Once the economy starts growing again, he wants to cut programs that have ‘outlived their usefulness.’

President-elect Obama wants America to know he is not just about spending money.

Once the economy starts growing again – his first priority – he will get out the knife and start to cut programs that have “outlived their usefulness.” In short, he wants to also be known as a budget reformer.

In a press conference Tuesday, Mr. Obama characterized trimming federal programs as “not an option; it’s a necessity.” He promised that Peter Orszag, whom he has picked to run the Office of Management and Budget, will go through the $2.9 trillion US budget line by line, page by page, looking for better and less expensive ways to do things.

Obama’s focus on belt-tightening followed his press conference Monday, in which he talked about his desire for a new economic stimulus package that could add anywhere from $500 billion to $700 billion to the deficit. He plans on spending for infrastructure programs, alternative-energy programs, and lower- to middle-income tax cuts. He says his goal is to create 2.5 million jobs over several years.

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