White House announces $1.1 trillion in budget cuts

Copies of the FY 2012 U.S. Government budget rolled off the presses at the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, DC.


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The White House has just unveiled its budget for the coming fiscal year. There are cuts. And there a few tax hikes. President Obama said just moments ago the government must start living within its means.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When I was sworn in as president I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term. The budget I'm proposing today meets that pledge, and puts us on a path to pay for what we spend by the middle of the decade.

But some critics say the cuts are too small, and the spending's still too big.

Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports.

EVE TROEH: The White House will announce $1.1 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade. The new budget predicts the deficit for the current year to reach $1.65 trillion. That's an all-time high. Most of the budget savings would come from cuts in spending rather than tax hikes. It freezes non-security spending for five years.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says that's quote "completely unsustainable."

Diane Lim Rogers is chief economist at the Concord Coalition. She agrees that the White House cuts don't go far enough and says some cuts that are proposed are too harsh on low-income households. Those include a program to help pay heating bills, and Pell grants for higher education.

DIANE LIM ROGERS: The people that will lose are a very small fraction of the voting population, but that does not mean those cuts are palatable, are fair.

She says a budget focused on big-picture cuts, rather than program-level trims, would be more effective.

But Congress can't focus too much on the White House budget for 2012 until it agrees on the budget for this year. Lawmakers have until March 4th to do that.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.


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