News / USA

    Obama Proposes $3 Trillion Deficit, Debt Plan

    President Barack Obama gestures while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, September 19, 2011.
    President Barack Obama gestures while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, September 19, 2011.

    Presenting his second major set of economic proposals in 10 days, President Barack Obama has unveiled a plan for more than $3 trillion in spending reductions over the next decade, saying all Americans, and specifically the wealthy, will be asked to share the burden of fixing the economy. Republicans already are criticizing the proposals.

    In battles with Congress over deficit and debt reduction and taxes, Obama has always stressed the need for balance in fixing the nation's fiscal mess, and shared sacrifice while not harming the most vulnerable Americans.

    Coming after his $447-billion jobs proposal, his recommendations to a joint congressional deficit reduction panel raise the stakes again in the political wrestling match with opposition Republicans.

    Combo of cuts, taxes

    The plan contains more than $3.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade, combining spending cuts with new tax revenue - including a new minimum tax on millionaires.

    With the earlier $1 trillion in cuts from a difficult compromise with Republicans, this makes for $4.4 trillion, on the level of the so-called grand bargain that Obama advocated earlier this year, but Republicans ultimately rejected.

    "It is a plan that reduces our debt by more than $4 trillion, and achieves these savings in a way that is fair, by asking everybody to do their part so that no one has to bear too much of the burden on their own," said the president.

    Obama's plan takes aim at tax loopholes favoring the wealthy, and assumes an expiration of tax cuts approved by Congress under former Republican President George W. Bush. It also seeks broad tax reforms.

    Ending certain tax breaks

    Included are steps Republicans have resisted, such as eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies, ending tax advantages for highly-paid Wall Street fund managers, and eliminating benefits for those who own corporate jets.

    It also envisions $1.1 trillion in savings from the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, $250 billion in other so-called mandatory programs, reducing government waste, and streamlining federal agencies.

    Obama proposes more than $300 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid, the so-called "entitlement" programs burdening the economy, part of more than $500 billion in cuts to mandatory programs.

    The president responded to Republican and conservative Tea Party critics who have accused him of conducting "class warfare" by targeting the wealthy for tax increases.

    He said he will reject anything that reduces benefits for those depending on major government health programs and Social Security, unless wealthy Americans and large companies are asked to pay more.

    "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 the biggest corporations to pay their fair share," he said.

    Showdown with Republicans

    The White House says implementing the plan would put the United States in a position by 2017 where government spending does not add to the national debt, currently more than $14 trillion, with debt beginning to fall as a share of GDP.

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, "Why $4 trillion? That is what you need to bring the deficits down to a level that that we can sustain over time."

    Under the previous deficit compromise, which Republicans linked to the national debt ceiling, the joint congressional committee must find $1.5 trillion in additional savings by November. Failure to do so would lead to automatic cuts.

    The House of Representatives speaker, Republican John Boehner, accused Obama of "pitting one group of Americans against another." He said it is evident that "barriers" remain between himself and the president over tax increases and entitlement programs.

    With polls showing most Americans favor more sacrifice from the wealthy, Obama wants to increase public pressure on Republicans, as the congressional committee works on its decisions, and reduce criticism from within his Democratic base.

    The White House believes that by finally "drawing the line" on the need for tax increases on the wealthy, a president with low approval numbers on his handling of the economy will be able to draw an even clearer contrast with Republican positions as the 2012 election draws near.

    Saying the changes he is proposing are neither easy nor politically convenient, Obama said it's the responsibility of leaders in Washington to "put country before party" in a debate he says is as much about fairness as it is about facing up to a legacy of debt that threatens the economy.


    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.