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President Barack Obama Monday launched an ambitious deficit reduction plan with $1.5 trillion in new taxes aimed at closing loopholes used by the rich and one that he says will cut the national debt by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
“It comes down to this: We have to prioritize,” the President said. “Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount — by $4 trillion. So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal? Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.”
Obama vowed to veto any legislation that cuts Medicare, saying “we just can’t cut our way out of this hole.”
Added the President in his speech on Monday:
Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that the most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get. We can’t afford to do both.
This is not class warfare. It’s math. The money is going to have to come from someplace. And if we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit and we are trying to reach that same target of $4 trillion, then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more: We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor. We’ve got to scale back on the investments that have always helped our economy grow. We’ve got to settle for second-rate roads and second-rate bridges and second-rate airports, and schools that are crumbling.
That’s unacceptable to me. That’s unacceptable to the American people. And it will not happen on my watch. I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.
Unlike previous vague proposals from the White House, Obama’s new plan is long on specifics.
Veto threats, a massive tax hike, phantom savings, and punting on entitlement reform is not a recipe for economic or job growth or even meaningful deficit reduction. The good news is that the Joint Committee is taking this issue far more seriously than the White House.