Roger Altman: Obama's Budget Doesn't Threaten Bankruptcy


The budget battle lines have been drawn. The barbs are being thrown from both sides of the aisle and with hearings starting today on the President's budget, you know you can expect more verbal sparring.

But the politics play in front of the cameras, doesn't stop the reality that the continuing resolution on the government's authority to keep borrowing more will end on March fourth. Compromise from both sides of the aisle will be needed in order for a budget to pass.

I decided to get the perspective from Roger Altman, former deputy Treasury secretary, and Founder and Chairman of investment banking boutique Evercore Partners.

LL: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the "President's budget accelerates our country down the path to bankruptcy." Do you think there will be any compromise here?

RA: Rep Ryan's comment is a very partisan one, as the new Obama budget doesn't threaten bankruptcy or anything of the sort.

LL: Senator Conrad said while the President's budget proposal is a good start it needs more focus on entitlement programs and tax reform. What would you like to see done?

RA: Senator Conrad is right, but the question is when to address entitlements and revenues. Everyone knows that they should be addressed eventually, but there is a widespread sense that Congress isn't yet ready to confront these. Corporate tax reform may well be tried this year, but not broader tax reform. The Obama 2012 budget is just chapter one in what will be a multi-year effort on deficit reduction.

LL: Do you think a budget will be passed this year?

RA: It isn't clear whether a budget will actually be adopted either for 2011 or 2012. No one knows whether there can be bipartisanship here or whether we will operate indefinitely under a continuing resolution.


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A Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and author of "Thriving in the New Economy:Lessons from Today's Top Business Minds."