The Obama administration is really focused on deficits?: Sure, we believe you

This is from an interview on Meet the Press this morning.

that focus on taking the debt burden off of our children is very much there. . . . .

MR. GREGORY: The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, says the nation's debt is expected to surge over the next 10 years from nearly $6 trillion to $15 trillion. Last September when you testified before Congress, you spoke about the perils of the long-term debt situation, and I'm going to play now what you said then.

(Videotape, September 9, 2008)

DR. SUMMERS: Excessive accumulation of federal debt over the next decade threatens to reduce investments and slow growth, compromise financial stability, and increase America's vulnerability and reduce its influence in the world.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: Given the current debt picture, is that outcome that you described inevitable?

DR. SUMMERS: I don't think so. And I'm confident that if we had not moved to support this economy right now, we'd allowed a full-scale collapse with the loss of tax base that you would've seen, the vulnerability of the American people would have been much, much greater. But I said it in September and I will say it now: We need to make sure this economy recovers. But as soon as this economy recovers we need to be very focused on reducing that deficit, bringing down the debt burden, bringing down the ratio of the debt to the GDP, living more sustainably if we're going to have a healthier expansion than the ones that we did. . . . .

What do these massive deficits 4, 5, 6, 10 years out have to do with making sure the economy recovers? I don't even think that the current deficits have anything to do with it.

Worse, Obama was claiming that the deficits needed to be cut right up until the election. Summers statement does not explain why Obama's policy goals changed. It doesn't explain why his changed. Summer says that he knew in September that the economy needed to recover first. Obama surely knew about the economy in early November.

More on the deficit here:

MR. GREGORY: I want to spend a couple of minutes talking about the issue of spending and taxes. The administration is proposing--or projecting, rather, a budget deficit this year that approaches $2 trillion, four times the level as last year. This week when the president spoke about the economy, he talked about tackling that deficit. This is what he said:

(Videotape, Tuesday)

PRES. OBAMA: Already we've identified $2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade. We need to do more, but we've already done that.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: But there are critics who say, in fact, that number has been debunked, that that's, that's fuzzy math. This is how Peter Baker reported it in The New York Times, that $2 trillion figure: "Three-quarters of those `reductions' reflect assumptions that the nation would have had as many troops in Iraq in 10 years as it does now, even though President Bush signed an agreement with Baghdad before leaving office that will result in the withdrawal of all American forces within three years." Why is the president still talking about that $2 trillion figure when it doesn't appear to be right?

DR. SUMMERS: What the president's made clear--and, you know, you could always argue, and it's a great Washington sport, but frankly not a sport that excites much of anybody else--what the right baseline is. But you can take away the whole question of the baseline and you can look at what the president's projecting, and the president's projecting that the budget'll be cut in--budget deficit'll be cut less than in half in--over the next four years. . . .

1) It seems to me that Summers just folds on the claim of cutting spending. 2) As Summers says, you can look at the President's own projections and they show huge deficits well into the future.

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