WH: 'We Don't Want Deficit Reduction to Come at Expense of Investments'

February 21, 2014 - 9:04 AM

sperling

Gene Sperling is director of the National Economic Council and asistant to the president for economic policy. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - So much for deficit reduction. President Obama's Fiscal Year 2015 budget, due out in March, will focus on "investments" for "a stronger future," Obama's top economic adviser said on Thursday. Savings will be "directed towards the long-term."

"And I think what we don't want is for our deficit reduction to come at the expense of the investments in the future," Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, told Politico's "Morning Money Breakfast Briefing" on Thursday."You want to have a more robust ability to invest in research, in children, in training and higher skills. Those are things -- infrastructure -- those are the things where one generation invests for a stronger future."

Sperling described the president's budget proposal as "pro-growth."

"So I think that what you'll see in our budget is more of a move to be more pro-growth and to change the composition of deficit reduction so that we do allow more investment in the future -- in education, in training, in the middle class -- and that our savings are more directed towards the long term and that they are a responsible mix of revenues and sensible mandatory savings." Revenues means tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy.

Sperling said there are "three components" that make a budget pro-growth.

"The most important thing on the fiscal side is to get the savings in the long term," he said. (In other words, put off the spending cuts and deficit reduction.)

The second component is "more growth in the short term." Sperling said greater growth and demand right now "would make employers reach out further into the workforce, give more people that second chance they need."

"And the third component is "more ability to invest" -- spend, in other words: "If you look at the things that are important for investing in our future, many of those are on the domestic discretionary side, which are: NIH research, early childhood, Pell Grants. These are the things where maybe there's not as great of a constituency because it's -- because it's about children; it's about the future."

Sperling said the White House wants a "mix of future mandatory savings and future revenues that could be used to deal with the long-term situation, but would put less of a drag on the economy now and allow for more investments in the things that we think are the most important for growth and productivity -- like research, liked education, like skills enhancement."