Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that "everything has to be on the table" when it comes to the issue of controlling the skyrocketing federal budget deficit. He refused, however, to say exactly which programs may be cut in the name of fiscal responsibility.
The president's remarks came as an 18-member bipartisan debt commission - the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform - held its first meeting.
The commission is co-chaired by former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyoming, and Erskine Bowles, who served as President Bill Clinton's chief of staff.
The federal deficit has exploded in part due to "decades of bad habits in Washington," Obama said at the White House. Political leaders have "deferred politically difficult decisions," he said. They have to take a "hard look at the growing gap" between tax revenues and expenditures.
The commission has been given the task of bringing the skyrocketing federal budget down to 3 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product by 2015. Currently the deficit is on track to be 6 percent of GDP by that year.
Budget analysts have indicated that putting the federal budget on a more sustainable long-term course will require new measures to contain Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security costs. Those three programs plus interest on the nation's debt are currently on track to consume 93 percent of all federal tax dollars collected by 2020, according to estimates from the Government Accountability Office.
The commission is supposed to produce a report for the president by December 1. In order for the group to make official recommendations to Congress, 14 of the commission's 18 members must approve them.
– CNN's Jeanne Sahadi and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report
Shocking I tell you just shocking. Of course they don't have to make the recomendations till after the novmeber elections
That is a simple way of saying more taxes. The VAT is next and only the middleclass working people will pay. The rich will be provided loopholes and the deadbeats will be exempt.
Called spreading the wealth that you voted for, are you sorry yet?
You are the only one who truly gets it. It will require both. We have spent years borrowing and not paying for things. This didn't happen overnight and it's not all about the health care either. If we don't reform health care somehow, we may as well give it up. So Jeff in Ohio, who do you think pays for those who have no health care already? We do!
What is new about this......he has been running for the 2010 congressional contests as well as the 2012 presidency ever since he was sworn in last year.
However, this very immature and arrogant President seems to think that more people in this great nation will forget about everything he has forced upon us, blindly walk to the polls and vote for him and his crony Dem friends. If he doesn't think this, he then must think he can further DIVIDE this nation by race and compel the ..."Latinos. women, and African Americans" to once again take goose steps toward the polls while chanting; "Change, change, change."
Further, he seems to think most "want" to work for the government and pay more and higher taxes, than those who do not????
I'm betting that there are more Liberty loving, God fearing, real Americans than the entitlement seeking, America haters who sit and mindlessly wait for instrcutions from their "annointed one".