As President Barack Obama prepares to
announce a plan to slash U.S. government deficits by trillions of
dollars, a powerful Republican lawmaker is already criticizing key
components reportedly contained in the proposal. Efforts to get more
federal revenue from the wealthy and large corporations is likely to be
a focus of partisan debate between now and next year’s general election.
Barack Obama promotes a new jobs plan before a joint session of Congress
at the Capitol in Washington, DC, September 8, 2011.
The president’s deficit reduction plan will be released Monday. News
reports quote White House officials as saying Obama will propose
spending restraints and revenue enhancements to slow the growth of the
national debt in coming years.
The president has already stated his willingness to trim domestic
spending and contain rising costs for programs that provide health care
for retirees and the poor. He has also advocated ending tax breaks for
favored corporate sectors, and raising taxes paid by America’s
Speaking in North Carolina last week, Obama said the nation has
decisions to make.
“Do you want to keep tax loopholes for oil companies, or do you want to
renovate more schools and rebuild more roads and bridges so [that]
construction workers have jobs again? Do you want to keep tax breaks for
multi-millionaires and billionaires, or do you want to cut taxes for
small business owners and middle class families?”
The president’s plan reportedly contains a so-called “millionaires tax.”
Many of America’s richest earn investment income that is taxed at a
lower rate than most wages and salaries. Legendary investor Warren
Buffet, one of the world’s richest men, has pointed out that he pays a
lower tax rate on billions of dollars of investment income each year
than his salaried personal secretary.
Obama has repeatedly stated that everyone must “pay their fair share” of
taxes to improve America’s finances and fund badly-needed infrastructure
projects and other programs.
But Republicans oppose any tax hikes, particularly during a time of
economic weakness. Paul Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee in the
Republican-controlled House of Representatives, said “If you tax
something more, you get less of it. If you tax job-creators more, you
get less job creation. If you tax investment more, you get less
Ryan spoke on the Fox News Sunday television program. He said the
president’s debt reduction plan, as it is currently being reported, will
pit groups of Americans against each other and harm an already-fragile
“It looks like the president wants to move down the class warfare path.
Class warfare will simply divide this country more. It will attack job
The congressman did give Obama credit for a willingness to extract
savings from Medicare and other so-called “entitlement programs.” But he
said, so far, the president’s ideas do not go far enough to cut costs
and put those programs on a sustainable budgetary path.
fellow Republican, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, recently suggested
that areas where Democrats and Republicans cannot agree will likely be
set aside until after next year’s election. President Obama says, at a
time of economic weakness and stubbornly-high U.S. unemployment, there
is no excuse for delay.
“A faction in Washington may be content to wait until the next election
to do anything. But I have news for them: the next election is 14 months
away. And the American people do not have the luxury to wait that long.”
Earlier this month, the president unveiled a new jobs plan that would
cut taxes paid by wage earners and employers that hire new workers, and
boost domestic infrastructure spending. If no new sources of federal
revenue are agreed to, Obama has suggested adding the $447 billion
dollars needed to fund his proposal to the work of a bipartisan
congressional deficit committee already charged with trimming the
deficit by $1.2 trillion dollars over the next 10 years.