April 27th, 2010
11:20 AM ET
4 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. David

    Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will need to be reduced in the future or taxes will need to be raised. Military spending will also need to be cut.

    The GOP will continue to say we can cut taxes (revenue) and only cut in areas outside medicare, social security, and military spending. If you do the math, it's not possible.

    Come on Tea Baggers, show us where you would cut spending and back that up with the math to show you can actually solve the problem. I hear plenty of whining but NO solutions so far.

    April 27, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Paul from Phoenix

    Does that include resignation?

    April 27, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Time to officially end the War on Drugs AND War on Terror...those are the 2 biggest drains on spending. Military and Entitlements are much tougher to cut. The rise of spending by Bush and creation of DHS resulted in the gigantic increase of debt. Let the airlines screen their own passengers and subsidize part of the expense. War on drugs is a social and civil crime issue....it can not be "fixed" by law enforcement time and $.

    April 27, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Victim of GOP Taliban

    End the War on Drugs and War on Terror. The costs are bankrupting us and there is no tangible end in sight. Waste of $.

    April 27, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. File under "Sarcasm"

    Sure, everything is on the table as long as it doesn't impact healthcare, cap and trade, immigration reform, entitlements like food stamps, and bashing big business and capitalism as the root of all evil. Medicare and Social Security won't be protected as those voters aren't part of Obama's power base.

    April 27, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Eric in Denver

    This guy just wants to spend our money. If he wanted to cut the deficit he wouldn't have passed all of the pork bills and the bogus healthcare bill. 2012 can't come quick enough!!

    April 27, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Everything?" Really? Including repealing the biggest budget-buster since WWII, the health care welfare idiocy? Bringing home all the US troops we have scattered all over the planet, including from places where the war was over two-thirds of a century ago? Planning for a phase-out of Social Security and Medicare now, while it can be done with minimal pain, rather than waiting for when both got catastrophically bankrupt?

    The US needs to do all of the above, but my guess is that nothing is really going to happen.

    April 27, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    GOP needs to be willing to let some taxes go up as much as they dislike it. Democrats need to be willing to reduce some other spending for social programs. I would hope that those that are the richest amoungst us start stepping up and helping those that get government funds instead of the government spending it.

    April 27, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. tony

    Republicans will probably say that the government should not rush into deficit reduction, just like what they have said with health care reform, immigration reform, and Wall Street regulation. If the nation has survived the addition of over 8 trillion to the national debt under the last three Republican presidents, what is the hurry?

    April 27, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. stormerF

    Everything,even repealing the health insurance bill,that we find out costs much more than we were lead to believe. Cutting entitlements for the Un-employeed? Extendeing the Social Security retirement age to 70? increaseing the top of Social Security taxes so there is no cut off?Dismantling Fannie and Freddie to get Government out of the mortgage business.,.. Giving Corporations a Tax break when they bring money back into the USA for investment and Job creation, From 36% to 5% so we are at least competative with other countries in the world.,. It can be done Mr President but we have to stop spending first.

    April 27, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. j russ

    does "everything on the table" include cap and tax and health care?

    April 27, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Is this another Lip Service ? How much we can trust when all the promise made during the compgain yet to be seen fullfilled. I hope our president stop blaming the past administartion for his failure. We elected him bacause of the past failure with a hope he chage the past instead he is hiding behind the past .

    April 27, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. tom

    Anyone who thinks we can reduce the deficit either by only cutting spending or only by raising taxes doesn't realize how serious the problem is.

    We need to do both.

    April 27, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. USN

    We already know what he will do ! Cut= military Add = social programes. Increase TAXS on everything . AND spend spend spend .

    April 27, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Jeff in Ohio

    Does "everything" include repealing the recently passed Health Care Reform Bill? The one that already is projected to cost more than advertised?

    Its clear this bill will greatly increase the deficit when its fully implemented. Therefore, if Obama was truly serious about deficit reduction, then repealing this bill would be a good start.

    Then, move on to other government programs already in existence such as Social Security and Medicare. A big reduction in Defense spending is probably necessary as well.

    In general, government spending needs to greatly reduced given our current fiscal situation. This is why the Health Care Reform bill made absolutely no sense.

    We just can't afford a government run health care system.

    April 27, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Jeff

    I smell taxing the middle class
    Sounds like when the 1st bush was elected and out of his mouth he said (read my lips) (no new taxes) Then what did he do.
    He raise new taxes

    Obama will do te same promised tax cuts for the middle class and sort of gave it to them in a false way. Now he will take them away and raise their taxes

    April 27, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. JJ

    Can anybody say "Value Added Tax."
    Then we can be just like the EU!
    Maybe they will make a geographical exception and let us apply for membership.

    April 27, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. Nurse

    How about DROP the health reform ! That will cut a few TRILLION right there!

    April 27, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. REG in AZ

    The reality is the problems are not caused by the Democrats spending; rather the Democrats are advocating spending because of the problems. In the mean time, the Republicans continually offer nothing other than attempting to criticize and obstruct everything while using scare tactics (re taxes) and emotional appeals to excite people’s self-interests (re big government) to manipulate public opinion and to justify returning to ‘more of the same’. That is the reality and the rest is all smoke.

    April 27, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Robin

    Get ready for the VAT tax.

    April 27, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. Pragmatic

    The President refused to say exactly which programs may be cut in the name of fiscal responsibility. Good for him!

    Let the committee do its job: See if 18 people can work together & produce some workable resolutions: If you are going to micro-manage – then don't waste the committee's time.

    April 27, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. cph9680

    Does that include Bumbles resigning?

    April 27, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Dano

    I think D-Day is here for members of Congress. All of those unpopular decisions they've been putting off must now be made. It will take a mixture of benefit reductions AND tax increases to fix the deficit. Neither one by itself will be enough. This is where it gets tricky: Democrats will have to support the benefit reductions and Republicans will have to support the tax increases to make this work. The question is can both parties (and the American people) put aside the partisan bickering and do what's necessary to solve our nation's financial problems?

    April 27, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. maaa

    go mr president

    April 27, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. maaa

    hardworking president of our time

    April 27, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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