president -- and you saw it. The White House was very careful when they put out this budget. What they want to focus on and get people to notice, they kept saying the deficit is falling, the deficit is falling. Now, we can talk about why that is. Mostly, it's because tax revenues are gushing in and because the president is robbing the military of a lot of money. But the thing is it's the fact that they had to talk about this means they remain worried about the political criticism and the public view of out-of-control spending in Washington. They know that's one of their greatest liabilities. I think that is going to be a big issue for many voters this fall.

    VARNEY: All right, Kim, thank you very much, indeed, and everyone.

    We have to take one more break. But when we come back, our "Hits and Misses" of the week.


    VARNEY: It's that time for our "Hits and Misses" of the week.

    And, Kim, first to you.

    STRASSEL: A hit to the seven Senate Democrats who joined with Republicans to kill the nomination of Debo Adegbile, who had been named to run the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Mr. Adegbile is a cause celeb of the hard left, in part, for his work defending a notorious cop killer, a case the NAACP used to foment a lot of racial discord and to attack the very justice system that Mr. Obama has proposed giving Mr. Adegbile a role in overseeing. The whole reason Harry Reid killed the filibuster was to help ram through the president's nominees. So it is notable even his own party could not stomach this one.

    VARNEY: All right, Kim, we hear you.

    Joe, what's yours?

    RAGO: Both a hit and a miss to the College Board for once again revising the SAT.

    VARNEY: I know something about this with teenage daughters. Go ahead.

    RAGO: On the one hand, the plan is about the activists who claim the SAT is the source of all injustice, rather than a test designed to base college admission on something other than wealth and privilege. On the other hand, they are returning the perfect score to the iconic original 1600, thus sparing another decade of American high schoolers from shooting for 2400, whatever that means.


    VARNEY: Interesting to have it both ways, a hit and miss. That's called cheating, Joe.

    Dan, what's yours?

    HENNINGER: Well, Stuart, I read this week that Congressman Paul Ryan will be heading out to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, next month to attend the Lincoln Day dinner out there, raising the specter of presidential politics. Whenever this happens, a lot of us go, oh, my god, not another presidential election already. I'll tell you something. Whether it's Paul Ryan or Chris Christie or Jeb Bush, I say let the presidential revels begin. I cannot wait.


    End this long national nightmare of talking about nothing but Obama.