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Obama 'Fiscal Responsibility' Summit Set for Monday

By Ceci Connolly and Lori Montgomery
President Obama and Vice President Biden plan to convene a White House "fiscal responsibility" summit Monday afternoon to launch a national conversation on how to put the nation on sounder financial footing.

The administration is still finalizing a guest list of more than 100 participants -- a mix of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, economists, policy specialists and special interest group representatives.

The three-hour, high-level gabfest, which will be open to press, begins in the State Dining Room with remarks by Obama and Biden. Participants will then be divided into five breakout sessions, before a wrap-up by the president.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and former Fed chairman Paul Volcker will lead the discussion on taxes. White House economic advisers Lawrence Summers and Christine Romer will go over Social Security. Budget director Peter Orszag, White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki will handle health care.

CIA director (and former Clinton budget director) Leon Panetta will join budget deputy director Rob Nabors on budget reform and Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn will lead the session on contracting and procurement.

Obama is wrestling both short- and long-term economic challenges and the summit is his first attempt to display his seriousness about the rising deficit and debt.

Over the past 12 months, the government has pumped more than $2 trillion into initatives to ease the nation's economic crisis, pushing the federal budget deficit to close to $1.4 trillion this year. Trillion-dollar deficits are projected to persist throughout the coming decade, by some estimates, and the bills due for the economic recovery are forecast to run headlong into the skyrocketing costs of caring for the retiring baby boom generation.

"Societally, everybody's living for today and not taking steps to create a better tomorrow," said David Walker, former comptroller and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which advocates federal fiscal responsibility.

Prior to Inauguration Day, Obama announced plans for the summit in an interview with The Washington Post. Since then however, the administration has tried to tamp down expectations, saying only that the gathering is an opening gambit in a long process toward financial solvency.

Other presidents have made similar efforts to tackle major cost drivers, such as Social Security and Medicare, with limited success.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, in an interview today, praised Obama for the early attention to long-term fiscal woes. But he predicted the difficulty comes in the follow-up, when policymakers will face tough choices and political realities.

"In a democracy, there's a need to collaboratively solve problems," he said. "To the degree this is a rallying point with a serious commitment to act, it is historically important. If it's just talk, then it's more of the same."

Posted at 12:59 PM ET on Feb 20, 2009  | Category:  Barack Obama
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Is this a joke? After approving the biggest spending spree in our nation's history, $2T (TARP + ARRA), we are now going to discuss fiscal responsibility? We have just triggered the largest deficits in the nation's history. I'm sorry, Mr. President, but isn't it a bit too late to discuss fiscal responsibility? We also have more spending on deck with mortgage bailouts?
Talk about hypocrisy. Isn't the media or the Post going to call the administration on this ridiculuous spectacle?

Posted by: Andy95 | February 21, 2009 4:03 PM

OB08:

Do you also dismiss the Boston Tea Party as mere "hate and discontent"?

Posted by: JakeD | February 20, 2009 5:49 PM

Here's something you probably don't know that is contained in the SPENDULUS BILL. Will someone tell me what this has to do with stimulating the economy?

"You've heard a lot about the astonishing spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, signed into law this week by President Barack Obama. But you probably haven't heard about a provision in the bill that threatens to politicize the way allegations of fraud and corruption are investigated — or not investigated — throughout the federal government. The provision, which attracted virtually no attention in the debate over the 1,073-page stimulus bill, creates something called the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — the RAT Board, as it's known by the few insiders who are aware of it. The board would oversee the in-house watchdogs, known as inspectors general, whose job is to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing at various federal agencies, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House."

"In the name of accountability and transparency, Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask "that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation." If the inspector general doesn't want to follow the wishes of the RAT Board, he'll have to write a report explaining his decision to the board, as well as to the head of his agency (from whom he is supposedly independent) and to Congress. In the end, a determined inspector general can probably get his way, but only after jumping through bureaucratic hoops that will inevitably make him hesitate to go forward."

The rest of the article can be found here http://docstalk.blogspot.com/2009/02/rat-hiding-deep-inside-stimulus-bill.html

So much for openess and transperancy.

Posted by: AkCoyote | February 20, 2009 5:41 PM

JakeD - you are still here spreading your hate and discontent. Get a life.

Posted by: OB08 | February 20, 2009 5:36 PM

No problem.

P.S. to everyone who gets a paycheck, and wants to join the "Chicago Tea Party": print out a W-4 form and max out your allowances to 9 -- that will send a HUGE message to Obama and the Dems.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf

Posted by: JakeD | February 20, 2009 4:31 PM

sorry jake...reading too fast.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 20, 2009 3:34 PM

Isn't the CBOT where all the toxic derivatives that have completely screwed up the banking system were traded by a bunch of short-sighted bonus hounds who cared nothing about the problems they were creating other than to demand that the FED step in and save their asses?

Sorry, Rick Santelli, the American public didn't just fall off the turnip truck. Go peddle your "revolt" somewhere else.

Posted by: greenmountainboy | February 20, 2009 3:32 PM

I said BILLION, not million. And, no, tracking our money dumped into the Pacific Ocean wouldn't be a good thing either.

Posted by: JakeD | February 20, 2009 3:20 PM

hey jakey...where you been?
well, at least we have recovery.gov where we can track the stimulus. that is a good thing, no?

however, 2 million for the white house.
piece of cake.
You know that Bush and Cheney, on day 2, received what is standardly called
"a 5 million dollar move in fee".
Just to move in.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 20, 2009 2:34 PM

DO WE NEED TO WASTE OVER $2 BILLION TO RUN WHITE HOUSE?

http://whitehousetransitionproject.org/resources/briefing/Patterson-Cost%20of%20WH.pdf

Posted by: JakeD | February 20, 2009 2:15 PM

Is this a joke? I have some easy recommendations to start. 1) Stop spending trillions of dollars that we do not have. 2)Stop rewarding people for behaving fiscally irresponsible way.

Posted by: HockeyMike351 | February 20, 2009 2:12 PM

My first question stands: Is it "fiscal responsibility" to reward "fiscal irresponsibility"?

Posted by: JakeD | February 20, 2009 1:59 PM

Like we can all beleive a poll made specifically for supporters of the unhinged kook Santelli (how about prosecution for treason? I'd support it) - and heavily publicized on the front page of Drudge.

The real shock would be if the conservatives clicking on the poll were saying "no."

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 20, 2009 1:42 PM

Is it "fiscal responsibility" to reward "fiscal irresponsibility"?

94% of us want to join Rick Santelli's "Chicago Tea Party?"

http://www.cnbc.com/id/29301208

Posted by: JakeD | February 20, 2009 1:35 PM

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