Money Matters - Simplified

Obama launches deficit commission

Washington -- President Barack Obama in Washington Tuesday defined the new National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform as a no-holds barred budget watchdog.

On the day stock markets reeled as Standard & Poor's downgraded Greek debt to junk status, Obama said, "Everything has to be on the table," in terms of trimming the federal deficit.

The day he was sworn into office, "the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next 10 years," he said.

Obama said there was a long-standing political culture in which "folks in Washington deferred politically difficult decisions and avoided telling hard truths."

"We're not playing that game," he said.

Regarding the committee's recommendations, "I'm not going to say what's in; I'm not going to say what's out. I want this commission to be free to do its work," the president said.

"I think I've shown over the last year that I'm willing to do things even when they're not popular," said Obama, flanked by the commission's co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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