Obama Presents $2 Billion Deficit-Reduction Plan in White House Speech

President Obama proposed $1.5 trillion in new taxes this morning, speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House. “Today, I’m releasing a plan which details how to pay for the jobs bill, while also paying down our debt over time,” he said about his recently-announced $447 billion plan to create jobs.

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“Washington has to live within its means,” continued the president. “For us to solve this problem everybody … has to pay their fair share.” The president was specifically referring to the nation’s richest Americans, who currently pay a smaller percentage of their incomes in taxes than do most of the middle class.

The president also proposed “real cuts to spending” to be “among the biggest cuts in our history”. Obama proposed eliminating tax loopholes that benefit the largest corporations, but he will face opposition from the Republican-led House of Representatives. Some Republicans have already complained that Obama’s proposed tax hikes for the wealthy amount to “class warfare”. Republicans favor greater spending cuts rather than tax hikes to reduce America’s debt.

As part of the debt deal effected on August 2, a 12-member joint committee of Congress was set up to come up with another $1.5 trillion of deficit reductions over the next decade by the end of November. Obama’s goal is to influence the committee, and his plan asks them to aim even bigger.

Obama’s plan totals just over $2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. While the plan focuses on increasing tax revenue, it would also cut $580 billion from benefit programs, including $248 billion from Medicare, though he said he would veto any cuts to Medicare that weren’t paired with tax increases for wealthier Americans. The administration also hopes to save $1 trillion over the next 10 years by withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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One of Obama’s proposals, called the “Buffett Rule” for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, would set a minimum tax on taxpayers making $1 million or more in annual income. Warren Buffett has notoriously supported higher taxes for his own set, most recently expressing his opinion in an article in the New York Times last month.

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