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President Barack Obama Outlines Plan for Cutting the U.S. Deficit by $4 Trillion Within 12 Years

President Barack Obama Outlines Plan for Cutting the U.S. Deficit by $4 Trillion Within 12 Years

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Published by Zim Vicom

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Published by: Zim Vicom on Apr 13, 2011
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04/13/2011

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President Barack Obama outlines plan for cutting theU.S. deficit by $4 Trillion within 12 years
Drawing a clear line between his budget priorities and a proposal pitched byRepublicans, President Obama outlined a new spending plan Wednesday which heclaimed would cut the deficit by $4 trillion within 12 years with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases on the wealthy.Obama, in a speech at George Washington University whichamounted to anopening argument in the emerging 2012 presidential campaign, positioned hislatest spending plan as a more "compassionate" alternative to one introduced lastweek by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan. He applauded Republicans for putting a plan on thetable to address entitlements, but the praise stopped there.
 
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"The way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally differentAmerica than the one we've known certainly in my lifetime," Obama said, callingtheir plan "deeply pessimistic."
 
He suggested Republicans were giving up on basicfunctions of government.
 
"It's a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can'tafford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and thewill but not the money to go to college, we can't afford to send them," Obama saidof the Republican plan. "It's a vision that says America can't afford to keep thepromise we've made to care for our seniors."The president's proposal would deal with entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid,but avoid the major changes being pushed by Ryan. The president opposes turningMedicaid into a block-grant program for states and making Medicare seniorspurchase government-subsidized insurance, as Ryan proposed. Rather, he vowed tomake other changes he claims will extract more than $300 billion in savings fromthose Medicare and Medicaid over the next decade. Plus he pushed cuts indiscretionary spending, including to defense.
 
The president drew several lines in the sand, as the latest round of the budgetdebate gets underway. Accusing Republicans of cutting services to seniors andpoor children while cutting taxes for the rich, Obama said: "That's not right, andthat's not going to happen as long as I'm president."
 
The White House, instead, has called for a "balance" between cuts and changes tothe tax code. Though the administration refers to this as "tax reform," the planincludes a call for rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy -- meaning a taxhike for households making more than $250,000.
 
Republicans and Democrats had agreed to extend all the Bush tax cuts for twoyears, but Obama said Wednesday, "I refuse to renew them again" for the wealthy.
 
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"The most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. I don't need anothertax cut," he said.
 
Republicans, though, have roundly opposed a tax hike for anyone.
 
"Ihopewe don't have a re-do and a do-over of the tax agreement," HouseRepublican Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said. "This was an issue that was litigated inthe election last fall."
 
Having met with the president Wednesday morning before the speech, HouseSpeaker John Boehner said that he made clear to the president that if thegovernment is going to do something credible and meaningful, "raising taxes willnot be part of that."
 
"The one area that we know we're not going to get very far on is that we're going toraise taxes on the very people we're counting on to ... create jobs," he said.Obama's plan also called for a "failsafe" trigger, which would apply across-the-board spending cuts if the national debt, as a percentage of GDP, is not on thedecline by 2014.The speech effectively served as a counterproposal to the 2012 budget plan offeredbyRyan. The chairman of the House Budget Committee has proposed a plan heclaims will cut deficits by $4.4 trillion over the next decade, in large part byoverhauling Medicare and Medicaid. He offsets the savings from some of theproposed spending cuts with tax cuts, leaving critics claiming his plan is out of balance, rewarding the wealthy while cutting programs for the poor.
 
While a rebuttal to Ryan's plan, Obama's speech is also a follow-up to the 2012budget plan he put on the table earlier in the year.
 
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