Sunday, Feb 22, 2009
President Barack Obama plans to cut the U.S. budget deficit to $533 billion by the end of his first term by increasing taxes on the wealthy and cutting spending for the war in Iraq, according to an administration official.
Obama wants to reduce the deficit because he’s concerned that over time, federal borrowing will make it harder for the U.S. economy to grow and create jobs, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The deficit Obama inherited on taking office last month was $1.3 trillion. The administration next week is to release an overview of its budget proposal for the 2010 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
“Next week sets the table for the year,” and the president’s four-year term, Kenneth Baer, spokesman for the White House budget office, said yesterday, referring to the budget plan that will be released on Feb. 26.
To increase revenue, Obama will propose taxing the investment income of hedge-fund and private-equity partners at ordinary tax rates, which are now as high as 35 percent and may rise to 39.6 percent under the administration’s plan, the New York Times reported today. They are currently taxed at the capital-gains rate of as much as 15 percent.
Obama promised during the campaign that he would slash federal programs that weren’t working. “The president has said he can’t kick the can down the road anymore,” Baer said.