President Obama on Our Economy and the Debt Limit: “Now is the Time to Go Ahead and Make the Tough Choices”
In his press conference this morning, the President took questions on anything the White House press corps could think of, but his primary argument was on the economy, the deficits, and the consequences of Congress not acting and allowing America to default on its debt. He made clear that while he continues to work on everything from streamlining regulations to getting capital to small business, there are things Congress can do right now to grow the economy and create jobs – including putting construction workers back to work rebuilding our country, passing into law trade agreements that will increase exports and create jobs and coming to an agreement to reduce the deficit. As he explained, reducing our deficits has to be done in a fair and balanced way, and that means those in Congress who are looking only at cutting core priorities like education and medical research and cutting Medicare benefits for seniors while excluding even the most egregious tax loopholes for special interests and the very wealthiest Americans need to come to the table:
On Closing Tax Loopholes for Millionaires and Billionaires:
There’s been a lot of discussion about revenues and raising taxes in recent weeks, so I want to be clear about what we’re proposing here. I spent the last two years cutting taxes for ordinary Americans, and I want to extend those middle-class tax cuts. The tax cuts I’m proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires; tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners.
It would be nice if we could keep every tax break there is, but we’ve got to make some tough choices here if we want to reduce our deficit. And if we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, then that means we’ve got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship. That means we’ve got to stop funding certain grants for medical research. That means that food safety may be compromised. That means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden. Those are the choices we have to make.
So the bottom line is this: Any agreement to reduce our deficit is going to require tough decisions and balanced solutions. And before we ask our seniors to pay more for health care, before we cut our children’s education, before we sacrifice our commitment to the research and innovation that will help create more jobs in the economy, I think it’s only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well to give up a tax break that no other business enjoys. I don’t think that’s real radical. I think the majority of Americans agree with that.
On Addressing Debt Limit: