2010 and Beyond: Deficit is the issue of the year

Friday - 12/3/2010, 4:11pm EST

Jonathan Breul, executive director, IBM Center for the Business of Government

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By Olivia Branco
Federal News Radio

All through December, the DorobekINSIDER is looking at the stories that shaped the federal government in 2010. We're calling it - 2010 and Beyond.

Jonathan Breul, executive director at the IBM Center for the Business of Government, says he sees the deficit as the biggest issue of the year.

Breul tells the DorobekINSIDER there is a growing realization that the country is going to have to fix the current deficit problem.

"For the first time in my judgement the momentum has shifted. It's now shifted to those who are advocating and outlining ways to solve the problem. It's going to be very difficult but I think we've had an interesting inflection point and I think this is now part of the agenda and this is going to be part of what feds are going to face on a daily basis in so many different ways."

Breul explained that the recent news of the proposed pay freeze, a freeze in bonuses, plus proposals to cut the workforce, reduce contractors and cut federal travel only emphasize the deficit issues.

The recent elections also have feds conscious of the deficit.

"We have a new congress now," Bruel said, "and interesting we have a new director of OMB. Jack Lew was the director the last time the budget went to surplus and I think that's the task he's been handed by the president. So I think there's going to be some serious attention to these things."

As 2010 comes to a close, feds and managers will have to change their responsibilities and how they do work for next year. Bruel says feds will have to work within the new limits in order to accomplish the same goal.

"Feds are going to have to take some steps to wrestle with these new limits because they're going to be some cuts and adjustments made and in some cases people are going to operate with a lot less money so what had been only marginal changes in the past, are going to be real serious things people are going to actually have to undertake. That means a lot of adjustments in not only what people do but more importantly how people do their work. The business models and operating assumptions of a lot of programs are going to have to change dramatically."

What do you think was the biggest story of 2010? Take our poll!

Click here to see all the stories in the '2010 and Beyond' series.