Ask the White House: How does the Obama administration plan to reduce the deficit?

After the President's speech Wednesday, MSN Money will ask a White House official your questions about the budget.

By Amey Stone Apr 12, 2011 3:56PM

Budget deficit: Image: US Capitol (© Donovan Reese/Getty Images)President Barack Obama is expected to call for tax increases for the wealthy and cuts to entitlement programs in his speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University. He is also expected to criticize House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget plan, which includes a proposal to privatize aspects of Medicare.


If you have questions you'd like to ask the White House about the President's debt-reduction plans, you can leave them in the comment section of this post. After the speech, MSN Money will pose a few of your questions to a White House official and report on the answers.


Some analysts see the House spending plan and Obama's speech as the opening salvos in a battle that will likely extend through the 2012 presidential campaign. There is little expectation that major changes in the government's entitlement programs will occur until after the upcoming election. However, both parties will likely seek to convince voters that they have the best formula for getting the country out of its current deficit malaise.


On Tuesday, the Treasury Department reported that the deficit already totals $829.4 billion through the first six months of the budget year -- a figure that until 2009 would have been the biggest ever for an entire year. For March alone, the government ran a deficit of $188 billion.


President Obama and congressional Republicans averted a government shutdown by agreeing last week to the largest-ever spending cuts for a single year. But David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York, said those cuts amount to a "rounding error" in this year's deficit. 


The cuts include unspent money from the 2010 census, which is completed, and $2.5 billion from the most recent repeal of highway programs that can't be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. They also include $3.5 billion in unused bonuses for states that enroll more children in a health care program for lower-income families. 


Wyss expects the deficit will surpass the record of $1.41 trillion hit in 2009. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office raised its estimate earlier this year from $1.1 trillion to $1.5 trillion. A tax-cut package negotiated in December by Obama and Republicans, which includes a one-year reduction in the Social Security payroll tax, prompted the CBO to raise its estimate. 


Reporting from the Associated Press contributed to this post.


Apr 13, 2011 6:36AM

If revenue increases are proposed by the President (for example:  tax the rich -- using the Clinton Administration rates) -- is the government going to commit to reducing spending back to the levels during the Clinton Administration (% of GDP)?


–        The solution for a gambling addiction problem is not more cash

–        The solution for a drug addiction problem is not increased supply

–        The solution for violent behaviors is not more weapons


The solution to an out of control deficit is not more revenue until spending is contained!!!!
Apr 13, 2011 1:54PM
The president, congress and senate should all fall under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FEERS) use the same health care as federal employees and pay into SS. They shouldn't have any more perks than any other federal employee, they get paid  (very well) and are not doing the job they are paid to do.
Apr 13, 2011 9:13AM
(1) If the health care bill already cut 500 billion are they planning to cut even more in their budget?

(2) We hear that we must cut Medicare and Social Security but why don't we hear our leaders saying anything about cutting their pay or retirement plan?

Apr 13, 2011 1:56PM

Why has there been no mention of any reductions in the House or Senate benefits?  There could be some savings if they were required to receive the same heath care they are proposing to the American Public.

Why is it that the Military is classified Non-Essential and Congress is? Sounds backwards to me as a tax payer.

Hope in 2012 every has there résumés up to date I am feeling some changes comming

Apr 13, 2011 8:51AM

Why not put those collecting unemployment to work picking up trash, mowing grass, cleaning public bathrooms  and other “demining” jobs. Guaranteed to motivate them to find a real job and get off the “dole”!

Apr 13, 2011 1:58PM
Why can't the government stop or severely reduce foreign aid for a few years?  This would put our deficit in check very quickly.  Remember charity begins at home and we shouldn't be giving other countries foreign aid (other than for a natural disaster such as Japan has had) when there are so very many homeless and starving people right here at home.  Fix what is wrong with the USA before giving away our own hard earned money.
Apr 13, 2011 5:56AM
How can President Obama be for raising the debt ceiling, when then Senator Obama voted against such an action in 2006?  Why can't the Federal Government only budget and spend anticipated revenue?  How is it possible that any increase in revenue will be enough, with the "tax and spend", or "borrow and spend" philosophy that this Administration has?
Apr 13, 2011 11:54AM
Since the majority of Americans bring home $30,000.00 - $80,000.00 annually and most of us have taken a 40-50% reduction in hours worked or cut in hourly pay just to keep our jobs. How is it right for congress to tell us that "we need to learn to live within our means"? Why doesn't congress and President Obama save our government some money by taking a 50% pay cut for themselves and then reduce their retirement benefits to match that of the majority of the US citizens?
Apr 13, 2011 12:58PM
Why do the politicians have a different health care system than the rest of "We the People?" You all work for us! You're in office to do what we want you to, not what gets you re-elected or makes you a billionaire.
Apr 13, 2011 1:51PM
Stop SPENDING. 10% cuts across the board, and stop sending money to countries that hate us.
Apr 13, 2011 1:17PM
Yet, I stand in line in the grocery stores and see people younger, more able than me, being able to buy food I cannot afford and making it seem so easy when all they have to do is slide a food stamp card thru the system. I see families on my street receiving Section 8, driving far nicer automobiles than I do, having furniture delivery trucks grace their driveways, hold weekend Barbeques and sit home all day or go out shopping.  Is it just me, or do you also see something very wrong with this picture/

Pardon me for saying, but if you aren't reporting their fruad [because if what you say is true, then its clearly fruad], then aren't you just as guilty as they are?


I hear this same SOB story a lot, and for some reason, it never ends with "and I contacted the authorities and had those people arrested for defrauding the Federal Government".  Funny how that works...

Apr 13, 2011 12:46PM


Apr 13, 2011 12:50PM
We desperately need a Flat Tax system in the US. Why won't you consider a system that requires everyone to support our country, according to their income level?
Apr 13, 2011 12:47PM
What steps are you willing to take to eliminate all of the people that are drawing Social Security disability and SSI benefits that are not really entitled to them as well as the same folks draining the Medicare fund?  Also, Mr. Trump states that it is time for the United States to stop sending money over seas to build and help othe countries when we have so much need in our country, what is your response to this statement?  I would also like to know, if looking back if it would have been more beneficial to divide the stimulas package up and give it to WORKING Americans to spend rather that the bailouts??  
Apr 13, 2011 12:33PM

People who are against a flat tax because they say it is not "fair" actually just do not want anyone else earning more than them. Sorry, but some people are faster, bigger, smarter or just plain luckier than others and your absurd attempts to make life "fair" are ridiculous at best.


If a person makes more money and pays the same rate of tax how is that unfair? They may have put in more hours working, or worked at a higher stress job, or done a job no one else would do and they were paid more. But you think that it is unfair? You think they should work more hours, or harder, take risks, and for that also have to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes? What you will end up with is the exact same thing we have now if you start making exceptions. That is why we have the messed up tax code we have now because everyone's idea about what is "fair" is never "fair", or the same.

Apr 13, 2011 1:15PM
As a new baby-boomer retiree, I find that you are wanting to reduce the benefits that I have worked 50 years to contribute to and now expect to collect on.  So my question is this:  What are you and all the other elected officials sacrificing to help the debt?  Would you be willing to take a pay cut, all of you, until the budget is balanced, or take a reduction in your many benefits?  If we, the American people, must take cuts, then can't you and all the foreign countries that get aid from us do the same?
Apr 13, 2011 2:17PM
When are we going to stop giving health care for life for members of congress and their families even if they only serve one term? What other job gives you health care coverage for life even if you quit?
Apr 13, 2011 8:28AM
During your administration debt has grown exponentially currently at $1.4T annually and growing.  Will you seek to put back in place the law that expired in the late 90s that requires gov to balance the budget annually?  
If you do, will you seek to continue to not include supplementals in this cap?
Since supplementals account for over $100B of debt, and total defense spending is over 59% of discretionary, no reasonable plan to close the gap  can be created without reducing defense spending.  What is the strategy to rightsize defense and reduce spending?
How will you go about tracking down the large underground "cash" society that doesn't pay taxes on its earnings?
Apr 13, 2011 1:53PM

To reduce the deficit:

1.  Change the tax code to tax every type of income: interest, benefits, bonuses, dividends.  Any income as a salary above $50,000 should be taxed with no upper limit on contributing to Social Security .

2.  Change the tax code to eliminate all the loop holes, all of them.  They basically serve the rich.

3.  Take care of the elderly, children and our veterans.  The elderly supported us and their elders, the children will support us in the future.  And veterans deserve our respect and support.  EVERY vet is damaged by serving and we need to honor that debt.

4.  Reorganize the postal system.  They are union now, but future employees don't need to be.  Look at their funding for future hires.  Cut mail on Saturdays.

5.  Roll the own benefits and healthcare mess for Congress into Social Security and national health care.  We are all Americans.  We should have the same access to health care and retirement. 

6.  Reorganize military spending.  Reduce the budget for the Defense Department and make them more accountable for how they spend their money.  Contractors bid to provide because they get overpaid regardless of the quality of their goods and services.

7.  Change the law so Congress can't vote themselves a pay raise.  Set it at 2% a year once they have eliminated the deficit.

8.  Make it harder to go to war.  No more lying and no more wars for oil.

9.  Make corporations pay taxes on their gross profits, regardless of what countries they say they are based in.  If a company moves to a foreign country, they are foreign and should be treated as such.  Tax ANYONE who does business in this country. 

10  A disater like the oil spill costs us much more than the company that caused it.  BP and other companies shouldn't be allowed into our waters until they put up a fund to cover expenses in case of another disaster.  BP hasn't finished paying Americans back for their losses, and haven't cleaned up the Gulf so they should be kept out of our territory until the waters, land and reefs are cleaned up.  If another company has a disaster due to poor decisions on safe, their assets should be seized until they meet their obligations. 

11.  Make mariju****gel and tax it.  It isn't worse than liquor or cigarettes.  We know how bad they are for people and we allow it.  Quit wasting time and money on controlling a problem that has no solution.  This is just prohibition all over again, and we know how that turned out.


Apr 13, 2011 12:08PM
I protest loudly about paying higher taxes when government can't demonstrate fiscal responsibility.  I would only pay higher taxes IF for every dollar of tax raised, 10 dollars of cuts HAPPENED.  Since the liberals, social program goof balls WON'T subject themselves to be responsible I therefore refuse to sign on.  I also protest loudly about paying higher taxes to get us out of the mess created.  WHY?  Its like helping someone who has demonstrated poor personal finance habits, won't work, spending on poor habits like alcohol, cigarettes, credit card abuse etc.  Federal and State governments have clearly demonstrated an addiction to spending like drunken sailors.  Let the sobering sailors flail in the gutter and suffer with the hangover.  Confiscate the fruits of hard working Americans to subsidize the poor habits of crooked politicians is contrary to good fiscal responsibility.  Unless government demonstrates good behavior and passes laws prohibiting the return to bad fiscal responsibility count me out. 
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