Obama vows budget savings
to fund economic revival
By Arun Kumar
Nov 26 (IANS) US President-elect Barack Obama has promised
budget reforms to cut out all unnecessary spending to find
resources to fund the bail out of the beleagured US financial
sector and the planned stimulus package to jolt the American
economy out of a deepening crisis.
budget reform as an imperative and not an option, Obama Tuesday
emphasised his commitment to fiscal responsibility as he announced
that two budget veterans will run his White House Office of
Management and Budget (OMB).
Orszag, who recently headed the Congressional Budget Office
that calculates the cost of legislative proposals for the
House and Senate to consider in their deliberations, will
lead OMB as director. Robert Nabors, staff director of the
House Appropriations Committee, will be Orszag's deputy.
his new role, Orszag, 40, would prepare the president's federal
budget proposals for Congress and analyse the effectiveness
of government programmes and policies, as well as have a big
role in determining funding priorities for federal dollars.
his previous positions, Orszag was the deputy director of
economic studies at the Brookings Institution and served in
the Bill Clinton administration as a special assistant to
the president for economic policy and senior economic adviser
to the National Economic Council.
these challenging times, when we are facing both rising deficits
and a sinking economy, budget reform is not an option. It
is an imperative," Obama said, introducing the two new
members of his economic team at a news conference in Chicago.
Obama didn't provide many specifics, and he gave little sense
of how he would tackle entitlement programmes like medicare
and social security. Few experts believe the budget deficit
can be brought under control without trimming spending on
deficit totalled an estimated $438 billion for fiscal 2008
ended in October, and is expected to surge in 2009 due to
a $700 billion government rescue package for the financial
sector, among other expenditures.
has pledged to push for a stimulus package to create or save
2.5 million jobs soon after he takes office in January, but
he hasn't provided a cost.
we are going to make the investments we need, we also have
to be willing to shed the spending that we don't need,"
cannot sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars
on programmes that have outlived their usefulness, or exist
solely because of the power of a politician, lobbyist, or
interest group," he said.
said he would ask his economic team to "think anew and
act anew" to meet new challenges.
will go through our federal budget-page by page, line by line-eliminating
those programmes we don't need, and insisting that those we
do operate in a sensible cost-effective way," he said.
president-elect insisted that his proposed stimulus would
not be "more of the same" when it comes to Washington
isn't about big government or small government. It's about
building a smarter government that focuses on what works.
That's why I will ask my new team to think anew and act anew
to meet our new challenges," Obama said.
the problems facing his administration, Obama said he is "confident
that we are going to rise to meet this challenge" if
everyone works together.
order for us to be effective, given the scope and the scale
of the challenges that we face, Republicans and Democrats
are going to have to work together," he said.