President Obama calls Republican budget plans “fairly radical.”
Hosting a town hall-style meeting at Facebook headquarters in northern California, Obama says a 2012 budget blueprint from House Republicans is short-sighted. On a three-day, campaign-style trek, Obama is promoting broad spending cuts and an end to Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy. He insists the U.S. should return to tax rates that were in force in the 1990s. The President says budget cuts must include wasteful military spending. Congressional Republicans vow to oppose any tax increases while pushing much deeper spending cuts.
Obama criticizes GOP plans for significant changes in Medicare and Medicaid. He accuses Republicans of seeking to turn Medicare into a “voucher program.” The President says the U.S. is still living in “tumultuous times” as the national economy continues to recover from the deep recession. With record deficits, the President adds the U.S. must start living within its means. At the same time, he says the nation must continue to pay for vital services while also protecting the most vulnerable citizens.
Obama cites ongoing trouble in the housing market, calling it a “huge drag on the economy.” He said some people are probably “better off renting.” The President discussed ongoing progress in the economic recovery, but adds it’s still not as brisk as it should be. He warns that cutting too much, too fast could harm the fragile recovery and actually increase the deficit. The President also is calling for sweeping immigration reform, saying it cannot happen without Republican support.