Orszag also maintained that the administration plans to close future budget gaps based on recommendations of the newly formed Task Force on Tax Reform, an extension of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker, Orszag says the group will focus on “tax simplification, tax evasion and corporate welfare.” Its members, which includes Laura Tyson, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, and TIAA-CREF CEO Roger Ferguson, one of Black Enterprise’s 100 Most Powerful Executives, will find ways to recoup an estimated $300 billion in unaccounted tax revenues each year. The body will make recommendations to the White House in December.
As for discrepancies with CBO on deficit figures, Orszag says the agency’s analysis assumes annual GDP growth of 2.2% while the Obama administration cites a rate of 2.6%.
Democrats in the House and Senate have begun the process of rewriting the budget, targeting such key areas as the middle class tax cut and “cap and trade,” which would place enforceable limitations on companies that emit carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. Obama met with the Senate Democratic Caucus today in an effort to convince members to support his budget and avoid a filibuster when it is time for a vote.
Obama is prepared for the budget revisions and maintains that “we never expected when we printed our budget that Congress would simply Xerox it and vote on it.” However, he challenges the Republican opposition — chief among them his former Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg nominee — to offer alternatives. In the meantime, the Obama campaign continues.