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We all agree that it’s critical to cut unnecessary spending. But we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. It hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work today. It could slow down our recovery. It could weaken our economy. And it could cost us jobs – now, and in the future.

The economy was the focus of President Obama's weekly address, as he pointed to positive indicators and urged continuing efforts to pay down the national debt and work seriously on job creation—emphasizing that slashing spending alone isn't going to cut it as we move ahead.

He pointed out good news:

We began this year with economists and business leaders saying that we are poised to grow in 2013. And there are real signs of progress: Home prices are starting to climb again. Car sales are at a five-year high. Manufacturing is roaring back. Our businesses created 2.2 million jobs last year
Still, we need to do more, he said, urging investments in education and infrastructure, research and development, while still taking a "balanced approach" in looking at reductions. Specifically, he talked of reducing health care costs in Medicare—while not passing the burden on to seniors—and closing loopholes and deductions for the wealthy.

He closed with a slam on Washington and the "self-inflicted wounds" elected officials are imposing on the economy, and he urged them to think of "what's right for the country."

2013 can be a year of solid growth, more jobs, and higher wages. But that will only happen if we put a stop to self-inflicted wounds in Washington. Everyone in Washington needs to focus not on politics but on what’s right for the country; on what’s right for you and your families.
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
February 2, 2013

Hi, everybody.

In the coming weeks, we face some important decisions about how to pay down our debt in a way that grows our economy and creates good jobs – decisions that will make a real difference in the strength and pace of our recovery.

We began this year with economists and business leaders saying that we are poised to grow in 2013. And there are real signs of progress: Home prices are starting to climb again. Car sales are at a five-year high. Manufacturing is roaring back. Our businesses created 2.2 million jobs last year. And we just learned that our economy created more jobs over the last few months than economists originally thought.

But this week, we also received the first estimate of America’s economic growth over the last few months. And it reminded us that bad decisions in Washington can get in the way of our economic progress.  

We all agree that it’s critical to cut unnecessary spending. But we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. It hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work today.  It could slow down our recovery. It could weaken our economy. And it could cost us jobs – now, and in the future.

What we need instead is a balanced approach; an approach that says let’s cut what we can’t afford but let’s make the investments we can’t afford to live without. Investments in education and infrastructure, research and development – the things that will help America compete for the best jobs and new industries.

Already, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to reduce our deficits by $2.5 trillion. That’s a good start. But to get the rest of the way, we need a balanced set of reforms.

For example, we need to lower the cost of health care in programs like Medicare that are the biggest drivers of our deficit, without just passing the burden off to seniors. And these reforms must go hand-in-hand with eliminating excess spending in our tax code, so that the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans.

2013 can be a year of solid growth, more jobs, and higher wages. But that will only happen if we put a stop to self-inflicted wounds in Washington. Everyone in Washington needs to focus not on politics but on what’s right for the country; on what’s right for you and your families. That’s how we’ll get our economy growing faster. That’s how we’ll strengthen our middle class. And that’s how we’ll build a country that rewards the effort and determination of every single American.

Thanks. And have a great weekend.

 

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Comment Preferences

  •  We can't cut our way to growth. (9+ / 0-)

    Very important framing. Crucial.

  •  Whenever BO comes out (3+ / 0-)

    swinging, I know it's time for me to take a nap, 'cause I know I won't miss a thing.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:12:27 AM PST

  •  I know this isn't an open thread, but when (9+ / 0-)

    I clicked on the DKos main page, I got female voice with a British (?) accent saying, "Resuming episode." What's up with that?

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:18:11 AM PST

  •  Excellent HuffPo article on Paul Krugman's attempt (6+ / 0-)

    to knock down these deficit memes on Morning Joe:

    Paul Krugman is no stranger to going on teevee and encountering, well, people of an addled aspect -- he's done "Squawk Box", after all! But there was something very special about one of his most recent appearances on MSNBC. You thought that Felix Baumgartner dude who fell to earth for Red Bull was extreme? Take a seat, balloon boy. Paul Krugman has become the first human I've ever witnessed escaping from the gravitational pull of something with black hole-like density: Joe Scarborough and his gang of deficit hacks.

    Krugman has this interesting thesis about the way "thinking" congeals among media elites. He thinks that they are overly obsessed with a deficit crisis that is decades from happening, if it happens at all. He observes that in this time of widespread unemployment and grievous economic dislocation -- a continuing condition of the lightly tended to 2008 economic calamity -- and against all evidence, the media elites have become convinced that the long-term budget deficit is the actual crisis that's emerged in America, to claim its future. And then you get a cycle -- blather, wince, repeat -- in which all of these cosseted simps reinforce one another until this bizarre line of thinking is deeply entrenched and inalterable.

    It's an old yarn, and Krugman's far from the first person to notice. Greg Sargent calls it the "Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop," and as the National Journal reported back in May of 2011, it's been unfolding within the media and distorting its coverage -- mostly to the expense of the more serious unemployment crisis. (There is no comparable feedback loop on the unemployment crisis. Aside from occasionally speculating on how high unemployment rates could affect the electoral hopes of prominent political celebrities seeking re-election, it's almost never discussed.)

    But, as with any theory, it's always great to observe the Feedback Loop in nature, and that's what Krugman's journey to MSNBC's blasé kaffeeklatsch successfully revealed -- proof of this thesis.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:28:47 AM PST

    •  Also Paul Krugman's Op-Ed (0+ / 0-)

      in the NY Times about the fantasy world of the "austerians."
      Here's a link.

    •  Cassandra (0+ / 0-)
      In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy.
      ...
       When Cassandra of Troy refused Apollo, he placed a curse on her so that she and all her descendants' predictions would not be believed.
      There has been some type of curse placed on Krugman. The Curse of the Bambino was finally lifted. So maybe there is hope.
      •  Have we seen the Cassandra Crossing? (0+ / 0-)

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 08:59:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No (0+ / 0-)

          Saw most of the 70s star-filled disaster movies as a teenager. Never saw that one.

          •  I meant metaphorically, sort of (0+ / 0-)

            In the sense that we've crossed some barrier keeping people from realizing that deficit hysteria is baseless and dishonest.

            I.e. people are taking Cassandra seriously at last.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 09:23:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Krugman Had A Great Post Today On How Repetitve (0+ / 0-)

              this debate is.

              To paraphrase an old line about Vietnam, sometimes it seems to me that we haven’t spent four years discussing the response to economic crisis; we’ve spent one year discussing the crisis, four times, with the discussion starting up each year as if nobody can remember or learn from what went before, and with constant repetition of the same old errors and fallacies.

              Sometimes I get comments from people accusing me of repeating myself in the column; no doubt I do make the same arguments multiple times. But that’s because people keep forgetting!

              OK, rant for the morning over.

              We have global warming skeptics coming around. Many who were pro-Iraq war came around.  The deficit hawks might have a tougher time because the conservative anti-government meme is so deeply embedded in the culture.
  •  this is an economic fairytale (6+ / 0-)

    "Cut first, and you'll get your cake (i.e., government investment) later" doesn't work.

    Cutting the budget doesn't raise government revenue. It causes the economy to contract. People will be put out of jobs by the budget cuts; they will save what little they can instead of spending it on immediate necessities, and consumption will go down. This will decrease government revenue.

    Obama is saying: OK, right now the government has a deficit crisis, so we need to cut the budget. Once we're out of the red, we can spend on goodies like infrastructure, job creation, health care, education, climate change, etc.

    If we cut the budget, government deficits will grow. So what do you think Obama will be saying at that point? Do you think he will do a volte-face and start saying "we need massive deficit spending to get us out of this hole, even though I have consistently said we needed to reduce the deficit in order to get us out of the hole?"

    No, of course not. He will be saying we need to cut even more in order to get us out of the hole--causing the economy to shrink even further.

    In the end, what Obama is asking us to do is pray to the gods of trickle-down and hope that the "job creators" on Wall Street will respond to the government's show of "fiscal responsibility" by showering us with jobs and goodies.

    It didn't work for Hoover, and it's not going to work for us, either.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:29:10 AM PST

    •  You mean Mellon was wrong?!? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      limpidglass

      Then why are all the smartypants basically quoting him on TV all the time running around with their hair on fire with the "Krugman Sucks!" t-shirts?

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:47:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You Can't Expect Him to Understand Economics (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, psyched

      He's a politician. He's proved that over and over. He doesn't understand economics. And since he has no interest in listening to people who do, we can't expect him to do the right thing on his own.

      He has to just understand, as a politician does, that if he goes there it will be bad for his career. Or, in Obama's case, bad for the careers of all the people he depends on.

      Cutting social programs is equivalent to giving Congress to the Republicans. It will make his life harder for at least two years (maybe three, if you include the campaigns). The voters will figure "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. So, I don't care who wins." Then, money will talk, and we'll see that other party take over the Senate.

      We need to start right now to find an actual liberal to run for President in 2016. We have the time to do it, and we'll need a fairly radical liberal at that time to undo all the damage done by the Republicans and their enablers.

      That's right, Pres. I'm looking at you.

  •  Go-Bama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, kovie

    Or not.

    Bqhatevwr..

    Why is it that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn't want to #&@$ in the first place? - George Carlin

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:42:55 AM PST

    •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

      Obama went to Harvard, whose teams are called the Crimson.

      Bama refers to the U of Alabama, whose teams are called the Crimson Tide.

      O'Bama is a fictional Irish name. But Ireland's color is green.

      Oh well, two out of three ain't bad for a CT in the making.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:49:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Huh? (8+ / 0-)
    Cuts alone aren't going to cure economy
    FYI, Barack, cuts won't cure it at all.  

    Could somebody please wake this guy up.  

  •  In other news... (5+ / 0-)

    Smoking, alone, won't make you healthier.

    Quitting your job alone won't make you richer.

    Staring at the sun, alone, won't improve your eyesight, and

    Jumping into a pool, alone, won't make you drier.

  •  Meanwhile, while reagan capitalism fails (0+ / 0-)

    With all them tepubs continuing to run on what them 'job creators' really need to create them jobs, federal and states, got old a few elections ago. What is the Executive Administration doing:

    US carbon emissions fall to lowest levels since 1994
    Energy-saving technologies and a doubling in renewables led to the reduction in climate pollution, new figures show

    1 February 2013 - America's carbon dioxide emissions last year fell to their lowest levels since 1994, according to a new report.

    Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy, the report compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) said.

    The reduction in climate pollution – even as Congress failed to act on climate change – brings America more than halfway towards Barack Obama's target of cutting emissions by 17% from 2005 levels over the next decade, the Bloomberg analysts said.

    By the end of last year, America's emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions had fallen 10.7% from the 2005 baselines.  read more>>>

    Technical assistance expanded for tribal energy projects in US
    01 February 2013 - The US Department of Energy announced the second round of the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program, which provides federally recognized Tribal governments in the United States with technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment. Applications are due by March 15, 2013.

    Additionally, the DOE is seeking information from Tribes interested in launching or expanding utility services in their own communities, which will help establish a new START Utility Program (START-UP).

    “Building on our all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available domestic energy resource, the new technical assistance opportunities announced today will strengthen our partnerships with Tribal communities, create good jobs and protect our planet,” said Office of Indian Energy Director Tracey LeBeau.  read more>>>

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 08:04:59 AM PST

    •  Well Damn (0+ / 0-)

      The first attempt did post, after waiting a few and retryin!!

      Must be the same glitch I'm getting from the radio player on the front page which sounds like a mic check everytime I've checked into site this morning, thought I had a virus at first!

      Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

      by jimstaro on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 08:13:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Meanwhile, as reagan capitalism fails (0+ / 0-)

    Helped along by the tepub lackies running for them 'job creators' and all they need to create jobs is more job creating tax cuts, booty in their hoarded uncle scrooge vaults. What is the Executive Administration doing and even in partnerships with some private sector realist:

    US carbon emissions fall to lowest levels since 1994
    Energy-saving technologies and a doubling in renewables led to the reduction in climate pollution, new figures show

    1 February 2013 - America's carbon dioxide emissions last year fell to their lowest levels since 1994, according to a new report.

    Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 13% in the past five years, because of new energy-saving technologies and a doubling in the take-up of renewable energy, the report compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) said.

    The reduction in climate pollution – even as Congress failed to act on climate change – brings America more than halfway towards Barack Obama's target of cutting emissions by 17% from 2005 levels over the next decade, the Bloomberg analysts said.

    By the end of last year, America's emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions had fallen 10.7% from the 2005 baselines.  read more>>>

    Technical assistance expanded for tribal energy projects in US
    01 February 2013 - The US Department of Energy announced the second round of the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program, which provides federally recognized Tribal governments in the United States with technical assistance to accelerate clean energy project deployment. Applications are due by March 15, 2013.

    Additionally, the DOE is seeking information from Tribes interested in launching or expanding utility services in their own communities, which will help establish a new START Utility Program (START-UP).

    “Building on our all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available domestic energy resource, the new technical assistance opportunities announced today will strengthen our partnerships with Tribal communities, create good jobs and protect our planet,” said Office of Indian Energy Director Tracey LeBeau.  read more>>>

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 08:09:44 AM PST

  •  FDR and "Full Employment" (4+ / 0-)

    The other day, probably on NPR, I heard a reference to FDR's goal of "full employment."  We should start using that term more.  It apparently has an agreed-on definition among economists.  Also, it's very appealing and has overtones of abundance and prosperity for people and families that "jobs, jobs, jobs" and "growth" just don't deliver, at least in my opinion.

  •  Cuts Aren't Necessary (3+ / 0-)

    Unless you are talking about the military budget, which is about twice what it needs to be, cuts aren't the issue.

    The issue is jobs and wages. The reason we have a federal deficit is because we have a policy of shipping wealth-producing jobs out of the US and holding down wages.

    When are these people going to start focusing on jobs and wages?

    Since we started massively shipping out jobs in the 1970s we've had almost 1% higher unemployment. That adds up to hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue lost to the federal government because of money not paid to workers.

    Since then wages have gone down, even though productivity is up. If we'd continued to pay at the same rate as we did in the early part of the twentieth century, our wages would be twice what they are.

    Think about that.

    Funds for Social Security and Medicare would be twice what they are. Income tax receipts would be higher. People would be shopping more, adding to what every small business owner that sells to the public would be making.

    When people talk about cutting spending we should be asking them:

    Yeah. And what about the jobs? What are you planning to do for that?
    So far, all I've gotten back is the sound of crickets.
    •  It's pretty obvious (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snoopydawg, Liberal Thinking, psyched

      now why Occupy was violently suppressed.  Had it continued on, austerity might not have been the dominant subject on TV.  As long as the narrative is we have to reduce spending, there is no hope for anyone but bond vigilantes, who seem to be running the place, sans evidence that money will cost more in even the medium future.  

      Plus if we had full employment, people would be secure enough to start thinking about things like fairness instead of what they have to forego in order for their kids to eat.  

      •  Exactly Right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nada Lemming, psyched

        Economic security means that people have the luxury (should I call it that?) of demanding their rights. Someone must have learned that lesson from the 60s.

        I'm not following the crowd off the cliff. And apparently, neither are you!

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