Thursday, May 7, 2009

Obama Announces Whopping $17 Billion in Budget Cuts; Less Than 0.5% of Total Budget (Video)

"These savings, large and small, add up," Obama said. "The 121 budget cuts we are announcing today will save taxpayers nearly $17 billion next year alone. That's a lot of money, even by Washington standards."

"It's as if you took a teaspoon of water out of the bathtub while you left the spicket on at full speed," Sen. Judd Greg (R-NH) on President Obama's "budget cuts".

A blog post on the White House website by Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag includes a full link to the budget document and the terminations, reductions and savings volume.

Fox News reports:

WASHINGTON -- The ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee said Thursday he's not impressed by President Obama's proposal to cut $17 billion out of the federal budget.

Appearing on FOX News, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., said it's important to place the $17 billion figure in the context of the president's $3.4 trillion budget.

"It's as if you took a teaspoon of water out of the bathtub while you left the spicket on at full speed," he said.

"Basically right now we're running up a debt that is so high as a percentage of our gross national product that we couldn't even get into the European union," he said. "I mean we're headed to third-world country status if we keep this up."

Obama's $17 billion proposed cut represents a roster of 121 budget cuts and equals about one-half of 1 percent of the $3.4 trillion budget Congress has approved for next year.

Obama said the cuts appear small only in Washington.

"All across this country, Americans are responding to difficult economic times by tightening their belts and making tough decisions about where they need to spend and where they need to save," Obama said Thursday as he unveiled the details.

"The question the American people are asking is whether Washington is prepared to act with the same sense of responsibility," he said. "I believe we can and must do exactly that."

Obama acknowledged that these steps won't be easy but he urged lawmakers to act.

"For every dollar we seek to save there will be those who have an interest in seeing it spent," he said, claiming that's how unnecessary programs survive and budgets swell.

"But at this moment -- at this difficult time for our nation -- we cannot accept business as usual," he said. "We cannot accept anything less than a government ready to meet the challenges of our time."

White House budget director Peter Orszag said the president's plan for program cuts is just a start and that a lot more needs to be done to dig the government out of its fiscal hole, especially curbing the growth of the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs for the elderly and the poor.

"But $17 billion a year is not chump change by anyone's accounting," he said.

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