Obama: Time for ‘painful choices’ in deficit battle
US President Barack Obama on Saturday promised to rein the burgeoning US budget deficit, saying it was now time for Americans of different political persuasions “to come together” to solve this problem.
“Because we’ve heard plenty of talk and a lot of yelling on TV about deficits, and it’s now time to come together and make the painful choices we need to eliminate those deficits,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.
The White House is forecasting a deficit for the full fiscal year of 2010 of some 1.5 trillion dollars, which would eclipse the record of 1.416 trillion in the fiscal year ended September 30.
John Palmer, dean emeritus of the Syracuse University Maxwell School, warned earlier this month that the future economic prosperity of the United States was “at grave risk” if the government did not change its fiscal course.
Obama said that it was time the US government stopped spending money it did not have.
He added he was pleased that the Senate had just restored the pay-as-you-go law that was in place in the 1990s and helped the US government end that decade with a 236-billion-dollar surplus.
“Reinstating this law will help get us back on track, ensuring that every time we spend, we find somewhere else to cut,” the president argued.
He also said that he wanted the government to impose a freeze on many discretionary spending programs that do not affect job creation, middle class tax cuts as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — programs that serve retirees and poor people.
The president also stressed the need to create a bi-partisan fiscal commission – a panel of Democrats and Republicans who would sit down and hammer out concrete deficit-reduction proposals.
“I’m ready and eager to work with anyone who’s serious about solving the real problems facing our people and our country,” Obama concluded. “I welcome anyone who comes to the table in good faith to help get our economy moving again and fulfill this country’s promise.”
This video was published to the Web by the White House on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010.