April 27th, 2010
11:20 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama: 'Everything' on the table for deficit reduction

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform held its first meeting Tuesday.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform held its first meeting Tuesday.

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

Filed under: national debt • President Obama
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. stevegee

    If everything is on the table for deficit reduction, how about we cut out where the problem originates?

    Federal Government, you're fired!

    April 27, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. David Johnston

    The Republicans, I'm sure,will be for. But when its time ,they will be against it.

    April 27, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Steve

    Anyone think he will actually cut any entitlement programs? Didn't think so.

    Get ready for more taxes....

    This dude just passed a $1 trillion health care bill and has the 'audacity' to talk about deficit reduction. Our president (notice that is lower-cased) is a complete and absolute joke.

    April 27, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Pete

    Start at the Pentagon.

    April 27, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. dAvid, CA

    “Reagan proved deficits don't matter,” said Dick Cheney. “We won the midterms. This is our due.”
    can you imagine the response on the right if Obama had said that???

    April 27, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Jerry

    Four trillion dollars down the drain folks, wake up

    April 27, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Joe in NJ

    "The federal deficit has exploded in part due to "decades of bad habits in Washington," Obama said at the White House."

    That's right, once again blame everyone else instead of taking responsibility for you own actions. Exactly how much did your worthless stimulus package add to the deficit?

    April 27, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Steve (the real one)

    Is reduced spending also on the table? I hope so! Bernanke just told us we can't spend more than we take in! The same needs to apply to Washington!

    April 27, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Four and The Door

    The federal deficit has exploded in part due to "decades of bad habits in Washington," Obama said at the White House.
    Actually, the acceleration of defecit spending in the last 14 months is the first thing we need to stop. Don't worry. The Massachusetts voters took the first crucial step a couple months ago and voters across America will step up to handle this problem in November. In 2012 we will finish the job and put this country back on track. We are impatient and don't want to wait until 2015.

    April 27, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Phil

    The only thing that makes this even remotely possible is that Simpson and Bowles are involved. Obama has zero credability in this area and there is a 95% chance he will undermine the whole process. This goes against Obama's nanny state mentality.

    April 27, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. Duck Fallas

    1. There is ZERO waste in the military budget, so don't touch that, you muslim socialist.


    3. NO MORE PORK, except for red states like West Virginia and Mississippi.

    4. Lastly, do NOT tax the oil companies. They need that money to make the Gulf of Mexico pretty rainbow colors.

    April 27, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. Bill

    I doubt there'll be cost reductions. Tax increases are much more likely.

    April 27, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Bob Bock

    Everything is on the table? Like the Military? The DEA, FBI, BATF, and the SS?

    What about paying for health insurance for Politicians that could easily pay for it out of what they get from large corporations?

    April 27, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Pkm

    How can the gop talk about money when they have no manners and hate people who have very little

    April 27, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Mark from Louisiana

    There is plenty of waste to find if they bother to look. How many billions have been poured into public housing under obamas watch? New HUD apartments were built last year in New Orleans, they cost over $300,000 a unit. Why should people who won't work live in a $300,000 apartment with free appliances and utilities?

    Stop allowing the illegals in our country to collect welfare, free HUD housing, food stamps, free schooling for their kids, and free medical care in our emergency rooms. That's several more billions our country can save.

    I'll bet you a six pack this administration will not consider these cuts.

    April 27, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    Gosh, now that the reality of dealing with the deficit is put before them, do you think the Tea Klux Klan will say "yes, we need to face up to the problem by cutting spending and raising taxes"? Or gee, might it be that they scream and shout and howl about actually having to pay for those socialist entitlements that they won't give up?

    Americans want lots of government goodies, but don't want to pay for it.

    April 27, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    How about the "defense" budget? A little more than half of our tax dollars go to maintain and expand the empire, you know. What the heck is our oil doing under their sand anyway? Have a nice day!

    April 27, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. MARCIA

    Yeah,right. Only after taxing us to death!

    April 27, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. t22

    Okay, let's start with the healthcare bill. Shut it down now.

    April 27, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. kyle from ohio

    Of course he did not say what he would cut. But he did say nothing should be left off the table. Remember folks it is congress job to work out the details of the bills before them, The president can suggust or highly suggust via the veto power he has. So kept the prressure on Congress where it belongs. Do not lose focus like we did in the health care debate, on who is to do what tasks (their Job, why they were elected.) Thank God our forefather had the sense to create 3 branches to check and balance each other.

    April 27, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Ed

    Yep here we go folks hold on it's going to be a bumpy ride now11111

    April 27, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. phoenix86

    Everything on the table? Then lets repeal Obamacare; that cuts spending by over $1 trillion and will benefit all Americans.

    April 27, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Ohio Dem

    So much for not taxing the middle class. Sad...

    We just break into the 25% federal tax bracket. Ohio has a 7.5% income tax and 2.5% for Columbus. Then add 6.5% for SS and 1.5% for Medicare and we are up to 43% gone right out of our paycheck. We also have a 7% sales tax reducing our 57% take home income down to 50% in terms of purchasing power. If the expected VAT is passed, that will add another 15% tax ON TOP OF the existing sales taxes. Now our purchasing power is down to 35% of our original income. I haven't even gotten into property taxes, gas taxes, beer taxes, cigarette taxes, a whole slew of federal/state/local fees (which are really taxes). I am amazed we can buy anything!!!

    April 27, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |

    Cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security payouts in half until the national debt is paid off. Then give younger people the option to opt out of social security and invest that money themselves. (especially since the government has mandated that we put at lest 1% into a 401K every year until we reach 6%)

    April 27, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Dave

    What they are trying to hide is that new taxes are on the table. Both Bowles and Paul Volcker would also not rule out a Value Added Tax. These are tricky. They are as high as 25% in Europe (after starting out at 9%). But what gets me are the campaign promises of not one cent of new taxes for those under $250,000 made by Obama. Did you really think he could back that one up?

    April 27, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
1 2 3