WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is kicking off the work of the federal deficit commission, saying public officials must move urgently to attack high spending and avoid inflicting a “mountain of debt” on the next generation.
He said that getting the job done is “going to require the people of both parties” to put politics aside.
Obama noted that the commission, co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson, was to begin its work on Tuesday. He said he’s counting on the bipartisan panel to bring an end to “an already severe fiscal crisis brought on by decades of bad fiscal habits in Washington.”
The quickly growing national debt — the accumulation of years of annual budget deficits — today stands at a staggering $12.88 trillion and the Congressional Budget Office expects the nation to add another $1 trillion a year for another decade. The federal government itself holds a large portion of this debt, some $4.5 trillion, with much of it sitting in the Social Security Trust Fund.
The remaining $8.5 trillion is held by worldwide investors in the form of Treasury bills and bonds. China is the largest single holder of these securities.