PREVIEW

Deficit Will Be Front and Center

President Obama will spend 2010 trying to cut down the federal deficit, and the topic will consume much of his first State of the Union address in 2010, Politico reports. Obama's deficit concerns are both political and practical. In nine months, Obama has put more money into new programs than Bill Clinton did in eight years, leaving the country with an annual deficit of $1.4 trillion, which means that new spending initiatives are likely to fall flat. Politically, addressing the deficit issue could help Democrats keep the support of independent voters concerned about the budget during the midterm elections, although it will be a hard sell for Democrats to convince voters they care about spending after voting for the stimulus, bailouts, health care legislation, and a global warming plan. The White House is considering various deficit-reducing measures, including applying some funds from the $700 billion bailout bill to the deficit. It has also asked each Cabinet agency to submit two budget for next year, one plan that freezes spending, and another that cuts it by 5 percent.