Archive for Thursday, April 14, 2011

Obama: Cut spending, raise taxes on the wealthy

April 14, 2011


— President Barack Obama coupled a call for $4 trillion in long-term deficit reductions with a blistering attack on Republican plans for taxes, Medicare and Medicaid on Wednesday, laying down markers for a roiling debate in Congress and the 2012 presidential campaign to come.

Obama said spending cuts and higher taxes alike must be part of any deficit-reduction plan, including an end to Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. He proposed an unspecified “debt failsafe” that would go into effect if Congress failed to make sure the national debt would be falling by 2014 relative to the size of the overall economy.

“We have to live within our means, reduce our deficit and get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt,” the president said in a speech at George Washington University a few blocks from the White House. ”And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, and protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs and win the future.”

Obama’s speech was salted with calls for bipartisanship, but it also bristled with attacks on Republicans. They want to “end Medicare as we know it,” he said, and to extend tax cuts for the wealthy while demanding that seniors pay more for health care.

“That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I am president,” he vowed. Medicare serves 47 million seniors and disabled people.

Obama spoke to an audience that included Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., author of the House Republican budget that drew repeated presidential scorn. The Budget Committee chairman later told reporters he had been excited to receive an invitation to the speech, believing the administration was extending an olive branch.

“Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country’s pressing fiscal challenges,” Ryan said. “What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner in chief.”

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, noted that the administration has asked Congress to raise the debt limit, but said, “the American people will not stand for that unless it is accompanied by serious action to reduce our deficit. More promises, hollow targets and Washington commissions simply won’t get the job done.”

The president spoke less than a week after he reached a compromise with Boehner on an unprecedented package of $38 billion in spending cuts for this year just in time to avoid a partial government shutdown. Both houses of Congress are expected to pass the measure in the next 24 hours or so, closing the books on the current budget year and clearing the way for a far more defining debate about the size and shape of the government.


Richard Heckler 7 years ago

I AM NOT against government spending. It's the way the government spends our money that flat out pisses me off.

Spend my tax dollars to create new wealth and revenue for our nation which is new industry and jobs that stay in America.

Bring down the cost of doing business and education by introducing smart business.

Mandate that all federal government employees including all elected officials use IMPROVED Medicare Insurance for All.

This would be having our government insure itself as many corporations and wealthy individuals do.

Let's encourage the President and Congress to get on with this cost cutting program.

Let's reduce health care costs by getting rid of the medical insurance industry. Why? Because the medical insurance industry does not provide health care.

Improved Medicare Insurance for All would provide real medical insurance reform!

The United States spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on healthcare – $8160 per capita – yet performs poorly in comparison and leaves over 46 million people without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

Let’s direct OUR tax dollars to fund OUR medical insurance. What’s good for elected officials is good for WE taxpayers!

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Expanded and Improved Medicare Insurance for All is one of the solutions.

  • Easy to Implement: Medicare has been in existence since 1966, it provides healthcare to those 65 and older, and satisfaction levels are high. The structure is already in place and can be easily expanded to cover everyone.

  • Simple: One entity – established by the government – would handle billing and payment at a cost significantly lower than private insurance companies. Private insurance companies spend about 31% of every healthcare dollar on administration. Medicare now spends about 3%.

  • Real Choice: An expanded and improved Medicare for All would provide personal choice of doctors and other healthcare providers. While financing would be public, providers would remain private. As with Medicare, you choose your doctor, your hospital, and other healthcare providers.

  • State and Local Tax Relief: Medicare for All would assume the costs of healthcare delivery, thus relieving the states and local governments of the cost of healthcare, including Medicaid, and as a result reduce State and local tax burdens.

  • Expanded coverage: Would cover all medically necessary healthcare services – no more rationing by private insurance companies. There would be no limits on coverage, no co-pays or deductibles, and services would include not only primary and specialized care but also prescription drugs, dental, vision, mental health services, and long-term care.

  • Everyone In, Nobody Out: Everyone would be eligible and covered. No longer would doctors ask what insurance you have before they treat you.

  • No More Overpriced Private Health Insurance: Medicare for All would eliminate the need for private health insurance companies who put profit before healthcare, unfairly limit choice, restrict who gets coverage, and force people into bankruptcy.

  • Lower Costs: Most people will pay significantly less for healthcare. Savings will be achieved in reduced administrative costs and in negotiated prices for prescription drugs.

Katara 7 years ago

Everyone knows unicorns are old hat.

The new trend is lap giraffes. I know of a place you can get one.

cato_the_elder 7 years ago

Obama's latest telepromptered effort yesterday, which purported to deal with deficit reduction but instead turned out to be a 2012 campaign kickoff speech meant for his far-left political base, was a disgrace. It was devoid of any substance and completely lacking in any semblance of leadership, and consisted entirely of vague platitudes and politically-driven shots at the other side of the aisle. Such a disingenuous, shallow, intellectually dishonest speech has not been given by a sitting president in living memory.

For those who fervently wish to unseat Obama in 2012 and are working hard to fire up the responsible voters of this country to do so, Obama himself is the gift that keeps on giving.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Was that rant, or a pout? Or maybe a pouting rant, or a pouting rant?

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Oh how george w. bush has been forgotten.

cato_the_elder 7 years ago

After well over two years of putting up with Obama and his uber-liberal pals, and with the lowest percentage of Americans in the workforce today since 1983, the tired "but...but...but...Bush" line is way past getting old.

jafs 7 years ago

I guess your "living memory" doesn't stretch back very far.

somedude20 7 years ago

I heard a rumor about a few world wars a few years ago, you ever hear of this? That is ok as you guys forgot all about the great shape that Mr. Clinton left the country in and forget that Bush did a great job recking it. Keep on ostriching!

xclusive85 7 years ago

So reading that post by cato, I got that he was most upset about the speach seeming more like a campaign speech than a real call to action with a laid out plan. Bush didn't campaign like that while he was in office, he wasn't really smart enough to

whats_going_on 7 years ago

I'm willing to bet he could say exactly what you want to happen and you still wouldn't like him.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Tax cuts for the wealthy resulted in none of the promised benefits, increased multi national takeover of local economies and massive unemployment. The President's policies are correcting these ills. The wealthiest need to again contribute fairly for the massive government benefits they receive.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

The Campaigner in Chief is in full campaign mode.

somedude20 7 years ago

You, Tom, L40 and all of you kind going to take a vote on which one of you is the Complainer in Chief. Now that would be a neck and neck race. maybe you with tom as Vice Complainer

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

I thought Obama reminded me of Ali and his "rope a dope" strategy. Obama has been taking a lot of shots, most of them low blows. He just came back and knocked the Republican tax cut plan out of the ring. So much for using their "mandate" to screw the middle class again.

Tara Painter 7 years ago

as long as they stop cutting back on our kids schools, they have done to much of that.

yourworstnightmare 7 years ago

Great speech by Obama. basing his economic plan on facts rather than on some fictional, fantastical novel (Atlas Shrugged). The deficit cannot be cured by spending cuts alone.

I am glad that Obama called out the GOP on their true goals. They don't really care about the deficit, but rather want to use the deficit as an excuse to try to engineer society to fit what they prefer. Small government when it comes to business; big government when it comes to liberty.

gr 7 years ago

So how is that fair to discriminate even more so against a targeted group?

Even more of the tax burden is being placed on a smaller percentage. What is going to happen when those wealthiest decide they've been discriminated enough and leave for a country which taxes them fairly? Seems like a similar thing happened many years ago in France. How did that work out?

I suppose if the top group leaves, they'll just target the next top group.

Where is Obama going to get the money from when all the taxpaying people leave?

Well...., well....., well.... I don't rightly know.

Katara 7 years ago

There was another major event in France involving the wealthy...

notanota 7 years ago

Yes, they'll all leave, just like they did in the 90s. Poor, poor discriminated against rich people! Nobody will seat them at restaurants. They're never let into schools. Real estate agents avoid showing them houses in the "good" sections of town. People shun them at all social gatherings. It's no wonder they feel like life is so unfair to them.

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

We've been hearing a lot about how the wealthy are not paying very much tax at all and CEOs are often over compensated while at the same time they are laying off workers or offshoring jobs.

The rhetoric that the Republican Party used in the past does not have the same zing anymore because the American people are still hurting from the Wall Street crash and bailout.

During the Reagan administration when the Democrats were up in arms about the rising National Debt, Americans did not seem to care much. It is now a big deal. That is a good thing. Americans are paying attention more than every before and I think they will demand a reasonable plan that includes both spending cuts and tax reform with some increases.

You have to have both. This will include the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

The only thing I am worried about is whether small and medium sized businesses will be hurt because these tax plans often are tailored to the biggest special interest groups and that would be the very wealthy or the unions. The middle or upper middle income get blasted.

jafs 7 years ago

Yes, it's interesting.

According to something I saw the other day, the national debt tripled during Reagan's time in office.

Apparently that wasn't an issue then, for some reason.

Of course, both sides are very selective in their concerns about our debt problem.

jhawkinsf 7 years ago

There is really a simple solution. Pass a law that states that the entire tax code can be no more than 3 pages long, using normal size font. See how many loopholes you can squeeze into that space. With the elimination of all those loopholes (deductions), Congress would be forced to pass tax laws that are either fair or so unfair, it would certainly result in a revolt. And think of all the trees this would save.

beatrice 7 years ago

Why am I picturing 3 very, very, very long pages?

jhawkinsf 7 years ago

I guess I should have been more clear. I did say normal font since I envisioned letters so small it would take a microscope to see.
But seriously folks, eliminating the vast majority of deductions would make the system more fair in the eyes of everyone and lessen the class warfare that is on the increase now.

jafs 7 years ago

In a similar vein, I think all legislation should be single topic, and also limited to a relatively small length.

Let them vote for or against a clear concise piece of legislation, with no unrelated stuff tacked on.

monkeyhawk 7 years ago

Have you ever heard the term "dull normal"?

monkeyhawk 7 years ago

Sorry for the misunderstanding - I was actually referring to merrill, and it is more of a descriptive condition than name calling.

jafs 7 years ago

There's an obvious distinction between disliking the idea of government spending, and disliking the way in which it goes about that spending.

jafs 7 years ago

There's an interesting study that was just done, the results of which were that liberal folks' brains had a rather developed part which is associated with understanding complexity, while conservative folks' brains were more developed in the area associated with fear and anxiety.

Jay Keffer 7 years ago

Surprise, raise taxes.

How about this instead:

Spread my work ethic, not my wealth.

beatrice 7 years ago

Homeslice, are you okay with asking future generations to pay for wars fought today? Under the previous administration, we saw tax cuts that greatly benefitted the wealthy, even though we started two wars. We also saw major additions in prescription drugs added to Medicare/Medicaid without adding any way to pay for them. We can't afford to continue to do this. Even after we let the Bush cuts expire, the tax rate will still be well below what it was under Reagan. Was Reagan a socialist? I don't think so.

Personally, I think it will take several ideas from both camps, meaning serious cuts to spending and yes, raising taxes. I don't mean just for the wealthiest, either. We all will have to pay. We have allowed politics to divide us so greatly, I'm not actually sure we are able to do it.

beatrice 7 years ago

Deacon and Dopple, yes indeed, Obama is the first. That is not, however, his title nor a nickname. We don't capitalize the "f" in recognizing his being the first to break the racial ceiling for the highest office in the country. What we Americans do capitalize, however, is President, as in President Barack Obama. You will find that in the first three words of this article.

HIs being first sure makes some people act like a number two.

gr 7 years ago

What is fair taxes? What is the rate the rich pay compared to the rate most of us pay? Would you want to pay at that rate? Why is that fair?

jhawkinsf 7 years ago

Fair is if every person and every corporation paid a flat rate of somewhere between 18%-22%.

gr 7 years ago

Without speaking about the rate, I would agree that would be fair to charge everyone the same rate. I mean, that's the definition of fair, right? And before someone whines about the poor people, would could give them an unfair break of no taxes until they reach a certain amount, or would that initiate additional unfair taxes? I guess the question is, should everyone pay their fair share or should some at a low level not have to carry their load and let someone else carry it for them?

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