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Will Obama draft an austerity budget?

By Ed O'Keefe

Will President Obama mandate across-the-board cuts at federal agencies and departments next year in an effort to cut the federal deficit?

"I'm not going to get ahead of what the budget is going to look like in February," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday when asked that question by a reporter. "But suffice to say that it will not look as it has in the past."

An austerity budget includes government job and spending cuts with the goal of cutting deficits. Several states and municipalities -- and some foreign countries -- have already made such politically perilous cuts.

The federal deficit has more than tripled this year, leading many Republicans and Democratic deficit hawks to demand that Congress and the White House take action. It's unclear if similar cuts at the federal level would prove as politically risky for Obama.

Gibbs's veiled preview of the president's fiscal 2011 budget proposal follows Obama's own statements on wasteful spending on Monday:

"Business as usual in Washington just won’t do,” Obama said at the White House about the government's cuts in government contracts. “After years of irresponsibility, we are once again taking responsibility for every dollar we spend, the same way families do."

What kinds of cuts should Obama make, if any? The comments section awaits your thoughts.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 22, 2009; 3:33 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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More power to you, Big O. Let's see just how much the Republicans will whine about how he's hurting the country with drastic budget cuts when that's exactly what they try to pass of as "conservativism".

Posted by: TheWoolyWookie | December 22, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

It will be hard to make meaningful cuts unless the sacred cows of entitlements and defense are defiled (so to speak).

A good political gesture would be to cut all salaries of government employees by at least 10%.

Posted by: micron26 | December 22, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Whack every cabinet department 5-10 percent across the board. Six months later, you'd never even know that cuts had to be made.

I work for the Federal government. The waste and duplication will finally only get cut when resources are trimmed.

Posted by: hnz57 | December 23, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse


Start closing bases around the globe that exist merely to prop up the local economy of an ally nation.

Then start cutting the operating budgets of Congressional agencies and commissions; cut them each year for the next 3 years.

Obama's program that asked the federal agency employees for cost-saving ideas and offering rewards for them is a great idea.
People in their offices know where the money is going and they need an incentive to do something about it.

Posted by: lquarton | December 24, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

We all know this is a joke. The President and Congress will manipulate more figures and tell us they reduced spending. The only solution is for people who work to take home more money than people on welfare. That ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: jerry032 | December 25, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

INCREASE oversight spending at all levels, especially for Defense IT programs.

Eliminate Lead Systems Integrator contracts that have little to no oversight.

The Stimulus IG has already acknowledged insufficient staff to detect, much less prevent waste, so there's the recipe: increase oversight.

Posted by: upstate111 | December 28, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

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