Official Says Obama Wants to Halve Budget Deficit

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Barack Obama wants to cut the federal deficit in half by the end of his first term, mostly by scaling back Iraq war spending, raising taxes on the wealthiest and streamlining government, an administration official said Saturday as the president worked to finalize his first budget request.

Obama's proposal for the 2010 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 projects that the estimated $1.3 trillion deficit he has inherited from former President George W. Bush will be halved to $533 billion by 2013. That's a difference of 9.2 percent of the overall economy now vs. 3 percent in four years.

"We can't generate sustained growth without getting our deficits under control," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address that seemed to preview his intentions. He said his budget will be "sober in its assessments, honest in its accounting, and lays out in detail my strategy for investing in what we need, cutting what we don't, and restoring fiscal discipline."

He's expected to outline some broad themes of his budget request Monday at a White House summit on fiscal policy and touch on it during his first speech to Congress on Tuesday evening. He is slated to officially send at least a summary of it to Congress on Thursday, barely a week after his $787 billion economic stimulus plan becoming law.

Obama's budget also is expected to take steps toward his campaign promises of establishing universal health care and lessening the country's reliance on foreign oil.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president has not yet released his budget, said Obama hopes to achieve his deficit-reduction goal by generating savings as he follows through on three core campaign promises over the next four years.

He has pledged to wind down the Iraq war by withdrawing most combat troops within 16 months of taking office. He also has said he would let the temporary Bush tax cuts expire in 2011 for people making more than $250,000 a year, effectively raising taxes on those people. And, he has vowed to scale back spending and improve government efficiency by eliminating programs that don't work.

The budget projections suggest that Obama hasn't backed off of any of those priorities, despite relatively little movement on them and at least one misstep in his first month in office as he concentrated on lobbying for the economic stimulus plan and rescuing the housing, auto and financial sectors.

Pentagon officials still are trying to determine exactly how to scale back the U.S. troop commitment in Iraq. The president's sweeping economic plan didn't include any of the tax increases Obama, as a candidate, had said he would impose on wealthy taxpayers. And, Nancy Killefer, his selection for a newly created position charged with eliminating inefficient government programs, withdrew amid personal tax issues.

Cutting the deficit by half in a mere four years is a lofty goal at any time, let alone in such dire economic circumstances. The question is whether Obama can do it while also turning around a recession now well into its second year.

Obama has pledged to make deficit-reduction a priority both as a candidate and a president. But he also has said economic recovery must come first.

In his first month in office, he has overseen enormous amounts of spending aimed at stabilizing the economy, reversing the recession and heading off even more turmoil.

Last week, he signed into law the $787 billion stimulus measure that is meant to create jobs but certainly will add to the nation's skyrocketing national debt. He also is implementing the $700 billion financial sector rescue passed on Bush's watch; about $75 billion of it is being used toward Obama's plan to help homeowners facing foreclosure. At the same time, the administration is weighing requests by General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC for an additional $21.6 billion. The ailing automakers already have received a combined $17.4 billion in federal loans.

Yet, even as he's spending a ton of taxpayer money, Obama also is pressing the need for getting "exploding deficits" under control.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that this year's budget deficit will be at least a record $1.2 trillion - about two times that of the year before. That total includes financial bailouts and rescue plans Congress approved since last Oct. 1, the start of the government's budget year, but not Obama's hefty stimulus package that's now law.

Some private economists are forecasting that the budget deficit for the current year will hit $1.6 trillion. And, the Treasury Department has said that the recession and massive costs for the $700 billion financial bailout have pushed the federal deficit to an all-time high for the first four months of the budget year.

Obama's budget director, Peter Orszag, told lawmakers recently that even after the economy recovers, annual deficits could reach $750 billion or so and steadily exceed $1 trillion by the end of the next decade. And, Obama himself has said, without decisive action, "trillion-dollar deficits will be a reality for years to come."

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  • by Idiot on Feb 23, 2009 at 05:22 PM
    I like tea, I'll have some, first let me buy some stock in tetley or lipton. I'm lieing i'll buy the family dollar brand with chickory and other natural weeds. Tell us more about his TEA Party.. Make it official , WCTV has a comminutty Events section they might help get the word out But you might need a two week notice.
  • by Idiot on Feb 23, 2009 at 04:44 PM
    Posted by: Anonymous Location: Perry on Feb 23, 2009 at 05:43 PM Idiot is there a way to email you without it being on wctv website?: I'm not sure they will allow me to put my Email in this post. Not sure I'd want to. Maybe I can figure out a code in the posts ,Until Nice Clear Leaders Emerge i'll use words to spell a name in (Capital) letters. Or maybe if I get in front of the old capital with a sign that says,, "I'm the Idiot and I approve this message"!! Stranger things have happened.
  • by American Location: America on Feb 23, 2009 at 03:57 PM
    Slowly, and unfortunately surely—it seems, Obama and his cabal of leftists are steering America toward socialism. It won’t all occur overnight in one fell swoop, though “they” are trying to cram it on us as fast as possible. But as weariness takes over wariness America will accept the new “social” order and capitalism will be something that belonged to another time…Shameful what we are all allowing to happen to our country. “Kill the old people” should be “their” battle cry, for it is the old people who still believe, who remember history, who struggled, sacrificed and bled to make America better for the next generation. Seems now the old way of thinking; self-reliance, responsibility and hard work is no longer the fabric of America. Like Obama said, “It’s time to turn the page”, and while I detest the kind of change he esposes, the page neverthelesss is turning.
  • by William Location: San Diego on Feb 23, 2009 at 03:31 PM
    Can We Take a step back for just a moment,how did this all come about?Bush won his governor and presidential office by "close and controversial election" which beg the differ of 'outright'winning from the beginning.As the president he was sworn to his faith of 'NIHILLISM'which he practice until up to a month ago.Him and his henchmens(Republicians) ARE HELL-BENT ON ANNIHILATION of this Country.Well the AMERICIANS PEOPLE have Decided to cut the Head off the Charlatan Lizard Master But there are offsprings of this Creature that still lurking in our Amiss of Honor.The road to OBLIVION will somehow get a little brighter and we all see that thru darkness Stand A NOVA,President Barack Obama,So Republicians don't get it TWISTED,you gave a Tremendous Challenge to the Tranquillity of the People and We are NOT buying Your Goods.No doubt you and your co-horts Will Try Again,it's the sign of the Beast instinct.Remember We have peep your gameplan,can't see it working for you.Try Change/It work fine
  • by Want one? Location: Tally on Feb 23, 2009 at 03:21 PM
    Does anyone on here know what a "TEA PARTY IS?" I am finding out all about them, and I find that there are Tea Parties scheduled for this Friday 2/27 in Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Seattle, Dallas, Fayetteville NC, Omaha NE, and dozens more cities. I also found out that we can organize a Tea Party in our city, and I have the email of someone that helps organize them.
  • by Anonymous Location: Perry on Feb 23, 2009 at 02:43 PM
    Idiot is there a way to email you without it being on wctv website?
  • by Bob Location: Perry on Feb 23, 2009 at 02:27 PM
    what's a few trillion.....crank up the printing press.
  • by Idiot on Feb 23, 2009 at 01:06 PM
    Next these scum dogocrats are putting the Census under White house control. This will lead to more district failures and easily manipulated voting public. Look who's coming to Dinner.
  • by Idiot Location: My DTE is acting up. on Feb 23, 2009 at 12:27 PM
    Willy From SAN D::Under your thought pattern all republicans no longer can be represented and can not in any way speak out about our GOV now that your daddy Barry is running the show.Electing a Dumbocrat doesnt take away the rights of other groups or individuals just because they voted for someone else.That doesnt mean those elected arent our representatives just because they are not in our same party.We all still have a right and a voice and should use those choices to question any of our elected officials no matter who's bumper sticker they put on their car.Sounds to me you'd rather live in the past and keep GWB as your cross to bear.Bush Hating Syndrome, BHS, you still havent realized your boy won the election.I urged a friend to call our local Representative and he said " that guy wont listen ,he's a Democrat" This ladies and gentlemen is a shame. These politrikians still work for you no matter the color of their gang, red or blue. crip or blood. Call your Reps,tell friends2call.
  • by Cheryl Location: Florida on Feb 23, 2009 at 12:19 PM
    Kevin in Ga. I agree with you 100%. There is a but. The elderly and disabled should receive it. Although I think the ones on disability should have two medical opinions before receiving disability. I have seen people on "Disability" that are more able to work than you and me. As for the kids. The state should say,ok, we will support the first child. After that you can have a tubal ligation at the states expense or you are on your own with the rest of the kids. I thought at one time the state set up a program that those on welfare had two years to learn a trade at our expense and get a job. At the end of the two years they were cut off of the welfare system. What happen with that??
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