News / USA

    Obama Unveils Deficit-Fighting Plan

    President Barack Obama outlines his plan for cutting federal spending during an address at George Washington University in Washington, April 13, 2011
    President Barack Obama outlines his plan for cutting federal spending during an address at George Washington University in Washington, April 13, 2011

    In a major speech on fiscal policy in Washington, President Barack Obama has set goals of reducing deficits, and the more than $14 trillion national debt, over the next dozen years. Mr. Obama says getting the nation's fiscal house in order will require shared sacrifice.   

    The speech came at a pivotal moment, with the country's debt and deficit spending at historic levels, and opposition Republicans challenging Mr. Obama to sharply reduce spending while not raising taxes.

    Key points in the president's plan include a phased reduction of future deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years or less, and putting the national debt on a declining path as a share of the economy by the second half of this decade.

    The plan envisions that Bush-era tax cuts for wealthy Americans would not be extended.  That keeps the president in conflict with Republicans, who have already labeled any steps resulting in higher taxes as a "non-starter."

    Related video report by Kent Klein
    :

    Laying out what he described as a path to shared prosperity, Mr. Obama said his strategy would protect the most vulnerable in society while preserving investments needed for job creation and continuing economic recovery.

    He warned of the consequences if no action is taken to address mounting debt. "By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs - Medicare and Medicaid - Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt.  That’s it.   Every other national priority : education, transportation, even national security, will have to be paid for with borrowed money," he said.

    Even after the U.S. economy recovers, the president said it will remain on track to be spending more money than it takes in through this decade and beyond, requiring continuing borrowing from countries like China.

    Mr. Obama's  proposals include a provision requiring mandatory across-the-board spending cuts if enough progress is not being made to stabilize and reduce the national debt by 2014.

    The plan envisions hundreds of billions of dollars in savings from reforms in the government Medicare and Medicaid programs, reforms of the tax code, and defense spending.

    A significant portion of the address was devoted to attacking the Republican budget plan for 2012, which proposes about $1 trillion more in deficit reductions over 10 years, with continuing tax breaks for the wealthy.

    Mr. Obama called the Republican plan "deeply pessimistic" saying it would result in a fundamentally different America. "There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.  And I don't think there is anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.  That is not a vision of the America I know," he said.

    Republicans say their budget, which proposes major changes to Medicare and Medicaid, will do more to attack fiscal problems without penalizing what they call  "the main creators of jobs."  

    In a written statement, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said the president failed to deliver a plan.

    Republican budget chairman Representative Paul Ryan said, "What we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country's pressing fiscal challenges."

    President Obama said he asked Republican and Democratic leaders to designate teams for negotiations to begin in May, to achieve deficit reduction legislation by the end of June.  Vice President Joe Biden will oversee that process.

    The president said he does not expect any final agreement to look exactly like the plan he presented on Wednesday, but believes Americans expect leaders in Washington to compromise. "Though I’m sure the criticism of what I have said here today will be fierce in some quarters, and my critique of the House Republican approach has been strong, Americans deserve and will demand that we all bridge our differences, and find common ground," he said.

    President Obama said that in the past presidents and both major parties in Congress had succeeded in reaching agreements on difficult issues, adding that he knows there are Republicans and Democrats who want to see what he called a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 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 Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    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.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.