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A presidential budget is more than an expression of policy. It’s also an exercise in political brand management. It aims to project the president and his administration favorably. This is certainly true of U.S. President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget, whose proposals are cast as instruments of “middle-class economics.” The government is your partner. It will protect your middle-class status — or help you retrieve it, if it’s been lost.

In the real world, it’s not that easy.

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