Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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January 14, 2013

President Obama's end-of-term press conference

(Continued)

Washington, D.C. —

 
 
 
The difference between this year and 2011 is the fact that we've already made $1.2 trillion in cuts.  And at the time, I indicated that there were cuts that we could sensibly make that would not damage our economy, would not impede growth.  I said at the time I think we should pair it up with revenue in order to have an overall balanced package.  But my own budget reflected cuts in discretionary spending.  My own budget reflected the cuts that needed to be made, and we've made those cuts. 
 
 
 
Now, the challenge going forward is that we've now made some big cuts, and if we're going to do further deficit reduction, the only way to do it is in a balanced and responsible way. 
 
 
 
The alternative is for us to go ahead and cut commitments that we've made on things like Medicare, or Social Security, or Medicaid, and for us to fundamentally change commitments that we've made to make sure that seniors don't go into poverty, or that children who are disabled are properly cared for.  For us to change that contract we've made with the American people rather than look at options like closing loopholes for corporations that they don't need, that points to a long-term trend in which we have fundamentally, I think, undermined what people expect out of this government -- which is that parties sit down, they negotiate, they compromise, but they also reflect the will of the American people; that you don't have one narrow faction that is able to simply dictate 100 percent of what they want all the time or otherwise threaten that we destroy the American economy.
 
 
 
Another way of putting it is we've got to break the habit of negotiating through crisis over and over again.  And now is as good of a time as any, at the start of my second term, because if we continue down this path, then there's really no stopping the principle.  I mean, literally -- even in divided government, even where we've got a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate, that a small group in the House of Representatives could simply say every two months, every three months, every six months, every year, we are going to more and more change the economy in ways that we prefer, despite strong objections of Americans all across the country, or otherwise we're going to have America not pay its bills.  And that is no way for us to do business.

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