News / USA

Obama 'Optimistic' Debt Reduction Can Be Achieved

President Barack Obama rolls up his sleeves during a town hall meeting to discuss reducing the national debt at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., April 19, 2011
President Barack Obama rolls up his sleeves during a town hall meeting to discuss reducing the national debt at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., April 19, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama said he is "optimistic" and "hopeful" that American political leaders can reach an agreement to cut the nation's $14 trillion debt level by $4 trillion over the next decade or so.

The president, a Democrat, said Tuesday that the nation needs to adopt a spending plan for the coming years that is "fair with shared sacrifices," including higher taxes for wealthy Americans. His renewed call for increased taxes is at odds with a competing budget proposal supported by opposition Republicans, but he said he believes the two parties "can come together to get this done."

Obama, speaking to college students at a school just outside Washington, acknowledged that negotiations over cutting the nation's burgeoning long-term debt "won't be easy."

But he said it is "a good sign" that leaders of both parties agree on the need to trim the country's deficit spending while reducing its long-term debt level. The president said "we need to live within our means while strengthening our future" through increased spending for clean energy programs and educational programs.

Earlier, the U.S. treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, said there is a "broad consensus" emerging on the need for debt reduction.

Geithner told the CNBC television channel that "the chances are better today" than they have been in a long time to lock in "credible targets" for debt reduction. He said it is necessary for the debt burden to start to decline so that the country's economic long-term growth prospects improve.

Geithner said he disagreed with the Standard & Poor's downgrade on Monday of the U.S. economic outlook from "stable" to "negative." He said the U.S. is a younger country than others with the "Triple-A" credit rating and that its commitment for various social welfare programs is less than in other countries with the same top rating.

But he warned that the U.S. must act to start its debt reduction. Geithner said that continuing to borrow 40 cents of every dollar it spends is "completely unsustainable."

Congressional Republicans and the White House have proposed competing debt-reduction plans.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have approved a far-reaching 2012 budget that would cut spending by $6 trillion over the next decade, partly by revamping and trimming government spending on health care for the elderly and poor. Obama has suggested a mix of spending cuts, as well as increasing taxes on the nation's wealthy.

China, which holds more U.S. Treasury bonds than any other investor, urged the U.S. to adopt "responsible policies" to trim its debt level to "safeguard investors' interests."

Stock exchanges across Asia endured selloffs on Tuesday amid investor anxiety over the S&P downgrade of the U.S. economic outlook.

Tokyo's main Nikkei index dropped nearly 1.25 percent by the close of the trading day, while Hong Kong's main index, the Hang Seng, lost 1.3 percent. Share prices in Shanghai, Sydney and Seoul also fell in response to Monday's downgrade.

S&P lowered the U.S. outlook over concerns the Obama administration and congressional lawmakers will not be able to agree on how to reduce the country's massive debt. The agency signaled it could cut the country's top-ranked credit rating within two years.  

That would lead to higher borrowing rates for the U.S. government, as similar credit rating downgrades have for debt-ridden European governments.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs