Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Features

January 14, 2013

President Obama's end-of-term press conference

(Continued)

Washington, D.C. —

 
 
 
So we've made progress.  We are moving towards our ultimate goal of getting to a $4 trillion reduction.  And there will be more deficit reduction when Congress decides what to do about the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that have been pushed off until next month. 
 
 
 
The fact is, though, we can’t finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone.  The cuts we’ve already made to priorities other than Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense mean that we spend on everything from education to public safety less as a share of our economy than it has -- than has been true for a generation.  And that’s not a recipe for growth.
 
 
 
So we’ve got to do more both to stabilize our finances over the medium and long term, but also spur more growth in the short term.  I’ve said I’m open to making modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to protect them for future generations.  I’ve also said that we need more revenue through tax reform by closing loopholes in our tax code for the wealthiest Americans.  If we combine a balanced package of savings from spending on health care and revenues from closing loopholes, we can solve the deficit issue without sacrificing our investments in things like education that are going to help us grow.
 
 
 
It turns out the American people agree with me.  They listened to an entire year’s debate over this issue, and they made a clear decision about the approach they prefer.  They don’t think it’s fair, for example, to ask a senior to pay more for his or her health care, or a scientist to shut down lifesaving research so that a multimillionaire investor can pay less in tax rates than a secretary.  They don’t think it’s smart to protect endless corporate loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans rather than rebuild our roads and our schools, invest in our workers’ skills, or help manufacturers bring jobs back to America.  So they want us to get our books in order in a balanced way, where everybody pulls their weight, everyone does their part.

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