Jobs vs Deficits in Obama Budget

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WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama faced a delicate balancing act in presenting his budget for next year: Stimulating the economy without bankrupting the government.The dilemma has only worsened after a year in which the Obama administration spent unprecedented amounts of public money to wrest the world's largest economy from its deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.Government spending helped return the US economy to growth in the second half of 2009, but that recovery has yet to translate into new jobs - a problem facing many wealthy countries around the world as they emerge from the global recession.With US unemployment at a quarter-century high of 10 per cent, Obama declared jobs his ''number-one focus'' for 2010 in a State of the Union address last week to Congress.At the same time, the White House has acknowledged that federal deficits are running at dangerously high levels. In presenting his 2011 budget proposals Monday, Obama said: ''We simply cannot continue to spend as if deficits don't have consequences.''The federal government will run a record 1.6-trillion-dollar deficit this budget year, about 10.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), before falling to 1.3 trillion dollars in the 2011 budget, which starts October 1.Which priority is more important - jobs or debt - depends on who you ask. Some left-leaning politicians said Obama was spending too little to revive job growth, while conservatives fretted that government deficits remained far too high to calm market concerns.''The president has sent us more of the same - a budget that claims to be fiscally responsible, but just below the surface contains more spending, more borrowing and more taxes,'' said Judd Gregg, the top Republican on the Senate's Budget Committee. …