Obama's Budget Plan

President Barack Obama with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag and Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes after he announced his administration's proposed Financial Year 2010 federal budget outline on Feb. 26. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

SOUTH AFRICA — Business Day, (Feb. 26): Investors were disappointed that [U.S. President Barack] Obama provided few new clues about how his administration would shore up the U.S. economy in a speech before Congress on Tuesday night. Obama declared a "day of reckoning" after an age of excess ended in economic meltdown and demanded national sacrifice and responsibility. Meanwhile, following the downgrade of Ukraine's debt, Standard & Poor's told Reuters it expected more sovereign ratings downgrades than upgrades this year compared with a year ago as global economies battle a deepening recession.

INDIA — Times of India, (Feb. 26): The plan, which encompasses Obama's efforts to pull the country out of its worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression, would see the government deficit soar to the largest percentage of the U.S. gross domestic product since World War II. … Obama has also asked for $250 billion to be set aside if needed to bail out the U.S. financial industry, on top of the $700 billion already committed to the effort. … The president also reportedly plans to raise money through a mandatory cap on greenhouse emissions.

PAKISTAN — Business Recorder, (Feb. 27): Obama unveiled a $663.7 billion defense budget, up a modest 1.5 percent on 2009, but projected a sharp decline in spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming years. … The president's proposed budget for the fiscal year 2010 seeks $130 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, down from $141.4 billion for operations in the current fiscal year. The proposed budget offered a rough forecast that the cost of the war efforts would drop to about $50 billion annually in the next several years.

CHINA — China View, (Feb. 26): U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday sent to Congress a budget that projects the deficit for this year will soar to $1.75 trillion, reflecting massive spending to pull the nation out of recession. The budget overview will call for nearly $4 trillion in spending in fiscal year 2010 beginning Oct. 1, and leaves open the possibility that Obama will need an additional $750 billion in bailout money. … [Obama] also expected the deficit to decline steadily in the coming fiscal year, reaching $533 billion by 2013, so as to fulfill his promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.

AUSTRALIA — The Sydney Morning Herald, (Feb. 27): Major savings are expected by winding down U.S. military efforts in Iraq, which currently soaks up some $170 billion a year. … Over 45 million Americans have no health care whatsoever. Another expensive priority is the president's intention to provide each U.S. child with a "complete and competitive education," and to broaden access to expensive higher learning institutions. … "This budget is an honest accounting of where we are and where we intend to go," Obama said at the White House, but he warned: "There are some hard choices that lie ahead."

UNITED KINGDOM — The Economist, (Feb. 26): At a minimum, Mr. Obama seems more fiscally honest than George Bush, whose accounting gimmicks vied with Enron's. … Despite his inspiring rhetoric, Mr. Obama's plans for dealing with those long-term obligations have been frustratingly vague. He called on Americans to "address the crushing cost of health care" but proposes to spend many billions more, not less. He reportedly abandoned support for a commission to restore solvency to Social Security, the public-pension system, because congressional Democrats objected to this loss of their authority. He had a golden opportunity to introduce the idea of the rich, multinational corporations and carbon-emitters paying higher taxes as part of a broad reform of a monstrously inefficient tax system, and so make the economy more productive. He passed it up.

JAPAN — The Asahi Shimbun, (Feb. 26): [Obama] deserves applause for the swift enactment of economic stimulus measures worth $787 billion (some 74 trillion yen), one of the biggest packages in U.S. history. He also announced a plan to stabilize the weakened banking system as well as steps to stop the wave of foreclosures on homes. … As for his diplomatic policy, Obama declared, "a new era of engagement has begun." … We welcome his basic foreign policy stance. He didn't refer to "the war on terror," a phrase overused by his predecessor, George W. Bush. … Obama's political approach appears to be treading carefully in pursuing his policy goals while making tenacious efforts to win over opponents for bipartisan unity. We hope he will clearly point the way toward a new future for America as he deals with many tough decisions.

Viewpoints articles are comprised of items drawn from the international media.