Biden: ‘We’re Going to Inherit $1-Trillion Deficit’

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 21, 2008 9:04am

How much will the nation’s bloated deficit be once President-Elect Barack Obama is sworn into office?

Vice President-Elect Joe Biden told me in an exclusive "This Week" interview it could be as much as $1-trillion.

"We’re going to inherit a deficit that’s probably going to exceed a Trillion dollars to begin with if we don’t do anything, nothing at all.

If nothing happens between now and the time we take office on January the 20th, we’re going to inherit the largest deficit in the history of the country," Biden said.

The future vice president argued the nation needs a "big" and "bold" second stimulus package in the range of $600-$700-billion.

"We want to spend a fair amount of money investing in a new smart grid," Biden said.

"The ability to transmit across high-tension wires in the minds of most people in the public, or underground in these wires, wind and solar energy. You can’t do that now. That would create tens of thousands of new jobs, high-paying jobs. It  needs to be done and it will have a long-range payoff not just for next year and the following year, keeping the economy from nose-diving,  begin to turn the nose of that aircraft up, but it will also change our energy picture. It will deal with global warming," he said. .

Biden said the focus will also be on cutting spending in addition to infrastructure spending.

"The end result, though, the money we’re spending, we’re going to get back three- and four-fold," Biden said.

But, he said, the Obama administration can’t focus initially on the ballooning deficit.
 
"As President-elect Obama said, we can’t worry about the deficit in the short run. We can’t worry about it right now," Biden told me.

"The whole idea here is the single most important thing we have to do as a new administration, to have — to be able to have impact on all of the other things we want to do, from foreign policy to domestic policy, is we’ve got to begin to stem this bleeding here and begin to stop the loss of jobs in the creation of jobs," he said.

–George Stephanopoulos

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