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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid