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Politics

Obama Says No Choice between Deficit Reduction and Government Spending

April 5, 2013 - 6:00pm

President Barack Obama took to the airwaves Saturday, using his weekly address to lay out the blueprint of his new budget, which is expected to be released Wednesday.

In his address, Obama says there is evidence that the deficits are shrinking.

"Ive already signed more than $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction into law, and my budget will reduce our deficits by nearly $2 trillion more, without harming the recovery. That surpasses the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that many economists believe will stabilize our finances," Obama asserts.

The president also condemns the notion that deficits cannot be drawn down while also spending more on the economy. "For years, an argument in Washington has raged between reducing our deficits at all costs, and making the investments we need to grow the economy. My budget puts that argument to rest. Because we dont have to choose between these goals we can do both. After all, as we saw in the 1990s, nothing reduces deficits faster than a growing economy," he says.

Obama confirms what many political pundits have speculated in recent days -- his budget includes cuts to entitlement programs, while asking for more revenue. Insiders say it is a replica of the $1.8 trillion deficit-reduction offer he made to House Speaker John Boehner during the fiscal cliff negotiations in December.

"Well make the tough reforms required to strengthen Medicare for the future, without undermining the rock-solid guarantee at its core," he said. "And well enact common-sense tax reform that includes closing wasteful tax loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected loopholes like the ones that can allow a billionaire to pay a lower tax rate than his or her secretary. This is the compromise I offered the speaker of the House at the end of last year.

"While its not my ideal plan to further reduce the deficit, its a compromise Im willing to accept in order to move beyond a cycle of short-term, crisis-driven decision-making, and focus on growing our economy and our middle class for the long run. It includes ideas many Republicans have said they could accept as well."

While news of the offer did less than excite GOP leaders, the real heat came from the president's own party which was outraged that he would cut Social Security.

That led the White House to come out in defense of a plan that has yet to be released. The budget reflects his priorities within a budget world that is not ideal, Press Secretary Jay Carney said. It requires compromise, negotiation and a willingness to accept that you wont get 100percent of what you want.

Meanwhile, Boehner, R-Ohio, signaled that the president's tactics were not going to move his vision forward and past the Republican Party.

If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, theres no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes, Boehner said. Thats no way to lead and move the country forward.

Obama is scheduled to again try to court GOP elected officials during a Wednesday dinner.

Anne Smith writes special to Sunshine State News.

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