The village idiots/usual suspects have been roaming about the earth screeching and whining about POTUS the sell-out. Don’t believe the Hype folks. And as predicted, the POTUS delivers his message directly to the American people. media commences
For those of us who don’t buy the media hype, this is a MUST READ from rootless over
at The People’s View-
THE CONVEYOR BELT: The “Left” Marketing of Republican Stories
A friend sent an email with a number of the standard complaints liberals have about President Obama and, although I knew it wouldn’t work, I sent back some factual corrections. The response was “those sound like excuses”. Marketing works and the goal of of consumer marketing is to produce an emotional reaction that feels more authentic than boring facts. Since Roger Aisles managed Nixon’s campaign, Republican marketing has zeroed in on associating Democrats with “weak”, “untrustworthy/unreliable”, and either “effeminate” or “bitchy” depending on the gender of the target. Republicans on the other hand are tough, strong, decisive, manly or desirable. In the last couple of years the Republicans have made use of blogs and social media as well as the “alternative media” to pitch this story as “criticism from the left” or “principled opposition”. So in addition to Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman of the Times referring to the President as “Obambi” and “this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular”, respectively, DailyKos writes “President grovelling beaten lump Obama still believes in unicorns”, and FireDogLake tells us about “further spineless capitulation”. Once the brand is established, it is automatic and self-reinforcing and immune to “excuses”.
Although President Obama seems to have faced down and fended off a very aggressive Republican attack via the budget process, the impression of capitulation has been sold so well that many people will never have a clear idea of what happened. What most readers will remember is “completely caved” and not the grudging later admission “So given political realities, this deal is probably less bad than it otherwise could have been, and at least in my view, it’s better than shutting the government down.” Of course the progressive blogs rarely even admit error. READ ON HERE.
Please visit The People’s View some love and pass on the link!
And like clockwork, the media commences to put their spin on the president’s speech. * Looking at YOU Howard Kurtz*
OBAMA: It is wonderful to be back at G.W. I want you to know that one of the reasons that I worked so hard with Democrats and Republicans to keep the government open was so that I could show up here today.
I want to make sure that all of you had one more excuse to skip class.
I want to give a special thanks to Steven Knapp, the president of G.W. I just saw him. Where is he?
There he is, right here.
I want to — we’ve got a lot of distinguished guests here. A couple of people I want to acknowledge.
First of all, my outstanding vice president, Joe Biden, is here.
Our secretary of the treasury, Tim Geithner, is in the house.
Jack Lew, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Gene Sperling, chair of the National Economic Council, is here.
Members of our bipartisan fiscal commission are here, including the two outstanding chairs — Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson are here.
And we have a umber of members of Congress here today. I’m grateful for all of you taking the time to attend.
What we’ve been debating here in Washington over the last few weeks will affect the lives of the students here and families all across America in potentially profound ways.
This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page, it’s about more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of future that we want.
OBAMA: It’s about the kind of country that we believe in. And that’s what I want to spend some time talking about today.
From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity. And more than citizens of any other country, we are rugged individualists, a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of too much government.
But there has always been another thread running through our history: a belief that we’re all connected and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.
We believe, in the words of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.
And so we’ve built a strong military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities to educate our citizens. We’ve laid down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce.
OBAMA: We’ve supported the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire new industries.
Each of us has benefited from these investments, and we’re a more prosperous country as a result.
Now, part of this American belief that we’re all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity.
We recognize that, no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves.
And so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, those with disabilities.
OBAMA: We’re a better country because of these commitments.
I’ll go further: We would not be a great country without those commitments.
And for much of the last century, our nation found a way to afford these investments and priorities with the taxes paid by its citizens. As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate; everybody pays, but the wealthier have borne a little more.
This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well. We rightly celebrate their success.
Instead, it’s a basic reflection of our belief that those who benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little — a little bit more.
OBAMA: Moreover, this belief hasn’t hindered the success of those at the top of the income scale. They continue to do better and better with each passing year.
Now, at certain times — particularly during war or recession — our nation has had to borrow money to pay for some of our priorities. And as most families understand, a little credit card debt isn’t going to hurt, if it’s temporary.
But as far back as the 1980s, America started amassing debt at more alarming levels, and our leaders began to realize that a larger challenge was on the horizon.
They knew that eventually, the baby boom generation would retire, which meant a much bigger portion of our citizens would be relying on programs like Medicare, Social Security and possibly Medicaid.
Like parents with young children who know they have to start saving for the college years, America had to start borrowing less and saving more to prepare for the retirement of an entire generation.
To meet this challenge, our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit — three times. They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush, then made by President Clinton, by Democratic Congresses and by a Republican Congress.
All three agreements asked for shared responsibility and shared sacrifice, but they largely protected the middle class, they largely protected our commitments to seniors, they protected our key investments in our future.
As a result of these bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000. We went from deficit to surplus. America was actually on track to becoming completely debt-free, and we were prepared for the retirement of the baby boomers.
But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program, but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending.
OBAMA: Instead we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts; tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.
To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this.
In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.
But that’s not what happened. And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a baby boom retirement that is now starting to take place.
When I took office, our projected deficit annually was more than $1 trillion. On top of that, we faced a terrible financial crisis and a recession that, like most recessions, led us to temporarily borrow even more.
In this case, we took a series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs, kept credit flowing, and provided working families extra money in their pocket. It was absolutely the right thing to do, but these steps were expensive and added to our deficits in the short term.
So that’s how our fiscal challenge was created. That’s how we got here. And now that our economic recovery is gaining strength, Democrats and Republicans must come together and restore the fiscal responsibility that served us so well in the 1990s.
We have to live within our means. We have to reduce our deficit. And we have to get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt.
OBAMA: And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, protects the investments we need to grow, creates jobs, and helps us win the future.
Now, before I get into how we can achieve this goal, some of you, particularly the younger people here — you don’t qualify, Joe…
… some of you might be wondering, “Why is this so important? Why does this matter to me?”
Well, here’s why.
Even after our economy recovers, our government will still be on track to spend more money than it takes in throughout this decade and beyond. That means we’ll have to keep borrowing more from countries like China.
That means more of your tax dollars each year will go towards paying off the interest on all of the loans that we keep taking out. By the end of this decade, the interest that we owe on our debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion. Think about that. That’s the interest, just the interest payments.
Then, as the baby boomers start to retire in greater numbers and health care costs continue to rise, the situation will get even worse.
By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt. That’s it. Every other national priority — education, transportation, even our national security — will have to be paid for with borrowed money.
Now, ultimately all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future.
OBAMA: We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads; all the things that create new jobs and businesses here in America.
Businesses will be less likely to invest and open shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, that could drive up interest rates for everybody who borrows money, making it harder for businesses to expand and hire or families to take out a mortgage.
Here’s the good news: That doesn’t have to be our future; that doesn’t have to be the country that we leave our children.
We can solve this problem. We came together as Democrats and Republicans to meet this challenge before; we can do it again. But that starts by being honest about what’s causing our deficit.
You see, most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but like the stuff that it buys.
Most of us, regardless of party affiliation, believe that we should have a strong military and a strong defense. Most Americans believe we should invest in education and medical research. Most Americans think we should protect commitments like Social Security and Medicare.
And without even looking at a poll, my finely honed political instincts tell me that almost nobody believes they should be paying higher taxes.
So because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse.
OBAMA: You’ll hear that phrase a lot: “We just need to eliminate waste and abuse.”
The implication is that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices.
Or politicians suggest that we can somehow close our entire deficit by eliminating things like foreign aid, even though foreign aid makes up about 1 percent of our entire federal budget.
So here’s the truth.
Around two-thirds of our budget — two-thirds — is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and national security — two- thirds.
Programs like unemployment insurance, student loans, veterans’ benefits and tax credits for working families take up another 20 percent.
What’s left, after interest on the debt, is just 12 percent for everything else. That’s 12 percent for all of our national priorities: education, clean energy, medical research, transportation, our national parks, food safety, keeping our air and water clean. You name it, all of that accounts for 12 percent of our budget.
Now, up ’til now, the debate here in Washington — the cuts proposed by a lot of folks in Washington have focused almost exclusively on that 12 percent.
OBAMA: But cuts to that 12 percent alone won’t solve the problem. So any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget.
A serious plan doesn’t require us to balance our budget overnight. In fact, economists think that with the economy just starting to grow again we need a phased-in approach. But it does require tough decisions and support from our leaders in both parties now. Above all, it will require us to choose a vision of the America we want to see five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road.
Now, to their credit, one vision has been presented and championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.
Those are both worthy goals. They’re worthy goals for us to achieve.
But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known, certainly in my lifetime. In fact, I think it would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history.
A 70 percent cut in clean energy, a 25 percent cut in education, a 30 percent cut in transportation, cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year.
OBAMA: That’s the proposal.
These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kind of cuts that the fiscal commission proposed.
These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in and I think you believe in.
I believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them; if there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them.
Go to China and you’ll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities.
South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. They’re scrambling to figure out how they put more money into education.
Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but on biofuels.
And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the American people, the United States of America, the greatest nation on Earth, can’t afford any of this.
It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that 10 years from now, if you’re a 65-year-old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today.
It says, instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck; you’re on your own.
Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.
It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit.
OBAMA: Who are these 50 million Americans?
Many are somebody’s grandparents, maybe one of yours, who wouldn’t be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid.
Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some are these kids with disabilities are — the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care.
These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.
And, worst of all, this is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.
Think about that.
In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. That’s who needs to pay less taxes?
They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors to each pay $6,000 more in health costs.
That’s not right, and that’s not going to happen as long as I’m president.
This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said there’s nothing serious or courageous about this plan.
OBAMA: 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. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. That’s not a vision of the America I know.
The America I know is generous and compassionate. It’s a land of opportunity and optimism. Yes, we take responsibility for ourselves, but we also take responsibility for each other, for the country we want and the future that we share.
We’re a nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the G.I. Bill and we saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare.
We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives.
That’s who we are. This is the America that I know.
We don’t have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment in our people and our country.
To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms, we will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I’m president, we won’t.
So today I’m proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years. It’s an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan fiscal commission that I appointed last year, and it builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget.
OBAMA: It’s an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table, but one that protects the middle class, our promise to seniors and our investments in the future.
The first step in our approach is to keep annual domestic spending low by building on the savings that both parties agreed to last week. That step alone will save us about $750 billion over 12 years.
We will make the tough cuts necessary to achieve these savings, including in programs that I deeply care about. But I will not sacrifice the core investments that we need to grow and create jobs. We will invest in medical research. We will invest in clean energy technology. We will invest in new roads and airports and broadband access. We will invest in education. We will invest in job training. We will do what we need to do to compete, and we will win the future.
The second step in our approach is to find additional savings in our defense budget.
Now, as commander in chief, I have no greater responsibility than protecting our national security, and I will never accept cuts that compromise our ability to defend our homeland or America’s interests around the world.
But as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, has said, the greatest long-term threat to America’s national security is America’s debt.
OBAMA: So just as we must find more savings in domestic programs, we must do the same in defense. And we can do that while still keeping ourselves safe.
Over the last two years, Secretary Bob Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again.
We need to not only eliminate waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but we’re going to have to conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world.
I intend to work with Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs on this review, and I will make specific decisions about spending after it’s complete.
The third step in our approach is to further reduce health care spending in our budget. Now, here the difference with the House Republican plan could not be clearer.
Their plan essentially lowers the government’s health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead. Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.
Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. My approach would build on those — these reforms.
We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid.
We will change the way we pay for health care: not by the procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results.
And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need.
Now, we believe the reforms we’ve proposed to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid will enable us to keep these commitments to our citizens while saving us $500 billion by 2023, and an additional $1 trillion in the decade after that.
OBAMA: But if we’re wrong, and Medicare costs rise faster than we expect, then this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving Medicare.
But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves.
We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.
That includes, by the way, our commitment to Social Security. While Social Security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that’s growing older.
As I said in the State of the Union, both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we have to do it without putting at risk current retirees or the most vulnerable or people with disabilities, without slashing benefits for future generations and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. And it can be done.
The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code, so-called tax expenditures.
In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans.
OBAMA: But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.
Beyond that, the tax code is also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. And while I agree with the goals of many of these deductions, from homeownership to charitable giving, we can’t ignore the fact that they provide millionaires an average tax break of $75,000 but do nothing for the typical middle-class family that doesn’t itemize.
So my budget calls for limiting itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320 billion over 10 years.
But to reduce the deficit, I believe we should go further. And that’s why I’m calling on Congress to reform our individual tax code so that it is fair and simple, so that the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.
I believe reform should protect the middle class, promote economic growth, and build on the fiscal commission’s model of reducing tax expenditures so that there is enough savings to both lower rates and lower the deficit. And as I called for in the State of the Union, we should reform our corporate tax code as well, to make our businesses and our economy more competitive.
So this is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years.
OBAMA: It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures — spending in the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, protecting our commitment to seniors and protecting our investments in the future.
Now, in the coming years, if the recovery speeds up and our economy grows faster than our current projections, we can make even greater progress than I’ve pledged here.
But just to hold Washington and to hold me accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt failsafe.
If, by 2014, our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy, if we haven’t hit our targets, if Congress has failed to act, then my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code.
And that should be an incentive for us to act boldly now, instead of kicking our problems further down the road.
So this is our vision for America, this is my vision for America, a vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future, where everyone makes sacrifices but no one bears all the burden, where we provide a basic measure of security for our citizens and we provide rising opportunity for our children.
There will be those who vigorously disagree with my approach. I can guarantee that as well.
Some will argue we should not even consider — ever, ever — raising taxes, even if only on the wealthiest Americans.
OBAMA: It’s just an article of faith to them.
I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more.
I don’t need another tax cut. Warren Buffett doesn’t need another tax cut. Not if we have to pay for it by making seniors pay more for Medicare or by cutting kids from Head Start or by taking away college scholarships that I wouldn’t be here without, and that some of you wouldn’t be here without.
And here’s the thing: I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to their country, a country that’s done so much for them. It’s just Washington hasn’t asked them to.
Others will say that we shouldn’t even talk about cutting spending until the economy is fully recovered. These are mostly folks in my party.
I’m sympathetic to this view, which is one of the reasons I supported the payroll tax cuts we passed in December. It’s also why we have to use a scalpel and not a machete to reduce the deficit, so that we can keep making the investments that create jobs.
But doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy if we don’t begin a process now to get our fiscal house in order.
Finally, there are those who believe we shouldn’t make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security out of fear that any talk of change to these programs will immediately usher in the sort of radical steps that House Republicans have proposed. And I understand those fears.
OBAMA: But I guarantee that if we don’t make any changes at all, we won’t be able to keep our commitment to a retiring generation that will live longer and will face higher health care costs than those who came before.
Indeed, to those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an 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, by making government smarter and leaner and more effective.
Of course, there are those who simply say there’s no way we can come together at all and agree on a solution to this challenge. They’ll say the politics of this city are just too broken, the choices are just too hard, the parties are just too far apart.
And after a few years on this job I have some sympathy for this view.
But I also know that we’ve come together before and met big challenges.
Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill came together to save Social Security for future generations.
The first President Bush and a Democratic Congress came together to reduce the deficit.
President Clinton and a Republican Congress battled each other ferociously — disagreed on just about everything — but they still found a way to balance the budget.
OBAMA: And in the last few months, both parties have come together to pass historic tax relief and spending cuts. And I know there are Republicans and Democrats in Congress who want to see a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
And even those Republicans I disagree with most strongly I believe are sincere about wanting to do right by their country. We may disagree on our visions, but I — I — I truly believe they want to do the right thing.
So I believe we can and must come together again.
This morning, I met with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to discuss the approach that I laid out today. And in early May, the vice president will begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties with the aim of reaching a final agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit and get it done by the end of June.
I don’t expect the details in any final agreement to look exactly like the approach I laid out today. This is a democracy; that’s not how things work. I’m eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum.
And though I’m sure the criticism of what I’ve said here today will be fierce in some quarters and my critique of the House Republican approach has been strong, Americans deserve and will demand that we all make an effort to bridge our differences and find common ground.
This larger debate that we’re having — this larger debate about the size and the role of government — it has been with us since our founding days. And during moments of great challenge and change, like the one that we’re living through now, the debate gets sharper and it gets more vigorous. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing.
OBAMA: As a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this is one of the most important debates that we can have.
But no matter what we argue, no matter where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans.
We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made these liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American dream for future generations.
This sense of responsibility — to each other and to our country — this isn’t a partisan feeling. This isn’t a Democratic or a Republican idea. It’s patriotism.
The other day I received a letter from a man in Florida. He started off by telling me he didn’t vote for me and he hasn’t always agreed with me. But even though he’s worried about our economy and the state of our politics, here’s what he said.
He said, “I still believe. I believe in that great country that my grandfather told me about. I believe that somewhere lost in this quagmire of petty bickering on every news station, the American dream is still alive.”
“We need to use our dollars here rebuilding, refurbishing and restoring all that our ancestors struggled to create and maintain. We as a people must do this together, no matter the color of the state one comes from or the side of the aisle one might sit on.”
I still believe — I still believe as well. And I know that if we can come together and uphold our responsibilities to one another and to this larger enterprise that is America, we will keep the dream of our founding alive in our time, and we will pass it on to our children, we will pass on to our children a country that we believe in.
Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
Pinellas man’s letter captured Obama’s attention
By Rita Farlow, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, April 15, 2011
BELLEAIR BLUFFS — Charles Fuller believes in the American Dream.
He believes that if one works hard, exhibits honesty and fairness and strives for greatness, that success, prosperity and personal fulfillment will follow.
More than anything, he said, he wants his two elementary school-age daughters to have the same opportunities he’s had — or better.
Disillusioned by political bickering and the slowness of the economic recovery, Fuller decided he needed to make his voice heard.
So the 41-year-old grocer, who lives in Belleair Bluffs with his wife of 13 years, Suzanne, and their daughters, 9-year-old Melody and 7-year-old Tressa, decided to write to the man in charge: President Barack Obama.
“I was concerned about the dire way, financially, the country was going. My concern was that we keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing, and as a parent, my fear was that we were going to leave this country in far worse shape than we received it in,” he said. “I want to leave this world a better place for my children.”
In his letter, Fuller admitted he didn’t vote for Obama.
“I didn’t believe in a million years that my letter would ever cross the president’s desk,” he said. “I really wrote the letter because I needed to vent.”
But several weeks ago — about a month after he sent his letter — Fuller was stunned to receive a handwritten response from the leader of the free world.
“The fact that the president read my letter and took it to heart, and that the words of somebody who admittedly didn’t vote for him would inspire him or make him take notice to another valid opinion … sort of restored my faith in the American government, in this administration — that a grocer from Florida could have the president take notice,” Fuller said.
And take notice he did.
On Wednesday, Obama referenced Fuller’s letter at the end of his speech laying out his ideas for reducing the deficit and securing America’s fiscal future.
Obama read aloud part of Fuller’s letter: ” ‘I still believe. I believe in that great country that my grandfather told me about. I believe that somewhere lost in this quagmire of petty bickering on every news station, the ‘American Dream’ is still alive. We need to use our dollars here rebuilding, refurbishing and restoring all that our ancestors struggled to create and maintain. We as a people must do this together, no matter the color of the … aisle one might sit on.’ ”
“It was quite a moment,” said Fuller, who watched the speech live Wednesday during a work training session in Tampa.
Fuller said his phone kept “going off” earlier Wednesday, but he ignored the calls because he didn’t recognize the number.
But Obama staffers didn’t stop there. They tracked down Fuller’s sister in Massachusetts, who texted her brother to let him know the White House was trying to reach him.
“It was very surreal when I got the message,” he said.
This was actually Fuller’s second letter to the White House. He wrote a letter about taxes during the term of former President George H.W. Bush.
On Wednesday, a White House staffer told Fuller that Obama reads 10 letters each day from everyday people to try to escape “the presidential bubble.”
Obama, he was told, “was very, very inspired” by Fuller’s “optimistic words.”
In turn, Fuller said, he found optimism in Obama’s speech.
“I may not particularly agree with his entire plan for financial success for the country, but I believe it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
[Last modified: Apr 14, 2011 08:14 PM]
From David Plouffe
Yesterday, President Obama laid out a comprehensive and balanced framework to cut the nation’s deficit by $4 trillion over the next twelve years while still making the investments needed to win the future. He also described the underlying values that guide his approach, including the role that government should play and the shared responsibility Americans have to one another.
The video of the President’s speech is worth watching, but it’s 40 minutes long, so we’ve also summed up the main points in a graphic. You can see both the video and the graphic here:
President Obama’s framework has four key parts:
Budget Cuts. Last week, President Obama worked with Democrats and Republicans on a budget compromise that represents the largest spending cut in our history. The President’s approach builds on that compromise and will save us $770 billion over twelve years.
Security Spending. Working with Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, we will cut $400 billion by 2023 out of defense spending by eliminating waste and inefficiencies while ensuring that our troops have the resources they need to protect our national security.
Health Care Costs. The President’s approach to reforming Medicare and Medicaid keeps our commitments to seniors, people with disabilities, and children while reducing health care spending. These reforms will help us save $480 billion by 2023 and an additional $1 trillion in the decade after that.
Tax Reform. The President called for closing loopholes and letting the Bush era high income tax cuts — which we simply cannot afford — expire. The President is also calling on Congress to reform the individual tax code so that it is fair and simple so the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford. Those savings would be devoted to reducing tax rates and the deficit.
The President’s approach also calls for something that we don’t see enough of in Washington — accountability. If this approach isn’t on target by 2014, the President is proposing a “debt failsafe” trigger that would require across the board spending cuts, including spending in the tax code.
Now, you may have also heard about a plan from Republicans in the House of Representatives that will cut the deficit by about the same amount.
But there’s an important difference between the two approaches.
The Republican plan places the burden of debt reduction on those that can least afford it — people like seniors and lower income Americans. Their plan slashes investments in areas like clean energy investment and education funding. It ends Medicare as we know it and doubles health care costs for seniors in order to pay for an average tax cut of $200,000 for millionaires and billionaires.
The President’s plan protects the middle class, defends our commitments to seniors, and makes the smart investments we need to create good jobs and grow our economy. It’s based on the idea that, as a nation, we have a responsibility to come together to provide a basic measure of security and dignity for all Americans.
The President has laid out his framework, but there is clearly much work ahead. As the recent compromise in the face of a government shutdown taught us, Republicans and Democrats can sit down and work through these issues to find common ground.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on our progress.
Senior Advisor to the President
P.S. Tomorrow I’m going to send you another way to understand how your personal taxpayer dollars are spent in Washington. Hint: the President mentioned it in his State of the Union Address
Paul Ryan Responds to President Obama’s Deficit Speech
Someone pass Budget Chairman Paul Ryan a tissue, because it appears President Barack Obama has broken his heart.
Reacting to Obama’s Wednesday speech on deficit reduction, Ryan said that he was first “excited,” then “naively optimistic,” then “disappointed,” then “sad” and finally, in the end, “sincerely disappointed.”
“I was excited when we got invited to attend his speech today,” Ryan, who authored the Republican budget proposal unveiled last week, said just hours after returning from George Washington University where he was given a front row seat for Obama’s address. “I thought the president’s invitation…was an olive branch. Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our countries fiscal challenges.”
Obama’s speech ripped into Ryan’s proposal, arguing that it would take health care opportunities away from senior citizens, and “ends Medicare as we know it.” His 43-minute talk may have put the vice president to sleep, but it energized the traditionally wonky Ryan.
BWA HA HA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
April 13, 2011 4:42 PM
It’s on: Obama takes iron fist to GOP
Posted by Brian Montopoli
President Obama may have been wearing a metaphorical velvet glove during his big deficit reduction speech Wednesday, but make no mistake about it: He took an iron fist to the Republicans.
Mr. Obama’s speech was striking not for the details of his plan as much as the way he set up the choice between his proposal and the one offered by the GOP. Mr. Obama said his plan to save $4 trillion over 12 years was grounded in staying true to the idea that “each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity.”
And that, he said, means protecting the social safety net – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and unemployment insurance – even while reforming the programs involved. Those programs, he said, are integral to America’s exceptionalism. “We would not be a great country without those commitments,” argued the president.
He then went on to question the Republican plan for reflecting an abandonment of what makes America great, stating that it “would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one that we’ve known.” The GOP plan, he said, cuts education, clean energy programs, and college scholarship programs – it says “we can’t afford the America that I believe in and that I think you believe in,” he told a George Washington University audience.
The Republican vision, he added, was “deeply pessimistic.” The president said that Republicans are positing that America can’t afford to fix its bridges, to care for seniors, to send its kids to college – that America, in the end, can’t afford to be great.
LOL Ya want a piece of me?
PBO’s speech carries parisan tone. OH REALLY? WTF were these fools listening to?
Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can’t afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can’t afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about it. In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. The top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that’s who needs to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that’s paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.
Tell’em PBO! Whew lawd, he was magnificant!
THIS: “They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that’s paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.”
BWA HA HA HA as the “courageous” Paul Ryan slinks in his chair…
BWA HA HA HA The fools always end up with EGG on their faces. Trying to second guess and toy with a JEDI’s mind. please, MOFOs! I’m looking for a pic of Paul Ryan. I heard he was there today.
Obama Takes Ryan and the GOP to the Woodshed
Not sure if you are watching, but all the chicken little shit about Obama going after Medicare and Medicaid seems to have been, well, a little premature (which now means the usual suspects will spend the next few days furiously congratulating themselves that their outcry on blogs is what changed Obama’s mind). Obama is also simply taking it to the Ryan plan, pointing out what a joke it is. He can barely suppress a laugh as he repeatedly points out how unserious it actually is.
LOL Where are the visuals, SG2. PBO took’em to de woodshed!
As always, the GOP and their media minions lied, distorted, and spinned what this president would say, because they knew he wouldn’t say these things to claim credit. They are lame, mediocre, have no plans or originality. Pathetic!
Obama Takes Ryan and the GOP to the Woodshed
There are decent Repbulicans and Democrats…..
Act like grown ups, PEOPLE!!!! Or as Joan Rivers says, OH GROW UP
BWA HA HA BAM!
I REFUSTE TO EXTEND TAX CUTS FOR MILLIONARES!
Tee hee! I’ll bet ole Ed Shultz, Cenky Cenk, Maddow and nem are spinning. They were lying right along with the news rags calling PBO a loser, weak, not leading same ole bullshit! handwringing and spinning for ratings and profits.
Yes! Got to watch the backstabbers in his own party. Lying liars!
Yes, thus the “SOME” He knocked it out of the park again. Always rising above the noise, whinning, spinning, and lies. Thank you, President Obama for addressing us like intelligent adults.
Fair taxation, baby! IT’S SHARED RESPONSIBILITY. $4 trillion in the next 12 years. Yea that ought to do it.
Hey now, so long Cat Commission! Toodles!
Here is the White House summary of what President Obama is proposing on long term budget savings. This 10-page preview was provided to reporters in advance of the President’s speech, and was embargoed until delivery.
FACT SHEET: THE PRESIDENT’S FRAMEWORK FOR SHARED PROSPERITY AND SHARED FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
*( Because Paul Ryan’s American Prosperity=RICH WHITE MEN’S PROSPERITY!)
The President believes that we need a comprehensive, pro-growth economic strategy that invests in winning the future, lays the foundation for strong private-sector job growth and ensures that shared prosperity will keep the American dream alive for generations to come. A key component of that strategy must be a commitment to fiscal responsibility and to living within our means. Today, the President is laying out a comprehensive, balanced deficit reduction framework to cut spending, bring down our debt and increase confidence in our nation’s fiscal strength, while supporting our economic recovery and ensuring we are making the investments we need to win the future.
•$4 Trillion in Deficit Reduction: The President is setting a goal of reducing our deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years or less. This deficit reduction would be phased in over time to protect and strengthen our economic recovery and the recovering labor market.
•Debt on a Declining Path, Backed Up By An Across the Board “Debt Failsafe” Trigger: The President’s framework would require that, by the second half of the decade, our nation’s debt is on a declining path as a share of our economy. To enforce this requirement, the President is calling on Congress to enact:
•A Debt Failsafe that will trigger across-the-board spending reductions (both in direct spending and spending through the tax code) if, by 2014, the projected ratio of debt-to-GDP is not stabilized and declining toward the end of the decade. Consistent with prior fiscal enforcement triggers put in place by Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton, the trigger should not apply to Social Security, low-income programs, or Medicare benefits.
•Balance Between Spending Cuts and Tax Reform: The President’s framework would seek a balanced approach to bringing down our deficit, with three dollars of spending cuts and interest savings for every one dollar from tax reform that contributes to deficit reduction. This is consistent with the bipartisan Fiscal Commission’s approach.
•Shared Sacrifice from All, Including the Most Fortunate Americans: The President believes strongly that, as we make difficult choices to live within our means, we cannot afford to make our deficit problem worse by extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
•Bipartisan, Bicameral Negotiations on a Legislative Framework: The President has asked Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader McConnell to each designate four Members from their caucuses to participate in bipartisan, bicameral negotiations led by the Vice President, beginning in early May. The goal of these negotiations is to agree on a legislative framework for comprehensive deficit reduction.
•Policy Highlights. The policy highlights in the President’s framework build on the down-payment included in his FY 2012 Budget. They include:
•Non-security discretionary spending: The President is proposing to build on the savings from the FY 2011 budget agreement, while investing in key drivers of economic growth like energy innovation, education, and infrastructure. This would entail cutting non-security discretionary spending to levels consistent with the Fiscal Commission, saving $770 billion by 2023.
•Security spending: The President’s framework will go beyond the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget to achieve deeper reductions in security spending. It sets a goal of holding the growth in base security spending below inflation, while ensuring our capacity to meet our national security responsibilities, which would save $400 billion by 2023.
•Health care: The President’s framework builds on the Affordable Care Act by including new reforms aimed at further reducing the growth of health care spending – a major driver of long-term deficits. The President opposes any plan that would simply shift costs to seniors and the vulnerable by undermining Medicare and Medicaid. Building on the foundation of the historic deficit reduction achieved through the Affordable Care Act, the framework would save an additional $340 billion by 2021, $480 billion by 2023, and at least an additional $1 trillion in the subsequent decade. These savings complement the new patient safety initiative that could lower Medicare costs by another $50 billion over the next decade by providing better care. The President’s framework includes initiatives that will:
•Bend the long-term cost curve by setting a more ambitious target of holding Medicare cost growth per beneficiary to GDP per capita plus 0.5 percent beginning in 2018, through strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
•Make Medicaid more flexible, efficient and accountable without resorting to block granting the program, ending our partnership with States or reducing health care coverage for seniors in nursing homes, the most economically vulnerable and people with disabilities. Combined Medicaid savings of at least $100 billion over 10 years.
•Reduce Medicare’s excessive spending on prescription drugs and lower drug premiums for beneficiaries without shifting costs to seniors or privatizing Medicare. Combined Medicare savings of at least $200 billion over 10 years.
•Other mandatory spending: Outside of health care, comprehensive deficit reduction must include savings in other mandatory programs, including agricultural subsidies, the federal pension insurance system, and anti-fraud measures, while protecting and strengthening programs that serve low-income families and other vulnerable Americans. The President’s framework includes a target of $360 billion in savings from other mandatory programs by 2023.
•Tax reform: the President is calling for individual tax reform that closes loopholes and produces a system which is simpler, fairer and not rigged in favor of those who can afford lawyers and accountants to game it. The President supports the Fiscal Commission’s goal of reducing tax expenditures enough to both lower rates and lower the deficit.
•Social Security: The President does not believe that Social Security is in crisis nor is a driver of our near-term deficit problems. But, in the context of an aging population and a Social Security wage base that is declining as a share of overall earnings, Social Security faces long-term challenges that are better addressed sooner than later to ensure that the program remains for future generations the rock-solid benefit for older Americans that it has been for past generations. That is why the President supports bipartisan efforts to strengthen Social Security for the long haul. These efforts should be guided by several principles, including strengthening the program and not privatizing it, improving retirement security for the vulnerable while protecting people with disabilities and current beneficiaries, and not slashing benefits for future generations.
You tell’em, Mr President! It ain’t gonna happen. No one is going to take advantage of our seniors and disabled who can’t fend for themselves.
He will PRESERVE the Healthcare programs. Don’t fuck with our elderly, our disabled children. RE-form not abandon them and turn them over for corprotate profits.
Bring it, Mr. President. Call out these greedy bastards who DON’T WANT TO PAY TAXES! AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.
I appreciate hearing the truth about our nation’s economic situation and plans on how to rectify our fisical debts from the president.
POTUS got to give the folks a history lesson on the role of the GOVERNMENT. Infrastructure, railways, science leads to jobs. We are all connected. We deserve some mesasures of security and dignity. WE contriubted to programs like medicare and Social security, unemployment, medicaid, we’ve invested in these programs.
Citizens paid taxes, we’ve paid into the system.
Set it up for’em Mr. President. NO MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!!
Break it down, Mr. President!
Reminding folks that America had a SURPLUS BEFORE 2000. The POTUS knows that screwing with Social Security and Medicare would be MORALLY WRONG!
The President is laying it out there!
Now if these baggers and racists want to call him a fucking socialist, NOW would be the time. Go for it, MOFOs!
PBO to Paul blue-eyed devil Ryan: NAH NAW NAW! HELL NAW!
The POTUS is getting ready to enter.
Go ahead and give the props, Mr. President! yeah VP Biden.
Go on and break it down, PBO.
**REMIDNER** PBO will be speaking in an hour.