NPR logo Obama Budgeter Jacob Lew Explains Deficit Reduction Goal

Obama Budgeter Jacob Lew Explains Deficit Reduction Goal

It's Budget Day and Valentine's Day in the nation's capital. Which means red is definitely the day's color, as in hearts and deficits.

President Obama's budget director Jacob Lew has a new white board explainer in which he gives the big picture of the kind of deficit reduction the Obama Administration is projecting with its new fiscal year 2012 budget.

The White House is releasing its new proposed budget for the federal government Monday.


Of course, it's just a document. House Republicans won't allow anything resembling the president's budget to get past them since he doesn't make nearly enough spending cuts for them.

Still, the president's budget is a starting point. Lew explains the goal is to put federal deficits on course to be at a sustainable three percent of gross domestic product at the end of ten years compared with nearly 11 percent currently.

The decisions Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress made in the administration's first two years helped the economy to grow, which should help take some upward pressure off the deficit, Lew says.

But they aren't enough, he adds.

"What the president's budget does is it takes the next step. It makes over a trillion dollars of additional deficit reduction policy decisions which have the effect of bringing this blue line down (the line on his board that shows the deficit the president forecasts) to a sustainable three percent of the economy...

... There's no one side that has all the answers. We know that you have to stabilize where we're going, before you can move on, and solve the rest of the problem. This budget does that. It does it in a way that we look forward to working, on a bipartisan basis, to make policy for our country."