Obama: I Can Cut Deficits, Too!

CNN reports–how’s this for an answer to Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity?”

President Barack Obama unveiled his long-awaited deficit reduction plan Wednesday, calling for a mix of spending reductions and tax hikes that the White House claims would cut federal deficits by $4 trillion over the next 12 years without gutting popular programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Obama’s plan includes a repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts on families making more than $250,000 annually — something sought by Democrats but strongly opposed by Republicans. The president also called for the creation of a “debt fail-safe” trigger that would impose automatic across-the-board spending cuts and tax changes in coming years if annual deficits are on track to exceed 2.8% of the nation’s gross domestic product…

At the same time, Obama blasted the House Republican 2012 budget proposal unveiled last week, saying it would “lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history.”

“These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in and that I think you believe in,” Obama said of the plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, who sat in the audience Wednesday. “I believe it paints a vision of our future that’s deeply pessimistic. “

Proposing once again to rescind the 2003 “Bush tax cuts” for wealthy Americans, while basing part of his plan on health care reform’s cost savings and preserving Medicare, seems to be a game plan that Obama can hit Republicans back with credibly while shoring up relations with the Democratic base–even as he concedes the underlying argument about deficits.

In our view, Democrats cannot afford to have this debate without mentioning the historic Bush tax cuts, and the new tax cuts proposed in the Ryan budget plan, at every possible opportunity. It’s the insistence on further tax cuts by the GOP, irrespective of needs, in place of a realistic debate about priorities, that fundamentally de-legitimizes the “Path to Prosperity.”

The outcome of the 2012 elections may well depend on which spin wins…

64 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Half Glass Full says:

    The Republicans seem almost insane in their effort to do everything possible to slash, slash, slash taxes for the wealthy, and the hell with the country as a whole.

    They seem to be willfully ignoring all economic evidence, and going directly contrary even to Ronald Reagan.

    Obama’s plan is truly conservative. The Republican plan is reckless, irresponsible and – as Obama said – would truly destroy the social compact of America.

    • RedGreen says:

      the lamestream media will (and already is) portay this as two polar positions.

      • talking as though the Ryan plan was the accepted blueprint.  I know there’s this thing called “impartial journalism”, but there’s a difference between impartial and incurious.  Too many news stories today don’t do enough to sort out information and counter-points according to their legitimacy.

        • butterfly says:

          I think that is what many of them are trying to do… defend the comments they made last week about Ryan being so courageous and bold.

          But how can Ryan be so right if the President comes out and in no uncertain terms calls Ryan crazy?

          There better be a lot of left-wingers having the President’s back because the Chamber of Commerce and all of their cohorts, the right-wing media in all its glory etc, etc. are already attacking him and I believe, as he does, that the America that we want to have is not in Ryan’s budget.

  2. ArapaGOP says:

    The problem is, Americans do not trust Democrats on budgetary matters. Show me a poll where Democrats are considered more responsible on fiscal issues than the GOP.

    Until that changes, we all know he’s faking like Clinton.

  3. 20th Maine says:

    Obama’s problems are multiplying.  Witness:

    * He railed against a raise in the debt ceiling as a US Senator.  Now he’s claiming Armegeddon if it’s not done this time when it’s his ass is on the line.  -Politics over principle.

    * Obama extended the Bush tax cuts.  Now he’s slamming them.  -Politics over principle.

    * He submitted a budget recently that cut the deficit by $1T over 10 years.  Just weeks later he goes on TV with a completely new budget that cuts $4T over 12 years.  At least he’s pretending to be serious now.  But it’s such a knee-jerk, light speed reaction that it’s blatantly transparent.  (Not to mention the optics of him reacting to everything the GOP does).  -Politics over principle.

    * Obama rails against GOP favoritism of the wealthy over the poor.  Meanwhile, Jeffrey Immelt, GE CEO, is head of his Economics Advisory Panel.  GE, if you recall, earned profits of about $11B and didn’t pay a dime in taxes.  -Not even good politics.  Just plain hypocrisy.

    *  Meanwhile, Ryan’s plan actually cuts out a lot of loopholes, used primarily by corporations and wealthier Americans, to raise revenues.  He even introduced means-testing as part of entitlement reform.

    Ryan is taking the politically inexpedient steps of calling for entitlement reform.  He’s saying out loud what many know to be true but won’t say it out-loud for purely political reasons.  Though his plan is a very credible one, he’s getting more credit for actually being honest about the situation and the fact it’s going to suck to fix.

    If the GOP can maintain a semblance of discipline over the next 18 months, Obama might very well be fu@ked.  He built a brand during the ’08 cycle that was a lot more about principles than policy.  Since then, he has shit all over that brand.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      Ah, good one. Thanks for the laugh.

      Now man up, put on your big boy pants and call it what it is and what your ilk love more than anything (except maybe tax breaks for the uber wealthy)…privatization. That’s what it’s called. That’s what Ryan is proposing. That’s what it is.

      According to you, the Republican Party is the party of hard truths. So trying telling one every once in awhile.  

      • 20th Maine says:

        That and “Entitlement Reform” aren’t mututally exclusive.  You may not like the that particular reform, but that’s what it is.  

        Not sure what your point is.  It’s not surprising that you simply recite the Schumer talking points and claim to be taking the high road.  

        To my point, Obama’s support has evolved from a genuine grassroots movement to a bunch of automatons reciting talking points and concerned primarily with staying in power rather than doing the right thing.

        I don’t deny that Republicans are often guilty of this too, but Ryan isn’t one of them.  He’s unique among leaders in either party.  But more to the point, he’s not a president up for election with a big branding problem.  

        • Middle of the Road says:

          You got called out for trying to make Ryan’s plan look pretty without being honest about what it is–PRIVATIZATION.

          Oh and believe me, they most certainly are mutually exclusive and you and your brethren are about to find that out the hard way in 2012. Which by the way, I want to thank you for in advance.

          I didn’t take the high road. How could I? I was far too busy laughing my ass off at you to bother.  

        • Ralphie says:

          There would be no need for Medicare or Social Security.

          The problem is, the private sector cherrypicks for greatest profit.  Unless I want to live under a fucking bridge, I have to root for the government to take up the slack.

          However, if you want to live under a fucking bridge when you get to be my age, please feel free.  Your choice.  That’s the free market at work, right?

          • 20th Maine says:

            So of course you don’t have a desire to see anything fixed.  You’re easily scared and way more concerned with yourself as opposed to anyone under the age of 45.  

            As anyone who can read will tell you, the current (read: govt.) system is unsustainable.  Rep. Ryan has offerred a legitimate and serious plan that not only will maintain the status quo for those close to retirment, but will effectively bring down health care costs (what should be the aim of any serious health care reform).

            From the WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/

            Real health-care reform. The best way to think about Mr. Ryan’s plan is that it offers the true health-care reform that Mr. Obama promised but which vanished in the political drive to put 30 million more Americans on the government rolls. Economists from the center-left to center-right have been recommending premium support for decades, and it was first proposed by Stanford’s Alain Enthoven in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1978.

            Some version has since been endorsed by everyone from President Clinton’s 1999 Medicare commission, chaired by Democrat John Breaux, to Bob Dole and Tom Daschle in 2009. Another iteration was floated this week by a group of Nobel laureates including Ned Phelps, Vernon Smith and George Akerlof.

            The core economic distortion in the current health market is that consumers rarely have the incentive to seek the best value for their money. By capping the Medicare subsidy, seniors would pay for the marginal costs of their care, promoting competitive insurance. That would in turn incrementally change how doctors and hospitals provide care, encouraging competition in price and quality.

            Meanwhile, you and your ilk sit in your kid’s basements and throw around “privatization” with a sinister inflection and scare your old friends with threats of living under “fucking” bridges.  To your credit though, that often works. Good for you.

            • Ralphie says:

              that says that being old means that I don’t want to get things fixed.

              That’s completely absurd.

              Anything you posted after that false equivalence is horseshit, because your premise is horseshit.

              Better luck picking on someone stupid.  I don’t qualify.

            • droll says:

              same effect as Ryan’s crap plan. Funny how one is sustainable, but the other isn’t.


            • c rork says:

              And I can tell you, without a doubt in my mind, that Ryan’s plan is total, utter horseshit.

              I was hoping you could tell me how giving seniors inadequate vouchers to go buy insurance in the private sector isn’t privatization? This plan isn’t about debt reduction, it’s about gutting medicare and medicaid.

              My generation deserves the same security net that the last generation had, you fuck. Thank god I have an eloquent Vulcan to protect it.

              • 20th Maine says:

                I happen to be well under 45.

                That’s incredibly easy to believe…

                Supposing you are old enough to think about retirement planning, do you honestly say to yourself ‘I can count on soc. sec. for $x every month…’?

                What about the current system makes you feel so awesome about your chances to get soc. sec., medicare if you need it, etc?

                A central component to reform is to bring costs down.  Other than going Soviet and artificially capping everything, the only way to do it is to introduce some element of competition.

                It’s not a coincidence that the posters here use “horseshit” as a primary talking point (and possibly to win a drinking game).  Between a speech and ANOTHER commission, that’s all you have.


                • droll says:

                  Since I started working the year Bush was elected (at age 16), I’ve never counted on any Social Security! It doesn’t even take an adult to see where that was going. Unfortunately I haven’t been proven wrong and I’ll still be subsidizing your ass (regardless of current budget plans – partially because Bush hid deficits by taking from the SS Trust Fund) by a guaranteed fourth of what I’m forced to pay in anyway.

                  About competition: Um, you don’t have to take Medicare/Medicaid. You can buy much better private insurance. Props on the first time I’ve heard this particular argument. Risk pools of healthy, rich people are what keeps insurance so high. Adding the sick and poor will bring it right down. Vouchers for all!


                  • 20th Maine says:

                    I’ve never counted on any Social Security! It doesn’t even take an adult to see where that was going.

                    Though I’m not sure what that says about Phoenix’s maturity level http://www.coloradopols.com/sh… I’m pleased to see a modicum of debate among you.  At least it shows some independent thought.

                    Meanwhile, you seem to frown on the term ‘vouchers.’  Is that money given to subsidize medical care in a pre-defined program?

                    It amazes me how many of you actually try to defend this http://www.denverpost.com/sear… with a straight face.

                    • droll says:

                      Too bad you don’t do it.

                      The comment you posted doesn’t seem to go anywhere, but I’m assuming you’re talking about PR’s statement that Social Security is a success. Well, it’s still correct. The reason it will fail is because Congress borrows from the trust fund. I mentioned that in my comment. Read! It helps.

                      To The Denver Post article: It amazes me how you’re a) trying to say I defended something I didn’t mention and b) somehow think adding more private insurance companies solves the billing problem.

                      Now. Care to address anything I actually wrote?

                    • 20th Maine says:

                      Social Security is a success. Well, it’s still correct. The reason it will fail…

                      Are you being serious or just faux speech- writing for John Kerry?

                      You know, the unsinkable Titanic was a rousing success too, right until it hit the iceberg.

                      As for what you wrote, is it:  

                      …partially because Bush hid deficits by taking from the SS Trust Fund


                      because Congress borrows from the trust fund

                      Because you wrote both.  It’s amazing how Dems had no role in any of this.  Or maybe they did and you just didn’t mention.  

                    • RedGreen says:

                      No one’s denying that. But the most egregious culprits have been Republicans, both the R Congress and their fearless leader, the latest President Bush.

                      You know what brought the deficit back to life after the Clinton years tamed it? The Bush tax cuts, fighting a war of choice without paying for it, fighting another war without paying for it, a gigantic give-away to the prescription drug industry, again without paying for it, and tanking the economy.

                      It’s absolutely not a contradiction to say Social Security is a success and that it could be headed for failure — because of the very policies you’re rushing to defend. You really can’t grasp how a successful program can be driven into failure? Somehow that’s not surprising.

                    • Diogenesdemar says:

                      @20th, please read and re-read this again

                      You know what brought the deficit back to life after the Clinton years tamed it? The Bush tax cuts, fighting a war of choice without paying for it, fighting another war without paying for it, a gigantic give-away to the prescription drug industry, again without paying for it, and tanking the economy.

                      I think I hear you Maine . . . you’re saying —  “You know, [that George W. Bush economic policy you love so much] was a rousing success too, right until [his ideology] hit [reality].”


    • Libertad says:

      Under pressure from the GOP and selected Democrats, Obama is having to expose himself on various fronts. His failure to lead in a centrist mode has driven most leaders to question his vision and commitment to a strong and sustainable America.

      He seems to be taking options away from himself with each move he attempts, to wit the debt ceiling and Bush tax cut stances. It’s like he is bi-polar.

      The total faux head fake he’s attempted in jacking up spending, then cutting by an equal amount has only resulted in increased leverage as he mortgages our Republic.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        I never miss reading your paranoid horseshit Libby.  You’re as stupidly freaked out as ever about the black man.

        • Libertad says:

          First he is half black, half caucasian.

          Second, and most importantly why would you demean yourself by using race as the foundation for your mini rant?

          It must be your default position … when without a legitimate position or principle, (ignorantly) toss out the race card.

          Hey, I love the results of your tired radical leftwing doctrines. The endless supply of an underclass dominated by high school dropouts and undocumented aliens affords all of us tasty food food and low prices from Chipotle and the like.

          • Gilpin Guy says:

            Can’t back up his conspiracy shit so has to go all “I don’t know what you’re talking about” to avoid exposing his conspiracy addication for the political crack that it is”.  It will rot your teeth boy.  “Obama is a big conspiracy that I have to be VERY afraid of.  Boo-hoo”

            What a doofus.

  4. BlueCat says:

    point out, when Rs complain that taxes are too high and we can’t possibly raise them, that taxes are in fact near historic lows, especially for the top bracket.  If you are in the top bracket and weren’t paying taxes in 1931 your taxes have never been lower. Why Dems allow Rs to perpetrate this myth that taxes are high compared to the good old days is a mystery.

    Also need to point out almost know economists think we can cut our way out of debt and deficits without also increasing revenue through tax increases.  

    Also they need to keep hitting the poll numbers whenever Rs claim to be speaking for the people. Majorities ranging from healthy to huge support raising taxes (80% want taxes raised on millionaires) gay marriage and/or civil union, not making radical cuts or changes to Social security, Medicare or Medicaid. It is the Rs that are too far right now, not the Dems too far left, according to all of these polls.  Would also like to hear Dems propose raising caps.

    Also need to keep pointing out that none of the R’s plans are aimed at increasing jobs beyond a promise that lowering taxes even more will do so even though extremely low, by historic standards, taxes aren’t creating jobs now.

    Liked that he pointed out that the top  earners have seen income go up by a quarter million while 90% have lost ground.

    Liked that he didn’t mince words slamming the Ryan plan.  Liked that he didn’t mince words about taking away from from everyone else to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

    This speech not as disappointing as I expected but hope Dems in congress keep the pressure on our President not to keep moving halfway to Rs who keep moving “halfway” farther right.

  5. cologeek says:

    The same tax cuts he signed an extension for not quite four months ago?  Those tax cuts?  This was a campaign speech that has been recycled from 2008.  He will say whatever he thinks will reinforce and reinvigorate his standing with the faithful, while often doing the opposite.  Will he even follow up this speech with a real budget proposal? (Seeing as how the one he sent out 60 days ago doesn’t fit in with his speech at all)  

    It’s getting hard to take him seriously.  4 months ago the Bush cuts were necessary and had to be extended.  Now they are wrong and need to be repealed.  What will he be saying by the summer?

    • EmeraldKnight76 says:

      I remember Republicans refusing to keep tax cuts for the middle class unless they got them for the rich also. Maybe my memory is a bit fuzzy but I don’t remember him saying they were necessary. I’m pretty sure he extended them against his best judgement because Republicans would have let 98% of Americans suffer to get their way.

  6. EmeraldKnight76 says:

    The push back against this idea that because he extended them once, he somehow supports them was needed. President Obama did NOT support them in December and only extended them because Republicans weren’t going to help out the unemployed unless he did. He continues to push back on this erroneous idea.

    He needs to keep pushing back on this ridiculous idea that tax cuts for the rich somehow creates jobs. We’ve been trying this experiment since Reagan and it DOES NOT work. The trickle-down experiment is a complete failure. Time to try something new.

    My favorite line: “I refuse to renew them again.” – in re: Bush tax cuts.

  7. bjwilson83 says:

    If the president could balance the budget, what the heck has he been doing the last two years? You know, back when his party controlled both congress and the White House and he had buckets of goodwill from the American people? Seriously, was this a joke?

    • bjwilson83 says:


      (Mediaite uses iframes so it won’t embed. It’s Paul Ryan’s pithy response.)

      • droll says:


        Nice site though. It’s super relevant and not slanted at all!

        For Those That Find Birtherism Passe: Blogs Report On Obama’s ‘Brain Surgery Scars’

        But you aren’t looking for “rhetoric” or “partisanship”, right? Or maybe you don’t respect Ryan, king of the “pithy” at all. That’s a shame, beej, a crying shame.

    • RedGreen says:

      Um … fixing a little old recession and saving capitalism. Turns out keeping your rich overlords from throwing themselves off skyscrapers costs a lot of money.

      • MADCO says:

        And it wasn’t their personal lives we needed to save- though we did.

        It was the banking industry. Without it we’d have been in soup lines for a long long time. Though some of those who deserved bankruptcy and ruin would have gotten it.

        And it turns out liquidity crises are pricey bitches to fix. We’re past it now- we should “ask” the banking sector to pay us back. (Transaction tax, leverage tax, something someone smarter than I thinks up.)  

      • bjwilson83 says:

        Who knew he was such a corporatist? And who knew Dems secretly love the “rich” they love to rail about. I confess I underestimated you guys. I thought you really believed your class warfare rhetoric.

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