Mon, Feb 23, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Obama hopes to slash deficit in half

EYE ON THE GOAL The US president’s budget is also expected to move toward his promises of establishing universal health care and lessening reliance on foreign oil


“This administration continues to strongly believe that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go, ensuring that they are regulated sufficiently by this government,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Friday when asked about nationalizing the banks.

In his speech on Saturday, Obama said Americans would start reaping the benefits of the tax cuts in the stimulus package by April 1.

“Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans,” Obama said.

The president said his signature two-year “Making Work Pay” tax break would affect 95 percent of working families, and, in six weeks’ time, a typical family will start taking home at least US$65 more every month.

The credit is phased out for higher-income taxpayers, defined as individuals who have a modified adjusted gross income of between US$75,000 and US$95,000, and married couples filing jointly who make between US$150,000 and US$190,000.

In concert with Obama’s announcement, the Treasury Department on Saturday began directing employers to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from people’s paychecks in accordance with the new law as soon as possible and not later than April 1.

Obama’s ambitious package of federal spending and tax cuts is designed to revive the economy and save or create 3.5 million jobs.

It will inject a boost of cash into transportation, education, energy and health care, while aiming to help recession victims through tax cuts, extended unemployment benefits and short-term health insurance assistance. But it will also add to a rapidly growing national debt.


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