Bracing For A Fight
President Obama unveils new deficit slashing agenda.
President Obama took on the nation's debt crisis Wednesday with a major speech laying out
his plan to reduce the deficit by trillions of dollars.
Mr. Obama set a goal to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years.
"Any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table," he said.
His plan is a four-pronged approach- including:
- Saving $480 billion in Medicaid and Medicare by increasing efficiency and cutting spending on prescription drugs.
- At least $400 billion in savings in current and future defense spending.
- Another $360 billion from mandatory spending programs like agricultural subsidies and pension insurance.
- Eliminating tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.
"We cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society, and I refuse to renew them again," he warned.
Republicans have called that a non-starter.
"If we're going to resolve our differences and do something meaningful, raising taxes will not be part of that," said House Speaker John Boehner.
Later this week the House will consider an alternative, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan, embraced by fellow Republicans but criticized by the president.
"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 dollars more in health costs," the president said.
The two sides are still far apart, setting the stage for another showdown that could include Social Security reform.
The president has reiterated a commitment to strengthen social security without slashing benefits.