Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections
(Page 5 of 6)

Read the full text of Obama's speech on the GOP budget

April 03, 2012

"The net result is that our country will end up spending more on health care, and the only reason the government will save any money -- it won't be on our books -- is because we've shifted it to seniors.  They'll bear more of the costs themselves.  It's a bad idea, and it will ultimately end Medicare as we know it. 

"Now, the proponents of this budget will tell us we have to make all these draconian cuts because our deficit is so large; this is an existential crisis, we have to think about future generations, so on and so on.  And that argument might have a shred of credibility were it not for their proposal to also spend $4.6 trillion over the next decade on lower tax rates. 

"We're told that these tax cuts will supposedly be paid for by closing loopholes and eliminating wasteful deductions.  But the Republicans in Congress refuse to list a single tax loophole they are willing to close.  Not one.  And by the way, there is no way to get even close to $4.6 trillion in savings without dramatically reducing all kinds of tax breaks that go to middle-class families -- tax breaks for health care, tax breaks for retirement, tax breaks for homeownership.

"Meanwhile, these proposed tax breaks would come on top of more than a trillion dollars in tax giveaways for people making more than $250,000 a year.  That's an average of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in this country -- $150,000.

"Let's just step back for a second and look at what $150,000 pays for:  A year's worth of prescription drug coverage for a senior citizen.  Plus a new school computer lab.  Plus a year of medical care for a returning veteran.  Plus a medical research grant for a chronic disease.  Plus a year's salary for a firefighter or police officer.  Plus a tax credit to make a year of college more affordable.  Plus a year's worth of financial aid.  One hundred fifty thousand dollars could pay for all of these things combined -- investments in education and research that are essential to economic growth that benefits all of us.  For $150,000, that would be going to each millionaire and billionaire in this country.  This budget says we'd be better off as a country if that's how we spend it.

This is supposed to be about paying down our deficit?  It's laughable.

The bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission that I created -- which the Republicans originally were for until I was for it -- that was about paying down the deficit. And I didn't agree with all the details.  I proposed about $600 billion more in revenue and $600 billion -- I'm sorry -- it proposed about $600 billion more in revenue and about $600 billion more in defense cuts than I proposed in my own budget.  But Bowles-Simpson was a serious, honest, balanced effort between Democrats and Republicans to bring down the deficit.  That's why, although it differs in some ways, my budget takes a similarly balanced approach:  Cuts in discretionary spending, cuts in mandatory spending, increased revenue. 

"This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether.  It is a Trojan Horse.  Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.  It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.  It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who's willing to work for it; a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.  And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that's built to last  -- education and training, research and development, our infrastructure -- it is a prescription for decline. 

"And everybody here should understand that because there's very few people here who haven't benefitted at some point from those investments that were made in the '50s and the '60s and the '70s and the '80s.  That's part of how we got ahead.  And now, we're going to be pulling up those ladders up for the next generation?

"So in the months ahead, I will be fighting as hard as I know how for this truer vision of what the United States of America is all about.  Absolutely, we have to get serious about the deficit. And that will require tough choices and sacrifice.  And I've already shown myself willing to make these tough choices when I signed into law the biggest spending cut of any President in recent memory.  In fact, if you adjust for the economy, the Congressional Budget Office says the overall spending next year will be lower than any year under Ronald Reagan. 

"And I'm willing to make more of those difficult spending decisions in the months ahead.  But I've said it before and I'll say it again -- there has to be some balance.  All of us have to do our fair share. 

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|