President Barack Obama, who inherited a trillion-dollar deficit and a heap of other economic woes from George W. Bush, is aiming to slash the federal deficit in half by the end of his first term, an administration official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Obama has not yet released his budget for 2010, which begins Oct. 1. The official said that the president plans to make up the difference by significantly reducing spending on the Iraq war, ending Bush’s tax breaks for wealthy Americans (who earn more than a quarter-million per year) and making government run more efficiently with less.
On his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said, "We can't generate sustained growth without getting our deficits under control," 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."
The president is expected to send a summary of his budget request to Congress. The question is whether he will get the support he believes will help him trim the deficit to $513 billion by the end of 2013, when he has completed his first term.
One member from whom he can’t expect much support is Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who blamed Democrats for undermining small businesses.