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Nominee Lew has the skills


February 20. 2013 1:55AM
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President Barack Obama's nomination of Jacob Lew as treasury secretary completes his proposed roster of top Cabinet officers -- state, defense and treasury -- for his second term.


Some critics of Attorney General Eric Holder believe that he, too, should leave and give Obama the opportunity to replace him with someone with less political scar tissue.


Lew, the president's chief of staff, is certainly qualified for the treasury post. He will be required to carry the ball for the White House in some demanding upcoming negotiations. These will include trimming the budget to try to reduce or eliminate the nearly $1 trillion projected deficit. This will play into the larger question of how the United States reduces the national debt, which stands at $16.5 trillion.


The growing interest on it, the debt service level, also eats up more of the government's disposable income from its various revenue sources. Lew was director of the Office of Management and Budget for Obama and President Bill Clinton, the last time the United States showed a budget surplus. He will have to start by dancing between Republicans' pledge to make raising the debt limit an issue and Obama's refusal to wrangle with them about it again.


Another problem that Lew will face is the looming automatic reduction in government spending, the sequestration, if the White House and Congress cannot agree by March to resolve that issue.



Pittsburgh Post-Gazette




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