The issue:

Even after a hard-fought deficit-cutting deal in 2011 and a tax-increase measure in January, Washington still has a considerable way to go to wrestle intractable budget deficits under control. The Congressional Budget Office estimates cumulative deficits of roughly $7 trillion over the coming decade and warns “such high and rising debt would have serious consequences,” including higher interest costs for the government, reduced national savings and investment and a potential fiscal crisis.


The campaign promise:

“I’ve put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan.” — President Barack Obama, Oct. 3, 2012, presidential debate.


The prospects:

Obama based the $4 trillion claim on last year’s budget and updated it in the budget he released in April. It incorporates $2.6 trillion in deficit savings already achieved by capping annual appropriations bills over a decade, the January tax increase on wealthier earners and the resulting savings on interest payments on the debt. The rest would come from a 10-year $583 billion tax increase, an additional layer of tax increases from slower indexing of tax brackets for inflation, modest curbs to federal health care programs and further savings on interest payments on the $16 trillion national debt.

Continue reading →