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Official: Obama wants to halve budget deficit

February 21, 2009 1:35:18 PM PST
President Barack Obama wants to cut the federal deficit in half by the end of his first term. Obama's proposal for the 2010 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 projects that the $1.3 trillion deficit he 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.

He's expected to outline 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 it to Congress on Thursday - little more than a week after signing into law his gigantic $797 billion economic measure that aims to jolt the country out of recession and that certainly will add to the nation's skyrocketing national debt.

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

In his weekly radio and Internet address, 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."

Obama plans to achieve his deficit-reduction goal by generating savings as he follows through on three core campaign promises. 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 letting the Bush tax cuts expire 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 official who disclosed the details spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president has not yet released his budget plan.

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