President Barack Obama has unveiled a package of $1.5 trillion in new taxes on the wealthy as part of a 10-year plan to reduce the national debt by $4 trillion. “We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” Obama said last week.
He also castigated critics — including congressional leaders in Congress — who accused him of engaging in class warfare. “This is not class warfare,” Obama said. “It’s math.”
The president’s proposal aims to reduce spending in mandatory benefit programs, including a $580 billion reduction for Medicare and Medicaid. Obama’s plan also counts savings from the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. The president’s plan would also generate new revenues by ending Bush-era tax cuts on the highest earners and by limiting their deductions.
“It’s only right we ask everyone to pay their fair share,” Obama said.
The president’s deficit reduction plan is in stark contrast to that offered by Republican lawmakers, who say tax increases should play no part in reducing the nation’s national debt. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has flatly ruled out tax increases to lower deficits.
At the same time, Obama has threatened to veto any Medicare benefits that aren’t paired with tax increases on upper-income people. “I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans,” Obama said. Republicans were swift in their condemnation of the president’s deficit reduction plan. “Veto threats, a massive tax hike, phantom savings and punting on entitlement reform is not a recipe for economic or job growth, or even meaningful deficit reduction,” Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement issued just moments after the president announced his plan.
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