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Our top priority as a country right now should be doing everything we can to grow our economy and create good, middle class jobs.

Unsurprisingly, President Obama used his weekly address this morning to once again lambaste congressional Republicans for pushing the country to the edge of the sequester, which will trigger automatic budget cuts beginning March 1 if no deal is reached. The effects of the cuts, he said, will be serious:

They will slow our economy. They will eliminate good jobs. They will leave many families who are already stretched to the limit scrambling to figure out what to do.
The doomsday scenario could be averted, the president said, if congressional Republicans were willing to close some tax loopholes and come up with a budget deal. "Unfortunately," he told listeners, "it appears that Republicans in Congress have decided that instead of compromising – instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans – they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class."

Among the consequences, he listed:

  • Teachers laid off and parents scrambling for child care
  • Air traffic controllers and airport security cutbacks, resulting in airline delays
  • Medical science funding halted
  • 800,000 defense employees put on unpaid furlough

The president then let loose:

Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners? Are they really willing to slash military health care and the border patrol just because they refuse to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies? Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?
The answer he said, is closing loopholes, doing selective "smart" cutting and entitlement reform in a way that doesn't stall the economic recovery and that boosts job creation.
After all, as we learned in the 1990s, nothing shrinks the deficit faster than a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs. That has to be our driving focus. That has to be our North Star. Making America a magnet for good jobs.
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
February 23, 2013

Hi, everybody. Our top priority as a country right now should be doing everything we can to grow our economy and create good, middle class jobs.

And yet, less than one week from now, Congress is poised to allow a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will do the exact opposite. They will slow our economy. They will eliminate good jobs. They will leave many families who are already stretched to the limit scrambling to figure out what to do.

But here’s the thing: these cuts don’t have to happen. Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little compromise. They can pass a balanced plan for deficit reduction. They can cut spending in a smart way, and close wasteful tax loopholes for the well-off and well-connected.

Unfortunately, it appears that Republicans in Congress have decided that instead of compromising – instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans – they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class.

Here’s what that choice means. Once these cuts take effect, thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off, and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, causing delays across the country. Even President Bush’s director of the National Institutes of Health says these cuts will set back medical science for a generation.

Already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf – affecting our ability to respond to threats in an unstable part of the world. And just this week, the Pentagon announced that if these cuts go through, almost 800,000 defense employees – the equivalent of every person in Miami and Cleveland combined – will be forced to take unpaid leave.

That’s what this choice means. Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners? Are they really willing to slash military health care and the border patrol just because they refuse to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies? Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?

These are the questions Republicans in Congress need to ask themselves. And I’m hopeful they’ll change their minds. Because the American people have worked too hard for too long to see everything they’ve built undone by partisan recklessness in Washington.

I believe we should work together to build on the more than $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved. But I believe we should do it in a balanced way – with smart spending cuts, entitlement reform, and tax reform. That’s my plan. It's got tough cuts, tough reforms, and asks more of the wealthiest Americans. It's on the White House website for everyone to see. And it requires Democrats and Republicans to meet half way to resolve the problem. That’s what the American people expect. And that’s what you deserve.

We just need Republicans in Washington to come around. Because we need their help to finish the job of reducing our deficit in a smart way that doesn’t hurt our economy or our people. After all, as we learned in the 1990s, nothing shrinks the deficit faster than a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs. That has to be our driving focus. That has to be our North Star. Making America a magnet for good jobs. Equipping our people with the skills required to fill those jobs. Making sure your hard work leads to a decent living. That’s what this city should be focused on like a laser. And I’m going to keep pushing folks here to remember that.

Thanks.
 

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Comment Preferences

  •  What is the Senate doing about sequestration? (4+ / 0-)

    Am I missing something? In all the news about sequestration, I haven't heard about anything happening in the Senate. Why don't the Democrats in the Senate have a bill? Sure, it will get fillibustered, but at least then they can point to Republican obstructionism. At it stands now, Obama is the only one out front on this issue and it doesn't seem like the Senate Democrats have his back.

  •  I can't understand (4+ / 0-)

    why the Republicans can't get this. Austerity has NEVER worked (anywhere in the world). Stimulus has ALWAYS worked. They are just so WRONG that it takes your breath away and points inexorably to a patently obvious ulterior motive - crippling the economy to anger the electorate and regain power - that I can't believe very many Americans are blind to this. Obama is doing a good job pointing this out, but because the far right won't listen and the big media outlets insist on showing the two sides as being of "equal" relevance, much of America is totally in the dark. I know an Appellate Court Judge here in my town who truly believes that Eric Cantor will save America from some sort of financial meltdown. He's a JUDGE, for god's sake! I am beginning to think (and I told my wife this just the other day) that we need to stop talking to them and start swinging at them with two-by-fours (with nails in them, if necessary).

    Republicans want smaller gov't for the same reason crooks want fewer cops. - James Carville

    by wyckoff on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:11:24 AM PST

    •  but Obama isn't against austerity (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, zinger99, bdop4, slinkerwink

      He's not proposing to shrink the sequester. He just wants to rearrange it.

    •  Obama is not doing a good job pointing this out (10+ / 0-)

      He has been pushing cuts as much as anyone. We just feel grateful around here b/c he wants to get some revenue in addition to the cuts--and because his cuts are not as horrible as the cuts proposed by Paul Ryan. But he wants to do deficit reduction to the tune of 4 trillion dollars in a weak economy that just got gut-punched with an iron poker.

      Anyone who in a weak economy talks about 4 to 1 or 2 to 1 cuts--hell, anybody who talks about any cuts that eliminate jobs--should be put out to pasture, frankly, as either being crazy or disingenuous with regard to saving the American economy.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:18:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No he hasn't, but even the leftie (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wyckoff, NedSparks, emal, TFinSF, Beetwasher, askew

        blogosphere is pushing this meme.  Helpful.  He's never once stopped pushing for more spending and in fact uses money in the budget to stimulate the economy.

        What we need to get is his skill in taking Republican talking points and turning them into progressive policies.  Republicans can't use the tried and true lies as well after they're co-opted.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:47:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for that n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          I love OCD

          Republicans want smaller gov't for the same reason crooks want fewer cops. - James Carville

          by wyckoff on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:54:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You Can't Generate Real Economic Growth (6+ / 0-)

          through a deficit reduction lens. This is his strongest statement to date:

          "After all, as we learned in the 1990s, nothing shrinks the deficit faster than a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs. That has to be our driving focus. That has to be our North Star. Making America a magnet for good jobs."

          If that's the case, then WTF are we talking about deficit reduction? Sure, cut loopholes, but every dollar should be reallocated towards creating jobs through infrastructure repair, tax incentives for new technologies and education to retool the labor force.

          Every dollar spent now to "reduce the deficit" delays economic growth which is the only thing that will eliminate it altogether.

          •  Yep. n/t (0+ / 0-)

            if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:00:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nope. 20th Century politics won't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              askew

              take us forward.  This is sophisticated anti-propaganda politicking and for those of us who pay attention it's working miraculously well.

              I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

              by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 11:33:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  we talk about it because the media (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PorridgeGun

            talks about it.  We talk that talk because "Tax and Spend Democrats" is the most successful lie of the last 5 decades, and has been the driving force behind the shitty welfare reform of Clinton's years, Bush's argument for privatizing everyfuckingthing, and Dem's inability to get ANYONE to talk honestly about piss-on-us economics.  

            Notice who was President when that talking point got neutered.  When Keeps Us Safe shifted to Democrats.  When Strong On Defense stopped meaning the neo-cons.  When Fiscally Responsible began to be greeted by their own voters with a laugh.  

            You can natter away about the words until hell freezes over.  What counts is that long-entrenched narratives have changed in 4 short years because Obama's really really good at twisting their memes into policies and budgets that reflect progressive ideals.  

            If we spent less time thinking tough talk was the solution we could maybe see that small, frequent actions are what keep this economy afloat while the RW does everything possible to tank it.  

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 11:29:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Nope. You can start with Paygo. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell

          And go on from there to using Simpson-Bowles as a starting point for negotiations, to putting chained CPI on the table when even insiders on the Hill didn't understand why he should have specified one damned cut. He had Boehner on the ropes, and he could have kept pressuring him to specify the cuts if the Repubs wanted to shrink government so damned bad.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:00:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Have you ever noticed that the earned (0+ / 0-)

            benefits programs were protected?  That Republicans haven't jumped on chained CPI?  That Pay-Go isn't what happened with the latest fiscal cliff?  

            Look at results and stop fretting about words.  You may not grasp the significance of the change we're in.  I have, I'm blown away that even the media can't stop what people are seeing about the Republican Party.  That's not an accident.

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 11:39:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why is it that we're suppose to look at the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SouthernLiberalinMD, greenbell

              results on this issue and this issue only. Should we not take the president at his word?  Because he's been saying he's going to "reform" entitlements since he was running the first time. Is this like how we're suppose to call him a liberal even though he has explicitly stated otherwise?

              •  He also has dissed FDR and praised Reagan. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                greenbell, PorridgeGun

                This "sophistication" is just more Third-Way garbage.

                if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 01:23:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So what's your plan? Vote for one of the (0+ / 0-)

                  Paul triumvirate?  It's hard to argue with reality so you call me Not A True Progressive?  It's funny that in the 3 months I've been making these arguments not one True Progressive has responded with anything but not-meant-to-be-factual statements, some kind of name-calling, or mansplaining why I don't see how AWFUL THIS IS.  

                  I feel your pain.

                  I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                  by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 01:56:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  My plan is to criticize the president (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PorridgeGun, HCKAD

                    when he tried to enact an agenda I disagree with. If you want to pretend like that's the same as wanting to elect one of the Paul triumvirate(Hadn't heard that phrase before, I like it, BTW) then that's fine. We got Obama elected and now we're just suppose to shut up when he does something we don't like? Do you really think chained CPI isn't bad? Or do you just think the president is a liar when he says he wants to make it happen?

                    Most importantly, why in the hell are we even talking about entitlements, SS has nothing to do with the deficit and anyone who's being even slightly honest should admit that.

                •  Pretty much not true. Are you reading (0+ / 0-)

                  Glenn Greenwald?  Curious about how these things stay alive after debunking.

                  I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                  by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 01:58:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  He did reform Medicare. He's kept his word. (0+ / 0-)

                He reformed the fraudsters into jail after years of easy pickings.  He reformed the Part D prescription administrators out of their profiteering.  He reformed obscene profits out of durable equipment providers.  He reformed co-pay charges for diagnostic testing out of existence and added tests that were never covered.  He reformed end of life planning into the doctor's office.  

                This would be why I'm more inclined to trust him than I am to trust various bloggers who have lit their hair on fire every three months for 4 years plus, despite the fact that in those 4 years SS hasn't been privatized, stripped, altered, gutted, weakened, AND Medicare has been vastly improved.  

                When this starts up again I'm forcibly reminded of Wayne LaPierre:  sure, he hasn't done it YET he was waiting for his second term.  

                Maybe it's smarter to see how reform built a better more responsive Medicare?  Maybe there are ways to do the same with SS so Republicans have no leg to stand on when they light THEIR fucking hair on fire?

                I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 01:49:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Reality tells me that the only reason we don't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PorridgeGun

              have chained CPI is that the insane portion of the right wing hates Obama so much they're not willing to give him a success on anything. We keep being saved from crappy policy by a bunch of insane racists.

              Reality also tells me that the Overton window phenomenon is real, and basically both parties are now agreeing on economic views that start with Reaganomics and go rightward from there.

              But hey, believe whatever you want to, and if you support your beliefs by looking down on others as being insufficiently sophisticated about the political inside game, you will not be alone.

              if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 01:22:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No there are a lot of people who agree (0+ / 0-)

                with me, so I don't fear aloneness.  

                Was Reagan serious about building a strong middle class?  I did not know that.  Good on him!  I missed his support of financial regulations and strong unions and a strong manufacturing base and green energy and training people for today's jobs and reducing the cost of health care as well.  I was probably just busy then.

                I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 02:05:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Since more than 75% of Americans (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell

          want to preserve Social Security intact, even to the point of paying higher taxes to pay for it, there seems little point in having a Democratic president argue  repeatedly for cutting it.

          Do us outsider amateur plebes get to know the object of this eleventy-dimensional chess game? If it's making Republicans look bad, they are perfectly capable of doing that themselves.(See 2012 elections, rape).

           And yes, I get that triangulation is like herding Republican lemmings off a cliff. Republicans have to differentiate themselves from the Democrats, because their entire movement is based on hating Democrats. So you keep taking Republican positions, forcing them to differentiate from you by retreating into more and more extreme forms of rightism. It's very clever politics which unfortunately requires an economic blood sacrifice, because public policy goes rightward along with politics. Eventually the Democrats win--YAY!--because they're the only party left that looks sane. Unfortunately, by the time that happens, the middle class is decimated by the terrible right wing policies that have been adopted by both parties.

          Hence the split in this site. Those who love the Democratic party the way I love the Baltimore Ravens are cheering b/c the actions of the Democrats are politically smart--in a way. At least, at the end of the day, the Democrats will be the political party in power, probably representing a large part of the big money in this country. So, hooray for us and beating the Republicans.   Those who love the Democratic party because they want humane and functional public policy are horrified, b/c a lot of working- and middle-class people are going to be terribly hurt in the process. Sorry if that's too "twentieth-century" for you.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 01:43:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Too bad Social Security and Medicare are 20th (0+ / 0-)

            Century programs -- sooo, retro dontcha know.  

            But hey, don't trust what he SAYS.  He's just fibbing for our own good.

          •  So you don't think chained CPI might be (0+ / 0-)

            one of those suggestions Republicans ought to jump on and don 't so isn't that interesting.  I find it fascinating.  I wonder how many programs they cherish have automatic COLA.  Farm subsidies?  Oil subsidies?  

            I also wonder if there's a way to protect SS from the Republicans for a few years.  I could use a break from that panic I live in when they gain power.

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 02:23:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  No more cuts (4+ / 0-)

        They aren't going to help.

        I challenge all the deficit hawks.  Show me how the deficit at its current level is hurting the economy.

        Where is the inflation?

        Where is the devaluation of the dollar?

        This is a made up crisis.  It's a chapter right out of Naomi klein's disaster capitalism.  And I had enough of it!

        Get to work on growing the economy.  On doing things we need to do such as repairing the infrastructure. And stop focusing on the deficit.

        "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

        by noofsh on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:59:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Increased employment will, of course, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snoopydawg

          help to reduce the deficit. Unlike all the austerity plans from Paul Ryan's bill to the fiscal cliff bill, which according to the CBO actually increased the deficit.

          While spending public money on creating government jobs does spend money (increase the deficit) it also enables those government workers to spend money in the private sector, which creates jobs in the private sector and enables workers in the private sector to pay taxes and stop drawing unemployment, food stamps, etc. Which both grows the economy and reduces the deficit.

          Whereas cutting government jobs cuts the amount of people's wages/salaries, in exchange for losing what they used to pay in taxes and paying out unemployment and food stamps to laid off government workers. Also, we start to have crappy roads, bridges, education, etc etc etc.

          Really not much of a choice here, if you give a damn about the United States of America.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:06:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Of course austerity works (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, NoMoreLies, TexasTom, jm214

      The problem is that the actual goal of austerity is not the stated goal. Austerity works great at funneling money to the rentier class, and given that they are it's prime proponents I think it's a fair wager that we' re being had.

    •  You give the Republicans in Congress (12+ / 0-)

      too much credit.

      They are not behaving as they are because they believe that austerity is a good path to take.  They are motivated by two things:

      ~desire to see the President fail.  The only thing they hate more than President Obama is his success.  They will do whatever they can--including harming the economy and a majority of our citizens--in order to be able to blame him for it.

      ~desire to eliminate the middle class.  They want to take away the basic structures of the New Deal, the Great Society and now Obamacare and leave ordinary citizens on their own.  They'd like to pull out the underpinnings of public education and unions and secure government employment, and privatize all our country's services.  The ultimate goal is to enrich their friends at the top, get rid of the middle class and the political and economic muscle it brings, and have the bulk of the population work as wage slaves to the wealthiest masters.  This may sound harsh, but every policy they bring forth--this includes Republican governors in swing states--is leading toward this goal.

      "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

      by SottoVoce on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:43:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  While some comentators are saying .... (7+ / 0-)

    that the blame falls on both sides, it really falls more heavily on the Republicans.  The recent polls shows that a plurality of public is aware of this.

    It is almost like the Republicans, like mythical lemmings, are committing mass political suicide.  I think they are total prisoners of the Tea Party and the deluded billionaires who run it.  However the public can be unpredictable so we will just have to see how this plays out.  My surmise is that they will be much the worse for wear if they let this happen.

  •  Really, Mr. President? (7+ / 0-)

    "Our top priority as a country right now should be doing everything we can to grow our economy and create good, middle class jobs."

    Except spending government money to create those jobs. Because government spending is, you know, bad.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:15:03 AM PST

  •  President Obama is on a roll with his calling out (6+ / 0-)

    of the ridiculous Republican disaster plan for America.  The wingers I work with are in absolute whine mode over the fact that he's had the nerve to call their lies....  basically lies.

    The fact that the right wing has been shown to have no clothes, which in itself is a scary thought, is not lost on the American people.  Mr. 47% did this country a favor by finally stating what the 1% really believes about the remaining Americans that are, in general, working their asses off in many instances JUST TRYING to find a damn JOB!

    Sequester?  If you feel you must, teabaggy Congress person...  please proceed

    Someone once asked me why do you always insist on taking the hard road? and I replied why do you assume I see two roads?

    by funluvn1 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:16:26 AM PST

    •  This is his strongest statement to date (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      funluvn1

      "After all, as we learned in the 1990s, nothing shrinks the deficit faster than a growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs. That has to be our driving focus. That has to be our North Star. Making America a magnet for good jobs."

      He just needs to eliminate any reference to deficit reduction UNTIL we have full economic growth. A strong economy HAS to be a condition precedent to real deficit reduction.

      •  "Deficit reduction?" Bullshit. Look up the page a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, snoopydawg

        bit, here, today, in kosland, or click this little link, http://www.dailykos.com/... because guess what? Everyone who says 'the deficit is growing, the deficit is growing!' is, like, totally effing WRONG! and the whole bullshit exercise is just another case of the rich blowing smoke in our collective stupid Narrative-eating faces.

        Folks of a nice, liberal, progressive bent, maybe it is time to stop being, like, so "understanding" and, like, "tolerant" and you know, "nice," and get down and a little dirty in response to what's being done to us nice, try-to-keep-what-little-we-think-we-have, iGeneration DOPES.

        (And HOW many 'troops' and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, again, for how long? How many new drone bases in which new countries, on which disorganized continents? And how many of you, of US, believe that the "sequester," by "cutting" the rate of growth, THE RATE OF GROWTH, of the Pentagram budget to "just" 2.4% a year, is "horribly endangering our national security"? )

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:55:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let the sequester happen. (0+ / 0-)

    I fully support letting the sequester occurring. We have to start to cut spending at sometime so it might as well as be now.

    •  Sometime? We have to start sometime and now is (6+ / 0-)

      that time?  Is that what you are saying?  Because if so, you don't understand anything about how an economy works.  

      We do need to cut spending.  On giveaways to corporations such as oil companies and agriculture corporations, etc, on capping the Social Security funding, on wasteful military contracts, and on and on.  What we don't need to cut is monies that will attract new and expanded work on infrastructure, bringing American jobs back home from countries where a living wage and ecological issues are swept under the rug in a trade for corporate ultra-profits.

      Someone once asked me why do you always insist on taking the hard road? and I replied why do you assume I see two roads?

      by funluvn1 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:26:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hope none of your relatives or friends (6+ / 0-)

      works in ANY WAY for our government. A HUGE number of Americans owe their living, directly or indirectly, to government programs and agencies. 20% of them will find themselves unemployed, collecting unemployment checks (which, if you've ever been on them, you know cannot support you), getting food stamps, losing their homes, etc., etc., etc. Our spending levels are only unsustainable at the current levels of unemployment and historically low tax rates.

      Republicans want smaller gov't for the same reason crooks want fewer cops. - James Carville

      by wyckoff on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:26:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Taking it out on seniors is no better (6+ / 0-)

        I totally oppose "entitlement reform", i.e., Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts.  

        •  Concur (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, emal, NoMoreLies, Dabb

          In fact, Social Security is NOT an entitlement andhas nothing to do with the budget. It is a self-sustaining paid-in insurance program that only needs tinkering now and again to stay perfectly solvent. Likewise, Medicare is largely paid-for also. Even when Medicare outstrips its income, we are just shifting money we would have to spend anyway, unless one thinks it's OK to let senior citizens just get sick and die... The ONLY reson we are even having these discussions is that the "de-regulator" class saw that the big yachts and big private jets of the 80's could be MUCH bigger, if only they had EVEN MORE money.

          Republicans want smaller gov't for the same reason crooks want fewer cops. - James Carville

          by wyckoff on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:48:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The "indirect" part of this is huge... (0+ / 0-)

        ...much more so than most people know.

        Because while it's obvious to most people who aren't Republicans that the sequester will directly hit government employees and government contractors, I don't believe most people have a clue about the ripple effects.

        Consider it this way:  the contractor that I work for is the largest employer in the town that I work in.  If we lose contracts and shrink our workforce, the result will be less business for everyone in town.  The result is that restaurants, stores, service companies will all be laying off people when their business shrinks.  And how many of the people at risk from those layoffs have any idea that the sequester might effect them?

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:38:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Snowballing impact too (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TexasTom

          No one notices when they furlough the staff who execute the contracts.  You can't even have a contract if there is no one qualified to draft and execute the contract.  So even when they turn the spending back on, there will be an enormous backlog of unexecuted contracts so they'll be unable to spend the money even when they have it.  

    •  We could easily raise taxes (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zinger99, ladybug53, emal, bdop4, NoMoreLies

      Or just cut the military instead. No need to destroy swaths of government funded jobs.

      •  Need to be careful about this... (0+ / 0-)

        ...large military cuts right now are going to kill large numbers of jobs, as well.  While we need to shrink defense spending, the time to do it is later, when the economy is strong enough to absorb the people who would lose jobs as a result of defense cuts.

        As for tax increases...again, we need to be careful, since the wrong tax increases will ripple into a weak economy.  The perfect example, of course, is the ending of the payroll tax cut, which is directly reducing retail spending.  Tax cuts need to be carefully targetted to hit those at the top, and even then they should probably be phased in over several years so as not to create an immediate economic shock.

        The bottom line is that while we do need to deal with the deficit, we really don't need deficit reduction right now.  A good sequestration replacement (which, unfortunately, isn't going to happen) would replace cuts now with tax increases and cuts that start several years from now.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:42:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bullshit? It depends on where the "cuts" happen. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          The Pentagram will protect their playpen and certain profitable programs, at the expense of payroll for "The Troops We Support," the costs of Supporting The Troops Who Were Sucker Enough To 'Go Fight To Protect Their Country By Kicking In Doors In Kandahar And Got Their Brains Rattled Or Legs Blown Off', stuff like that. If you work for a "defence contractor" that lives off cost-plus (whatever they can steal) contracts, and your town profits from that behavior, too, maybe it's time to realize that it's time to switch to something other than making world-destroying buggy whips...

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:02:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You missed the point. (0+ / 0-)

            My comment is that cutting that defense (and non-defense, for that matter) spending will hurt the economy.  That's indisputably true -- I don't think that Paul Krugman or any other rational economist with disagree.

            In contrast, your argument is that defense spending is evil.  You're entitled to your opinion on that matter (and I'm entitled to give it the respect it deserves, which isn't much)...but it also has nothing to do with how cutting that spending will impact the economy.

            The problem with cutting defense spending now is that there is absolutely no political path today for moving that spending into other activities that would boost the economy.  Most of us here on DKos wish that were otherwise, but it isn't -- and that means defense cuts will hurt the economy.

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 03:12:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think I missed your point at all, (0+ / 0-)

              which is largely that Resistance Is Futile -- if, as you insist, there is no political path for moving that spending to other activities. It's a tautology to say that spending less through the War Department will harm the bits of the economy that feed off that war Department udder. But it is not a reason not to choke off some of the Pentagram's infinite appetites.

              I wander around in Milbabble-space, read the trade press for the MIC players frequently, and have many times suggested that for people to see what they get for their "defense" dollar, they should just start reading through the DoD Dictionary, that thing that takes a huge bureaucracy to produce and update to keep up with message and doctrine changes to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, that kind of fails to define a few terms like "war" and "peace" and "victory" but is chock-full of insane bureaucratic tidbits that any random page will display: http://ra.defense.gov/...

              I guess I must have little respect for YOUR message, and your attempt to say I think defense spending is "evil." Huge parts of it, by any ethical measurement I've come across, would sure seem to qualify as "evil," not to mention "stupid" and "wasteful" and "dead-end," but of course humans are ugly creatures, so a certain amount of "defense" is inevitable. Huge swaths of military and "defense" spending are a huge waste, as far as I can see, underwritten by taxes and debt imposed on people who have no idea what the whole Global Network-Centric Battlespace Management miasma is, in the parts that can be seen. Or that "contracts," for services that GIs getting paid penny-ante TROOP wages can do just fine, involve paying parasites, who often just sit on their asses while the GIs do the workd, anywhere from 10 to 100 times as much for the same work (plus travel, housing, tax-free income, health care and other crap).

              What you are selling is just "don't rock the (YOUR, actually) boat," another version of the argument on which the people building the F-22 and F-35 have pressed so vigorously and "politically:" "Hey, man, it's a JOBS program! Good-paying middle class jobs!"

              Defense cuts will hurt the economy? Who's worth more? Your contracting buddies who build weapons to fight wars that surprise! are losers from the git-go (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) or will never happen, or the grandma in Keokuk who gets to be ChainCPI'd down to hoping she can get someone to run her to Walmart to buy a case of high-sodium Ramen to fill her stomach with until she dies from a stroke induced by sodium-augmented hypertension?

              Change our national spending priorities away from the huge boondoggle that is "defense," and do I really need to cite examples, beyond recent conclusions that the whole system is so systemically corrupt that hundreds of billions of dollars have just "disappeared," and that the whole Pentagram thing simply cannot be audited?

              IS it really true that "most of us here on Dkos wish it were otherwise?" Anyone taken a poll on that lately?

              If not now, when?

              And your answer would appear to be (correct me if I'm wrong) something between "Not now, I and my pals still benefit from it," and "Never!"

              "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

              by jm214 on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 05:04:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of Defense Spending (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          is not labor intensive, but incorporates high skill workers. Why don't we move them from developing weapons to kill people to developing technology that promotes their health and welfare?

          •  A great idea... (0+ / 0-)

            ...the problem is that it has zero chance of happening.  Cutting the defense budget will go to deficit reduction, not to alternative research and development in non-defense fields.  

            In a politically sane environment, we might be able to do exactly what you propose.  In the current environment, it ain't happening -- so postponing both the civilian and defense cuts until the economy is stronger is the best idea.

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 03:04:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  We can do better (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, bdop4

      Obama has already laid out plans to consolidate redundant government agencies and engage in intelligent public spending.

      Granted we would gore the defense ox but it would be detrimental in a number of other areas.  Better for both sides to work on tax reform and job creation policies rather than mindlessly chant austerity.

    •  Cancel the sequester (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, bdop4, PorridgeGun

      It's not necessary.  Jobs is what we need not cuts.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:53:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We don't need to cut spending (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, emal

      We need to REALLOCATE spending to areas that create jobs through infrastructure repair, creating new technologies and educating our labor force.

      Every dollar spent now towards "deficit reduction" delays the economic recovery that will actually be able to pay off the debt.

  •  OB calling out Republicans rather than Congress (3+ / 0-)

    Finally

  •  Overblown beyond belief (0+ / 0-)

    Slowing the growth of government is all the sequester does.  There are no cuts, the thinking on this is ridiculous.

    •  WHAT? n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ShoshannaD

      Republicans want smaller gov't for the same reason crooks want fewer cops. - James Carville

      by wyckoff on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:52:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Slowing the growth ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, ShoshannaD

      Coded speak for cuts.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:52:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Growth is Spending (0+ / 0-)

      From MarketWatch (Wall Street Journal):

      "Here are the facts, according to the official government statistics:

      • In the 2009 fiscal year — the last of George W. Bush’s presidency — federal spending rose by 17.9% from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. Check the official numbers at the Office of Management and Budget.

      • In fiscal 2010 — the first budget under Obama — spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.

      • In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.

      • In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.

      • Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion. Read the CBO’s latest budget outlook.

      Over Obama’s four budget years, federal spending is on track to rise from $3.52 trillion to $3.58 trillion, an annualized increase of just 0.4%."

      Yes, the number of federal employees has increased (mostly homeland security, justice, veterans and defense), but when including state and local public employees (a large number of which are supported with federal funds), the total number has dropped.

      From the American Enterprise Institute:

      "total government employment — federal plus state and local — has fallen significantly under President Obama after rising significantly under President Bush. Here’s the picture:

      It’s important not to understate the federal government’s role in the size of state and local governments. The stimulus gave tens of billions of federal dollars to the states in order to prevent cutbacks in the number of state and local workers, and many, including Professor Krugman, argue that that wasn’t enough."

      •  Those are misleading facts (0+ / 0-)

        FY 2009 includes the stimulus passed by Congress AFTER President Obama took office.  It essentially puts that -- passed by Democrats without any Republican votes, at the urging of President Obama on President Bush.  

        It is just not factually accurate to attribute all of the spending that occurred during FY 2009 as Bush's spending.  Bush's spending certainly included the FY 2009 spending that was approved on his watch.  But the INCREASES in spending for FY 2009 that happened after President Obama took office -- and at his urging -- certainly must be attributed to President Obama.  

        Your attributing all of FY 2009 spending to President Bush is just false.    

        And, if you look at President Obama's proposed budgets, he would have spent much more, except that Congress did not give him what he wanted.  

        Facts and explanations are here.

        •  The Stimulus was in Response to the Economic Crash (0+ / 0-)

          as a direct result of Bush's policies of deregulation and putting wars and tax cuts on the national credit card.

          But for the disasters under the Bush Administration, the Obama administration wouldn't have had to enact the stimulus.

          Look, everyone wants to allocate blame to Obama starting on January 20, 2009, but that's just bullshit. Obama entered his term in the midst of an economic shitstorm caused by eight years under Bush. Whatever.

          •  You have to allocate 2009 (0+ / 0-)

            spending on who authorized the spending.  Read that link I gave you.  

            Certainly, you can argue that the stimulus was the right thing for President Obama to do.  But he proposed the spending, he urged Congress to pass it, and he signed it into law -- Bush did not.  

            It's just factually wrong to say it was Bush's spending.  If it were up to the Republicans, that spending pushed for by, and signed into law by, President Obama would not have happened.  That may have been bad for the economy, but that doesn't make it President Bush's spending.  President Bush authorized certain spending for FY 2009.  He is responsible for that.  President Obama authorized additional spending for FY 2009. The spending authorized by President Obama is attributable to President Obama -- not President Bush.   You can say it was a good idea to do that spending -- but it was still President Obama's spending.  

            Read that fact check link I gave you.  

      •  American Enterprise Institue = GOP Think Tank (0+ / 0-)

        I think that says enough about the veracity of their claims.

    •  When growth is as low... (0+ / 0-)

      ...as what we currently have, slowing growth is a problem.

      That reduced growth in government may translate into the difference between a slowly growing economy and a slowly shrinking economy.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:44:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  THE DEATH PENALTY: SAVING MORE INNOCENT LIVES (0+ / 0-)

    Of all endeavors that put innocents at risk, is there one with a better record of sparing and saving more innocent lives than the US death penalty? Unlikely.

    1) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/...

    2) Innocents More At Risk Without Death Penalty
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/...

  •  Just cancel the damn sequester (4+ / 0-)

    More cuts of any sort won't help right now.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:51:33 AM PST

  •  He forgot to answer his own question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, emal

    "Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools and mental health care just to protect tax loopholes for corporate jet owners? Are they really willing to slash military health care and the border patrol just because they refuse to eliminate tax breaks for big oil companies? Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?"

    Yes. Emphatically, unequivocally, yes.

  •  95% murder victim's families support death penalty (0+ / 0-)

    Victims' Families for Death Penalty Repeal: More Hurt For Victims:

    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/...

  •  Notice two people on this thread (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, bdop4, hester, PorridgeGun

    advocating for cuts.  Looked at their profiles, almost no history at all.

    Hmmm..  Now, of course, newcomers are always welcome.  And more than welcome to their opinions.  Indeed and I have absolutely no interest in any, and I mean any kind of witch hunt.  But I do have to wonder.  Of course we need long term deficit reduction which is ALREADY happening.  The deficit is going down.

    And of course the sequester will be extremely damaging.

    And again...Spain?

    •  I give them points for honesty as compared to: (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShoshannaD, bdop4, hester, emal, PorridgeGun

      "But I believe we should do it in a balanced way – with smart spending cuts, entitlement reform, and tax reform."

      What the hell does THAT mean?  "Smart" cuts?  "entitlement reform".  

      I am so fed up with this "balanced approach" b.s.  

      When you balance cutting someone's Social Security benefit through chained CPI with taxing some zillionaire on his yacht there is NO BALANCE IN THIS APPROACH.

      The whole balance thing is just so dishonest because you are not requiring equal sacrifice from the people who are getting "balanced".  Oh, but it sounds good to the serious people, so moderate, so measured.  

      At least the Tea Party is brutally honest about what they want to do.  I still have no clue what Obama and the Democratic Party are going to do.  

      As far as I can tell, Obama wants to replace cuts in the sequester with cuts to entitlements and I'm supposed to support that?  NO!!!

      •  You make several good points... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, emal

        And no I am not "sharing" anymore.  I am quite "balanced" enough thank you.  

        But the first time any tea partiers lose a penny of SS or Medicare...sorry...think the outcry will deafen the country.

        NO absolutely NO cuts to the big three.  

        sh

  •  I may be furloughed (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a federal worker (GS) as a full-time national guard member.

    22 days between April and October

  •  Love the "North Star" reference (0+ / 0-)

    Obama also used it in the State of the Union address. Frederick Douglas named his newspaper the "The North Star" because of its significance to run away slaves whose only direction in fleeing to freedom was to follow the North Star. Republicans are not the only ones who can utilize dog whistles. But now that Obama has used it, he owns it and he can not cheapen its significance.

    If you don't want to be kept in the dark and lathered with horse dung, stop acting like a mushroom.

    by nomorerepukes on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:32:54 AM PST

  •  So.Where's the GOP's Magical Leverage? (0+ / 0-)

    I remember hearing a lot about some leverage they were supposed to have here.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

    by Beetwasher on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:59:40 AM PST

  •  Holy Shit, I Just Read the Whole Speech: ON FIRE!! (0+ / 0-)

    Read it, its brutal. Wow.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

    by Beetwasher on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 10:10:30 AM PST

  •  If you voted straight Democratic in 2012 (0+ / 0-)

    And it requires Democrats and Republicans to meet half way to resolve the problem.

    You have a President, who doesn't support the Democratic Party, and wants them to move as much as the GOP.

    Principled? Not at all!

  •  Seeing President Obama on the camera (0+ / 0-)

    still shot makes me smile.
    I really like this guy.

  •  So how many congress(wo)men, Senators and their (0+ / 0-)

    staff will be furloughed? Might as well be all of them for all the good they do.

  •  Why Is He Still Talking Entitlement "Reform"? (0+ / 0-)
    I believe we should work together to build on the more than $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved. But I believe we should do it in a balanced way – with smart spending cuts, entitlement reform, and tax reform. That’s my plan.
    Cutting the federal deficit is not an accomplishment. The deficit that matters is the trade deficit. Cutting that deficit could be achieved if we worked on it. That would bring additional well-paying jobs to the U.S. and increase wages.

    People get entitlements because they are entitled to them: either because they paid in (as with Social Security and Medicare) or because they are rendered poor by the economy. Changing the rules doesn't make these people any less entitled and it doesn't deal with the problems these programs were intended to solve.

    Why did over 40% of seniors live in poverty before Social Security? It isn't because they wanted to. It's because without some rules to guide the market it would crush them.

    President Obama needs to rethink how he's approaching this. He should never have started on the spending cut/tax cut bandwagon.

    But then, neither should any of the other Democrats.

  •  Many repubs want to see Obama fail at any costs (0+ / 0-)

    No matter who is hurt as long as it is not them and their 1% White, male, rich friends.

    Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

    by arealniceguy on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 04:47:36 PM PST

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