OMB Director in New York Times: "The Easy Cuts Are Behind Us"

OMB Director Jack Lew previewed President Obama’s FY2012 budget in an op-ed published in Sunday’s New York Times. The title of the piece, "The Easy Cuts are Behind Us," illustrates exactly the dilemma facing the nation; there is no magic bullet to put the country on a sustainable fiscal path and a lot of difficult choices will have to be made. Director Lew offers a brief glimpse of some of the cuts that the President will propose in the budget, which will be released a week from today.

The examples that Lew gives are: 

  • $400 billion in savings from a five year freeze in non-security discretionary spending.
  • $78 billion in cuts over next five years from the Department of Defense.
  • $350 million in cuts to the Community Service Block Grant Program.
  • $300 million in cuts to the Community Development Block Grant Program.
  • $125 million in cuts for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Lew also reaffirmed the President's call for tax and Social Security reform in his recent State of the Union Address.  The President's budget will need to specify more cuts and how he will balance his stated goals of investing in areas such as education, innovation and infrastructure while also reducing the deficit. As Lew says,

Make no mistake: this will not be easy. It will require tough choices since every decision to invest in one program will necessitate a cut somewhere else...

The Obama administration will come to these discussions with a responsible, sensible and achievable plan to put the country on a fiscally sustainable path. The plan will incorporate many tough choices and deep cuts — as well as smart investments — to broaden our recovery, spur job creation and prepare the United States to win in the world economy.

We are glad to see that the White House recognizes that trade-offs will be required and that programs that are dear to the President will not be spared. Everyone will have to make such sacrifices. The President's budget will have to go much further down this path. We await it with much anticipation.

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