Stating that “Budget reform is not an option. It’s a necessity,” President-elect Barack Obama today named Peter Orszag as his budget director.
“If we’re going to make the investments we need, we must also be willing to shed the spending we don’t. In these challenging times, when we are facing both rising deficits and a sinking economy, budget reform is not an option. It is an imperative,” Obama said today. “We cannot sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programs that have outlived their usefulness, or exist solely because of the power of a politician, lobbyist, or interest group.Â We simply cannot afford it.”
Following up on a pledge he made when he accepted the Democratic nomination for president, Obama said his economic team will go through the federal budget — “page by page, line by line” — eliminating unnecessary programs, “and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way.”
Orszag currently serves as the director of the Congressional Budget Office, overseeing the agency’s work in providing objective, nonpartisan, and analyses of economic and budgetary issues. Under Orszag’s leadership, the CBO has expanded its focus on areas such as healthcare and climate change. In previous government service, Orszag served as special assistant to the President for Economic Policy and as a staff economist and then senior adviser and senior economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.
Obama also named Robert Nabors as deputy budget director. Nabors has been the top staff aide on the House Appropriations Committee, which prepares spending legislation.
Obama plans to announce more appointments to his economic team in the coming days.
Deborah Creighton Skinner is the editorial director at BlackEnterprise.com