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Special> Global Financial Crisis> Latest
UPDATED: February 23, 2009
Obama Plans to Halve Federal Budget Deficit by 2013
The president will try to achieve the goal by scaling back Iraq war spending, raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and eliminating wasteful public programs

U.S. President Barack Obama plans to slash the exploding federal deficit by half by 2013, the end of his first term, according to local media reports on Saturday.

The president will try to achieve the goal by scaling back Iraq war spending, raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and eliminating wasteful public programs, the reports quoted an administration official as saying.

"The deficit this administration inherited was 1.3 trillion dollars, or 9.2 percent of GDP. By 2013, the end of the president's first term, the budget cuts the deficit to 533 billion dollars, or 3.0 percent of GDP," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Obama, who took the oath of office on Jan. 20, is due to deliver the outline of his administration's first budget on Thursday for the 2010 fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1, 2009.

The budget will reflect big increases in government spending on public works that were part of the 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus plan that Obama signed into law on Tuesday.

Earlier on Saturday, Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address that the stimulus plan will start having an impact as soon as a few weeks from now, in the form of tax cut.

"The Treasury Department began directing employers to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from paychecks -- meaning that by April 1, a typical family will begin taking home at least 65 dollars more every month," he announced.

According to the president, 95 percent of all working families will get a tax cut.

Meanwhile, Obama said that his administration will do all it can to get the ballooning budget deficit under control as the ailing U.S. economy begins to recover.

The president said that he will convene a fiscal summit of independent experts and unions, advocacy groups and members of Congress, to discuss how to cut the nation's trillion-dollar deficit.

U.S. federal budget deficit soared to 569 billion dollars in the first four months of the current fiscal year, the highest on record for this period, the Treasury Department reported earlier this month.

The deficit for October 2008 through January 2009 was six times more than the red ink during the year-ago period and has already surpassed the imbalance for all of last year, which was 454.8 billion dollars, a full-year record.

The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that the budget deficit will hit an all-time high of 1.2 trillion dollars in the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2009.

The estimate doesn't include the cost of Obama's economic stimulus bill.

Private economists expect the budget deficit for this current fiscal year to hit 1.6 trillion dollars.

In the 2007 fiscal year, the federal budget deficit dropped by 34.4 percent to 162 billion dollars, a five-year low since an imbalance of 159 billion dollars in 2002, reflecting faster growth in government revenues than spending.

The 2002 performance marked the first budget deficit after four consecutive years of budget surpluses.

(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2009)

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