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Orszag Outlines Policy Priorities in Budget Blueprint

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag details the new $3.5 trillion budget plan, explaining how the Obama administration will balance policy priorities and an anticipated $1.75 trillion deficit.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    I spoke with Budget Director Peter Orszag from the White House Briefing Room just a short time ago.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Peter Orszag, thank you very much for talking with us.

  • PETER ORSZAG, White House Budget Director:

    Good evening.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    $3.66 trillion, is that a number you can actually grasp?

  • PETER ORSZAG:

    Obviously, it's a big number. We have to realize we're facing two very serious challenges. One is the economic crisis we face. That was the focus of the recovery act. And the second is we've got these large deficits going out over time, and we do need to get them down as we emerge from the recession.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Well, just two of the terms I heard applied to it today were, number one, "radical," and the other one was "taking from the rich to give to the poor." Is this about redistributing wealth in this country?

  • PETER ORSZAG:

    No, I think this is fully consistent with what the president campaigned on. We do face these structural deficits in out years, and we also need to make some key investments in energy, in education and health care.

    We are asking for, I guess, a greater sense of shared responsibility, and there are some revenue increases that will be borne by those making more than a quarter million dollars a year, after the economy starts to recover and in 2011 and thereafter.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Well, you said those who earn more. You're proposing to raise taxes, I guess, on couples earning over $250,000 a year. What percentage of taxpayers would that be? And how did you arrive at that number?

  • PETER ORSZAG:

    That was the number that the president campaigned on, so, again, this is consistent with his campaign proposals. It's basically about 5 percent of American taxpayers. For the other 95 percent, they would be experiencing a tax reduction through the "Making Work Pay" tax credit.