Obama calls for $4 trillion in savings over 12 years 

President Obama on Wednesday proposed cutting the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years, seeking to put his stamp on a raging debate while savaging a Republican budget plan that he called neither "serious" nor "courageous."

The president sought to demonstrate his commitment to tackling the deficit while preserving entitlement programs he said would be essentially wiped out under a GOP proposal.

Obama embraced many of the proposals of his own deficit commission, calling for  savings in Medicare and Medicaid, cuts in defense spending and the elimination of the so-called Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Obama also offered a strong rebuttal of the Republican plan.

"The fact is, their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America," he said. "As Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing 'serious' or 'courageous' about this plan.  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.  There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.  And this is not a vision of the America I know."

He also recommended a debt "failsafe" that would mandate spending reductions — excluding entitlements for seniors and the poor —  if the debt did not decrease beginning in 2014.

And speaking to critics in his own party, the president said, "I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have the obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments.  If we believe that government can make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works."

 

 

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Brian Hughes

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