News / USA

President Obama Unveils Budget Proposal

The newly published 2012 budget documents on display at the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, February 10, 2011
The newly published 2012 budget documents on display at the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, February 10, 2011

Multimedia

Michael Bowman

U.S. President Barack Obama has unveiled a $3.7 trillion federal budget for next year that seeks to cut America’s mammoth deficit while retaining certain spending priorities to spur future economic expansion.

Republicans, who control one house of Congress, are dismissing the president’s proposed budget as a costly burden to the economy that fails to address a fiscal crisis. The positions staked out constitute opening bids in what is expected to be a protracted battle over the government’s finances.

President Obama says painful choices must be made to put America’s fiscal house in order. "I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years.  This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending - domestic discretionary spending - to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president [in the 1950s]," he said.

The president’s budget mandates cuts in defense spending, environmental protection and many other government endeavors. It assumes robust economic growth in coming years, and limits tax deductions for the wealthy as well as corporate tax breaks. Overall projected deficit reduction totals more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

At the same time, the proposed budget expands funding for infrastructure projects, clean energy initiatives and educational priorities. Speaking at a primary school in Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Obama said America must continue to invest with an eye to the future. "I’m convinced that if we out-build and out-innovate and out-educate, as well as out-hustle the rest of the world, the jobs and industries of our time will take root here in the United States.  Our people will prosper and our country will succeed," he said.

Republicans promptly blasted the president’s budget blueprint, saying it would add more than $7 trillion to the national debt and push America to financial ruin. Republican Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is chairman of the House Budget Committee. "It is not too late to right our ship, get our economy growing, get our debt headed in the right direction, and get America’s fiscal problems solved. But if we keep postponing this, if we keep punting [refusing to tackle the problem] like this budget does, then there will come a moment when it is too late," he said.

The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was even more blunt. "We’re broke [out of money]. We’re broke. We don’t have the money," he said.

Republican legislators have yet to craft an alternative 2012 budget of their own, but are intent on slashing current federal spending, and promise to keep cutting until fiscal woes are solved.

Congressman Ryamn said, "The debt crisis is caused by spending, not taxes. And so, let’s go where the problem is, and that is spending."

President Obama maintains that deep spending cuts favored by Republicans would harm America’s future economic prospects, and unfairly force the poor and vulnerable to bear the cost of years of fiscal excess. Republicans counter that a bloated federal government and ever-expanding national debt will destroy the country, harming everyone - rich and poor alike.

Budget analyst Bill Frenzel of the Brookings Institution says compromise is possible, if Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats are willing to consider deeper spending cuts, and Republicans agree to some form of increased taxation. "As long as Republicans like to cut expenses and Democrats are not as anxious to do so and would rather have a tax component, I think everyone will get less than they want from this budget," he said.

Economists say neither side in the budget debate has yet to embrace badly-needed reforms to programs that provide income and health care assistance to retirees, the costs of which are expected to sky-rocket in coming years. They argue, until those costs are contained, America’s fiscal and economic health will continue to suffer.

The first congressional budget votes could come as early as next week, but a final deal - if one can be struck - is likely months away.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid