TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Bill Radke: President Obama this morning named a bipartisan panel to come up with ways to deal with a federal deficit that’s expected to reach $1.6 trillion this year. Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson joins me live from New York. Jeremy, who is on this panel?
Jeremy Hobson: Well there will be 18 member, Bill. It’ll be led by former Republican senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Democrat Erskin Bowles, who was the White House Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton. The president praised them as people who can work across party lines to solve difficult problems. And he said long-term budget deficits are just too big a problem to ignore.
President Barack Obama: The trajectory is clear and it is disturbing. But the politics of dealing with chronic deficits is frought with hard choices, and therefore it’s treacherous to office-holders here in Washington. As a consequence, nobody’s been too eager to deal with it.
And as you’ll remember Bill, just recently the Senate failed to pass a measure that would have created a congressional commission like this one to reduce the deficit.
Radke: Right, so this commission the president made today, is this a suitable replacement?
Hobson: Well, many in Washington say no, it’s not, because Congress won’t be required to vote up or down on its recommendations the way they would have if it had been a commission that they created themselves. Here’s Kevin Hassett, I spoke with, who’s the director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, which is a conservative think tank:
Kevin Hassett: The best thing that the commission can accomplish is to take two people who are very highly regarded in Washington, I think around the country, and immerse them in the issue. And then when Congress finally gets around to wanting to do something, and maybe sets up its own commission, then these guys will be invaluable resources.
Invaluable, he says Bill, both in educating people about the deficit and helping to negotiate a solution.
Radke: Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson. Thank you.
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