Today’s Questions for the President

In an interview with Scott Pelley broadcast before last night’s Super Bowl, you stated that the government should make “smart spending cuts.”

What specific smart cuts are you proposing? Why do you consider such cuts “smart?” What is the dollar amount of each of the cuts? Would any of the cuts be entitlement reforms? If so, how much do you propose to cut from each program? If not, why not?

Annual federal spending is $3.5 trillion, $700 billion more than four years ago, $1.1 trillion more than current tax revenue, and 23 percent of GDP. In each of the last four fiscal years the federal government has run deficits in excess of $1 trillion. During your presidency, more than $6 trillion has been added to the national debt, which now stands at $16.5 trillion, or 106 percent of GDP.

During the fiscal-cliff talks, you told Speaker John Boehner that the federal government does not have a spending problem. At what point, if any, under the prevailing economic circumstances, would you agree that the federal government has a spending problem? What is the dollar amount of that point? Why would that point indicate a spending problem?

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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