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Both sides must give in. It is the will of the People.


Press Conference by the President


James S. Brady Press Briefing Room


10:58 A.M. EDT


THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. As you know, yesterday we had another meeting with the congressional leaders. We’re not having one today, so I thought it would be useful to give you guys an update on where we are.


All the congressional leaders have reiterated the desire to make sure that the United States does not default on our obligations, and that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved. That is a good thing. I think we should not even be this close to a deadline on this issue; this should have been taken care of earlier. But it is encouraging that everybody believes that this is something that has to be addressed.


And for the general public -- I’ve said this before but I just want to reiterate -- this is not some abstract issue. These are obligations that the United States has taken on in the past. Congress has run up the credit card, and we now have an obligation to pay our bills. If we do not, it could have a whole set of adverse consequences. We could end up with a situation, for example, where interest rates rise for everybody all throughout the country, effectively a tax increase on everybody, because suddenly whether you’re using your credit or you’re trying to get a loan for a car or a student loan, businesses that are trying to make payroll, all of them could end up being impacted as a consequence of a default.


Now, what is important is that even as we raise the debt ceiling, we also solve the problem of underlying debt and deficits. I’m glad that congressional leaders don’t want to default, but I think the American people expect more than that. They expect that we actually try to solve this problem, we get our fiscal house in order.


And so during the course of these discussions with congressional leaders, what I’ve tried to emphasize is we have a unique opportunity to do something big. We have a chance to stabilize America’s finances for a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years, if we’re wiling to seize the moment.


Now, what that would require would be some shared sacrifice and a balanced approach that says we’re going to make significant cuts in domestic spending. And I have already said I am willing to take down domestic spending to the lowest percentage of our overall economy since Dwight Eisenhower.


It also requires cuts in defense spending, and I’ve said that in addition to the $400 billion that we’ve already cut from defense spending, we’re willing to look for hundreds of billions more.

It would require us taking on health care spending. And that includes looking at Medicare and finding ways that we can stabilize the system so that it is available not just for this generation but for future generations.


And it would require revenues. It would require, even as we’re asking the person who needs a student loan or the senior citizen or people -- veterans who are trying to get by on a disability check -- even as we’re trying to make sure that all those programs are affordable, we’re also saying to folks like myself that can afford it that we are able and willing to do a little bit more; that millionaires and billionaires can afford to do a little bit more; that we can close corporate loopholes so that oil companies aren’t getting unnecessary tax breaks or that corporate jet owners aren’t getting unnecessary tax breaks.


If we take that approach, then I am confident that we can not only impress the financial markets, but more importantly, we can actually impress the American people that this town can actually get something done once in a while.

Now, let me acknowledge what everybody understands: It is hard to do a big package. My Republican friends have said that they’re not willing to do revenues and they have repeated that on several occasions.


My hope, though, is that they’re listening not just to lobbyists or special interests here in Washington, but they’re also listening to the American people. Because it turns out poll after poll, many done by your organizations, show that it’s not just Democrats who think we need to take a balanced approach; it’s Republicans as well.


The clear majority of Republican voters think that any deficit reduction package should have a balanced approach and should include some revenues. That’s not just Democrats; that’s the majority of Republicans. You’ve got a whole slew of Republican officials from previous administrations. You’ve got a bipartisan commission that has said that we need revenues.


So this is not just a Democratic understanding; this is an understanding that I think the American people hold that we should not be asking sacrifices from middle-class folks who are working hard every day, from the most vulnerable in our society -- we should not be asking them to make sacrifices if we’re not asking the most fortunate in our society to make some sacrifices as well.


So I am still pushing for us to achieve a big deal. But what I also said to the group is if we can’t do the biggest deal possible, then let’s still be ambitious; let’s still try to at least get a down payment on deficit reduction. And that we can actually accomplish without huge changes in revenue or significant changes in entitlements, but we could still send a signal that we are serious about this problem.


The fallback position, the third option and I think the least attractive option, is one in which we raise the debt ceiling but we don’t make any progress on deficit and debt. Because if we take that approach, this issue is going to continue to plague us for months and years to come. And I think it’s important for the American people that everybody in this town set politics aside, that everybody in this town set our individual interests aside, and we try to do some tough stuff. And I’ve already taken some heat from my party for being willing to compromise. My expectation and hope is, is that everybody, in the coming days, is going to be willing to compromise.


The last point I’ll make and then I’ll take questions -- we are obviously running out of time. And so what I’ve said to the members of Congress is that you need, over the next 24 to 36 hours, to give me some sense of what your plan is to get the debt ceiling raised through whatever mechanisms they can think about, and show me a plan in terms of what you’re doing for deficit and debt reduction.


If they show me a serious plan, I’m ready to move, even if requires some tough decisions on my part. And I’m hopeful that over the next couple of days we’ll see logjam break -- this logjam broken, because the American people I think understandably want to see Washington do its job. All right?


So with that, let me see who’s on the list. We’re going to start with Jake Tapper.


Q Thank you, Mr. President. You’ve said that reducing the deficit will require shared sacrifice. We know -- we have an idea of the taxes that you would like to see raised on corporations and on Americans in the top two tax brackets, but we don’t yet know what you specifically are willing to do when it comes to entitlement spending. In the interest of transparency, leadership, and also showing the American people that you have been negotiating in good faith, can you tell us one structural reform that you are willing to make to one of these entitlement programs that would have a major impact on the deficit? Would you be willing to raise the retirement age? Would you be willing to means test Social Security or Medicare?


THE PRESIDENT: We’ve said that we are willing to look at all those approaches. I’ve laid out some criteria in terms of what would be acceptable. So, for example, I’ve said very clearly that we should make sure that current beneficiaries as much as possible are not affected. But we should look at what can we do in the out-years, so that over time some of these programs are more sustainable.


I’ve said that means testing on Medicare, meaning people like myself, if -- I’m going to be turning 50 in a week. So I’m starting to think a little bit more about Medicare eligibility. (Laughter.) Yes, I’m going to get my AARP card soon -- and the discounts.


But you can envision a situation where for somebody in my position, me having to pay a little bit more on premiums or co-pays or things like that would be appropriate. And, again, that could make a difference. So we’ve been very clear about where we’re willing to go.


What we’re not willing to do is to restructure the program in the ways that we’ve seen coming out of the House over the last several months where we would voucherize the program and you potentially have senior citizens paying $6,000 more. I view Social Security and Medicare as the most important social safety nets that we have. I think it is important for them to remain as social insurance programs that give people some certainty and reliability in their golden years.


But it turns out that making some modest modifications in those entitlements can save you trillions of dollars. And it’s not necessary to completely revamp the program. What is necessary is to say how do we make some modifications, including, by the way, on the providers’ side. I think that it’s important for us to keep in mind that drug companies, for example, are still doing very well through the Medicare program. And although we have made drugs more available at a cheaper price to seniors who are in Medicare through the Affordable Care Act, there’s more work to potentially be done there.


So if you look at a balanced package even within the entitlement programs, it turns out that you can save trillions of dollars while maintaining the core integrity of the program.


Q And the retirement age?


THE PRESIDENT: I’m not going to get into specifics. As I said, Jake, everything that you mentioned are things that we have discussed. But what I’m not going to do is to ask for even -- well, let me put it this way: If you’re a senior citizen, and a modification potentially costs you a hundred or two hundred bucks a year more, or even if it’s not affecting current beneficiaries, somebody who’s 40 today 20 years from now is going to end up having to pay a little bit more.


The least I can do is to say that people who are making a million dollars or more have to do something as well. And that’s the kind of tradeoff, that’s the kind of balanced approach and shared sacrifice that I think most Americans agree needs to happen.


Q Thank you.



Q Yes. Thank you, Mr. President. I just thought I heard you kind of open up the door to this middle-of-the-road possibility. I think you said, “Show me a serious plan, and then I’m prepared to move.” Just a few minutes before you came here, House Republicans said they’d be voting on this $2.4 trillion package as a balanced budget amendment. Is that a serious plan? Is it dead on arrival, or does it short-circuit what you expect to happen in the next 24, 36 hours?


THE PRESIDENT: I haven’t looked at it yet, and I think -- my expectation is that you’ll probably see the House vote on a couple of things just to make political statements. But if you’re trying to get to $2.4 trillion without any revenue, then you are effectively gutting a whole bunch of domestic spending that is going to be too burdensome and is not going to be something that I would support.


Just to be very specific, we’ve identified over a trillion dollars in discretionary cuts, both in defense and domestic spending. That’s hard to do. I mean, that requires essentially that you freeze spending. And when I say freeze, that means you’re not getting inflation so that these are programmatic cuts that, over the course of 10 years, you’d be looking at potentially a 10 percent cut in domestic spending.


Now, if you then double that number, you’re then, at that point, really taking a big bite out of programs that are really important to ordinary folks. I mean, you’re talking then about students accumulating thousands of dollars more in student loan debt every year; you’re talking about federal workers and veterans and others potentially having to pay more in terms of their health care.


So I have not seen a credible plan -- having gone through the numbers -- that would allow you to get to $2.4 trillion without really hurting ordinary folks. And the notion that we would be doing that, and not asking anything from the wealthiest among us or from closing corporate loopholes -- that doesn’t seem like a serious plan to me.


I mean, the notion that, for example, oil company tax breaks, where the oil executives themselves say that they probably don’t need them, to have an incentive to go out and drill oil and make hundreds of billions of dollars -- if we haven’t seen the other side even budge on that, then I think most Democrats would say that’s not a serious plan.


One last point on the balanced budget amendment. I don’t know what version they’re going to be presenting, but some of the balanced budget amendments that have been floating up there -- this cap -- or cut, cap and balance, for example, when you look at the numbers, what you’re looking at is cuts of half-a-trillion dollars below the Ryan budget in any given year. I mean, it would require cutting Social Security or Medicare substantially.


And I think it’s important for everybody to understand that all of us believe that we need to get to a point where eventually we can balance the budget. We don’t need a constitutional amendment to do that; what we need to do is to do our jobs.


And we have to do it the same way a family would do it. A family, if they get over-extended and their credit card is too high, they don’t just stop paying their bills. What they do is they say, how do we start cutting our monthly costs? We keep on making payments, but we start cutting out the things that aren’t necessary. And we do it in a way that maintains our credit rating. We do it in a way that’s responsible -- we don’t stop sending our kids to college; we don’t stop fixing the boiler or the roof that’s leaking. We do things in a sensible, responsible way. We can do the same thing when it comes to the federal budget.


Q So within that $2 trillion band, if you end up going for this middle-of-the-road package, which I think you referred to as “the second option,” would that need to have, for your signature, some sort of stimulative measures -- either payroll tax extension or the extension of the unemployment insurance?


THE PRESIDENT: I think both would be good for the economy. A payroll tax cut is something that has put a thousand dollars in the pocket of the typical American family over the last six, seven months and has helped offset some of the rising costs in gasoline and food. And I think that American consumers and American businesses would benefit from a continuation of that tax cut next year.


Unemployment insurance. Obviously unemployment is still too high. And there are a lot of folks out there who are doing everything they can to find a job, but the market is still tight out there. And for us to make sure that they are able to stay in their homes, potentially, or they’re able to still support their families, I think is very important and contributes to the overall economy.

So I think there are ways that you can essentially take a little over a trillion dollars in serious discretionary cuts, meaningful discretionary cuts, and then start building on top of that some cuts in non-health care mandatory payments, ethanol programs, or how we calculate various subsidies to various industries. That could potentially be layered on. And we could still do something like a tax cut for ordinary families that would end up benefiting the economy as a whole.


That is not my preferable option, though. I just want to be clear. I think about this like a layer cake. You can do the bare minimum and then you can make some progressively harder decisions to solve the problem more and more.


And we’re in a position now where if we’re serious about this and everybody is willing to compromise, we can, as I said before, fix this thing probably for a decade or more. And that’s something that I think would be good for the overall business climate and would encourage the American people that Washington actually is willing to take care of its business.


Q Good for the business -- for the climate, though, but not required for your signature -- is that what I heard?


THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, I lost you on that one.


Q So you’re saying these stimulative measures would be good for the business climate and good for the economy, but you’re not saying that they need to be included for you to sign either a $2 trillion or $4 trillion --


THE PRESIDENT: I’ve got to look at an overall package, Hans. I don’t know what the Speaker or Mr. McConnell are willing to do at this point.


Okay. Chuck Todd.


Q Mr. President, this process got kind of ugly in the last week. And it appears from the outside that things even got a little futile at these meetings. Any regrets on your role in how this went? And do you have any regrets that you never took Bowles-Simpson, which was $4 trillion over 10 years, and spent the last six months selling that, which was a balanced package, to the American people?


THE PRESIDENT: No. First of all, I think this notion that things got ugly is just not true. We’ve been meeting every single day and we have had very constructive conversations.


The American people are not interested in the reality TV aspects of who said what and did somebody’s feelings get hurt. They’re interested in solving the budget problem and the deficit and the debt. And so that may be good for chatter in this town; it’s not something that folks out in the country are obsessing about.


I think with respect to Bowles-Simpson, it was important for us to -- Bowles-Simpson wouldn’t have happened had I not set up the structure for it. As you will recall, this was originally bipartisan legislation that some of the Republican supporters of decided to vote against when I said I supported it -- that seems to be a pattern that I’m still puzzled by. And so we set it up. They issued a report. And what I said was this provides us an important framework to begin discussions.


But there were aspects of Bowles-Simpson that I said from very early on were not the approach I would take. I’ll give you an example. On defense spending, a huge amount of their savings on the discretionary side came out of defense spending. I think we need to cut defense, but as Commander-in-Chief, I’ve got to make sure that we’re cutting it in a way that recognizes we’re still in the middle of a war, we’re winding down another war, and we’ve got a whole bunch of veterans that we’ve got to care for as they come home.


And so what we’ve said is a lot of the components of Bowles-Simpson we are willing to embrace -- for example, the domestic spending cuts that they recommend we’ve basically taken. Others, like on defense, we have taken some but not all the recommendations, because it’s important for it to be consistent with our defense needs and our security needs.


The bottom line is that this is not an issue of salesmanship to the American people; the American people are sold. The American people are sold. I just want to repeat this. The whole --


Q You don’t think the whole debate would have been different? You had Republican support on it.




Q Tom Coburn, the Republican senator, signed onto it.


THE PRESIDENT: Chuck, you have 80 percent of the American people who support a balanced approach. Eighty percent of the American people support an approach that includes revenues and includes cuts. So the notion that somehow the American people aren’t sold is not the problem. The problem is members of Congress are dug in ideologically into various positions because they boxed themselves in with previous statements.


And so this is not a matter of the American people knowing what the right thing to do is. This is a matter of Congress doing the right thing and reflecting the will of the American people. And if we do that, we will have solved this problem.


Lori Montgomery.


Q Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to ask you about the two trains that seem to be rolling down the tracks on the Hill. Specifically, Leader McConnell has laid out an elaborate plan to raise the debt limit. He said last night that it looks like they’re going to pair that with a new committee that would be tasked with coming up with the big solution that you talk about by the end of the year. Your comment on that proposal.


Meanwhile, in the House, they’re saying, well, we can be flexible on some of our demands if we could get a balanced budget amendment. And they note that Vice President Biden voted for a BBA in 1997. Is there any way that that could be part of a solution? Is there any version of a BBA that you would support?


THE PRESIDENT: First of all, for the consumption of the general public, BBA meaning a balanced budget amendment.


Q Thank you.


THE PRESIDENT: I think I already addressed this question earlier. We don’t need a constitutional amendment to do our jobs. The Constitution already tells us to do our jobs -- and to make sure that the government is living within its means and making responsible choices.


And so, this notion that we’re going to go through a multiyear process instead of seizing the moment now and taking care of our problems is a typical Washington response. We don’t need more studies. We don’t need a balanced budget amendment. We simply need to make these tough choices and be willing to take on our bases. And everybody knows it. I mean, we could have a discussion right here about what the numbers look like and we know what’s necessary.


And here’s the good news -- it turns out we don’t have to do anything radical to solve this problem. Contrary to what some folks say, we’re not Greece, we’re not Portugal. It turns out that our problem is we cut taxes without paying for them over the last decade; we ended up instituting new programs like a prescription drug program for seniors that was not paid for; we fought two wars, we didn’t pay for them; we had a bad recession that required a Recovery Act and stimulus spending and helping states -- and all that accumulated and there’s interest on top of that.


And to unwind that, what’s required is that we roll back those tax cuts on the wealthiest individuals, that we clean up our tax code so we’re not giving out a bunch of tax breaks to companies that don’t need them and are not creating jobs, we cut programs that we don’t need, and we invest in those things that are going to help us grow.


And every commission that’s been out there has said the same thing and basically taken the same approach, within the margin of error.


So my general view is that if the American people looked at this, they’d say, boy, some of these decisions are tough, but they don’t require us to gut Medicare or Social Security. They don’t require us to stop helping young people go to college. They don’t require us to stop helping families who've got a disabled child. They don’t require us to violate our obligations to our veterans. And they don’t require “job-killing tax cuts.” [sic] They require us to make some modest adjustments to get our house in order, and we should do it now.


With respect to Senator McConnell’s plan, as I said, I think it is a -- it is constructive to say that if Washington operates as usual and can’t get anything done, let’s at least avert Armageddon. I’m glad that people are serious about the consequences of default.


But we have two problems here. One is raising the debt ceiling -- this is a problem that was manufactured here in Washington, because every single one of the leaders over there have voted for raising the debt ceiling in the past -- and has typically been a difficult, but routine process. And we do have a genuine underlying problem that our debt and deficits are too big. So Senator McConnell’s approach solves the first problem. It doesn’t solve the second problem. I’d like to solve that second problem.


Q But are you looking at this option as a more likely outcome at this point? Or can you share with us why you have some hope that the talks that have been going on might actually produce an outcome?


THE PRESIDENT: I always have hope. Don’t you remember my campaign? (Laughter.) Even after being here for two-and-a-half years I continue to have hope. You know why I have hope? It’s because of the American people. When I talk to them and I meet with them, as frustrated as they are about this town, they still reflect good common sense. And all we have to do is align with that common sense on this problem, it can get solved.


And I’m assuming that at some point, members of Congress are going to listen. I just want to repeat, every Republican -- not -- I won’t say every. A number of Republican former elected officials -- they’re not in office now -- would say a balanced approach that includes some revenue is the right thing to do. The majority of Republican voters say that approach is the right thing to do. The proposal that I was discussing with Speaker Boehner fell squarely in line with what most Republican voters think we should do. So the question is at what point do folks over there start listening to the people who put them in office? Now is a good time.

Sam Youngman.


Q Good morning, Mr. President. I’d like to go back to something Chuck asked, his first question, about the tone of this debate. I faintly remember your campaign. And I’m guessing that while it hasn’t been ugly, as you say, it’s not what you had in mind when you said you wanted to change the tone in Washington. When you have Senator McConnell making comments that he views these negotiations through the prism of 2012, how much does that poison the well? And going forward, if -- big if -- you can get a deal on this, can you get anything done with Congress for the next year and a half?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me say this. And I’m not trying to poke at you guys. I generally don’t watch what is said about me on cable. I generally don’t read what’s said about me, even in The Hill. And so part of this job is having a thick skin and understanding that a lot of this stuff is not personal.


That’s not going to be an impediment to -- whatever Senator McConnell says about me on the floor of the Senate is not going to be an impediment to us getting a deal done. The question is going to be whether at any given moment we’re willing to set politics aside, at least briefly, in order to get something done.


I don’t expect politicians not to think about politics. But every so often there are issues that are urgent, that have to be attended to, and require us to do things we don’t like to do that run contrary to our base, that gets some constituency that helped elect us agitated because they’re looking at it from a narrow prism. We’re supposed to be stepping back and looking at it from the perspective of what’s good for the country. And if we are able to remind ourselves of that, then there's no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get things done.

Look, we’ve been obsessing over the last couple of weeks about raising the debt ceiling and reducing the debt and deficit. I’ll tell you what the American people are obsessing about right now is that unemployment is still way too high and too many folks’ homes are still underwater, and prices of things that they need, not just that they want, are going up a lot faster than their paychecks are if they’ve got a job.


And so even after we solve this problem we still got a lot of work to do. Hans was mentioning we should renew the payroll tax for another year, we should make sure unemployment insurance is there for another year --


Q Sir, I don't believe that was my point. (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT: But you were making the point about whether or not that issue could be wrapped into this deal. My point is that those are a whole other set of issues that we need to be talking about and working on. I’ve got an infrastructure bank bill that would start putting construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges. We should be cooperating on that.


Most of the things that I’ve proposed to help spur on additional job growth are traditionally bipartisan. I’ve got three trade deals sitting ready to go. And these are all trade deals that the Republicans told me were their top priorities. They said this would be one of the best job creators that we could have. And yet it’s still being held up because some folks don’t want to provide trade adjustment assistance to people who may be displaced as a consequence of trade. Surely we can come up with a compromise to solve those problems.

So there will be huge differences between now and November 2012 between the parties, and whoever the Republican nominee is, we’re going to have a big, serious debate about what we believe is the right way to guide America forward and to win the future. And I’m confident that I will win that debate, because I think that we’ve got the better approach. But in the meantime, surely we can, every once in a while, sit down and actually do something that helps the American people right here and right now.


Q It’s in the meantime, sir, that I’m curious about. As you just said, raising the debt ceiling is apparently fairly routine, but it’s brought us to the point of economic Armageddon, as you said. If you can get past this one, how can you get any agreement with Congress on those big issues you talked about?


THE PRESIDENT: I am going to keep on working and I’m going to keep on trying. And what I’m going to do is to hope that, in part, this debate has focused the American people’s attention a little bit more and will subject Congress to scrutiny. And I think increasingly the American people are going to say to themselves, you know what, if a party or a politician is constantly taking the position "my way or the high way," constantly being locked into ideologically rigid positions, that we’re going to remember at the polls.


It’s kind of cumulative. The American people aren’t paying attention to the details of every aspect of this negotiation, but I think what the American people are paying attention to is who seems to be trying to get something done, and who seems to be just posturing and trying to score political points. And I think it’s going to be in the interests of everybody who wants to continue to serve in this town to make sure that they are on the right side of that impression.


And that’s, by the way, what I said in the meeting two days ago. I was very blunt. I said the American people do not want to see a bunch of posturing; they don’t want to hear a bunch of sound bites. What they want is for us to solve problems, and we all have to remember that. That’s why we were sent here.


Last question -- Scott Horsley.


Q Thank you, Mr. President. I wonder if you've seen any sign this week of daily meetings that Republicans are being more aligned with that American majority, or if we are in the same place today that we were on Monday.


THE PRESIDENT: It's probably better for you to ask them how they're thinking. I do think that -- and I've said this before -- Speaker Boehner, in good faith, was trying to see if it was possible to get a big deal done. He had some problems in his caucus. My hope is, is that after some reflection, after we walked through all the numbers this week and we looked at all the options, that there may be some movement, some possibility, some interest to still get something more than the bare minimum done.


But we're running out of time. That's the main concern that I have at this point. We have enough time to do a big deal. I've got reams of paper and printouts and spreadsheets on my desk, and so we know how we can create a package that solves the deficits and debt for a significant period of time. But in order to do that, we got to get started now. And that's why I'm expecting some answers from all the congressional leaders sometime in the next couple of days.


And I have to say this is tough on the Democratic side, too. Some of the things that I've talked about and said I would be willing to see happen, there are some Democrats who think that's absolutely unacceptable. And so that's where I'd have a selling job, Chuck, is trying to sell some of our party that if you are a progressive, you should be concerned about debt and deficit just as much as if you're a conservative. And the reason is because if the only thing we're talking about over the next year, two years, five years, is debt and deficits, then it's very hard to start talking about how do we make investments in community colleges so that our kids are trained, how do we actually rebuild $2 trillion worth of crumbling infrastructure.

If you care about making investments in our kids and making investments in our infrastructure and making investments in basic research, then you should want our fiscal house in order, so that every time we propose a new initiative somebody doesn’t just throw up their hands and say, "Ah, more big spending, more government."


It would be very helpful for us to be able to say to the American people, our fiscal house is in order. And so now the question is what should we be doing to win the future and make ourselves more competitive and create more jobs, and what aspects of what government is doing are a waste and we should eliminate. And that's the kind of debate that I'd like to have.


All right? Thank you, guys.



11:39 A.M. EDT

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Guest J. Lehmer, ayeallyz

I am a fairly religious man. I was Republican. Because Republicans were more religious than Democrats. Now I am seeing I was just duped. They are obstructing our country, because Obama is a black man. This is starting to look like middle class America is going to the dog house. I do not believe in just giving handouts. It looks like the wealthy are getting handouts, while working class is losing everything.

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Guest Soldier of God

I am a fairly religious man. I was Republican. Because Republicans were more religious than Democrats. Now I am seeing I was just duped. They are obstructing our country, because Obama is a black man. This is starting to look like middle class America is going to the dog house. I do not believe in just giving handouts. It looks like the wealthy are getting handouts, while working class is losing everything.


There are good Republicans and Democrats. There are bad Republicans and Democrats.

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The Left is going to destroy this country. Our national debt now exceeds $14 trillion, $4 trillion of which was added in just the past three years. We need to start removing the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste, fraud and duplication in the budget. The Republicans have a plan how to do it.


U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new report “Back in Black” that outlines how the federal government can reduce the deficit by $9 trillion over the next ten years and balance the federal budget. The 614-page plan was the result of a thorough and exhaustive review of thousands of federal programs.


“The American people are tired of Washington waiting until the last minute to avoid a crisis, particularly when it is a crisis Washington itself created. The crisis, though, is not the debt limit deadline. The crisis is Congress’ refusal to make hard choices and reduce a debt that has become our greatest national security threat. The plan I am offering today gives Washington 9 trillion reasons to stop making excuses and start solving the problem,” Dr. Coburn said.


“Both parties will no doubt criticize portions of this plan and I welcome that debate. My goal is not to replace the work of the budget committees but to show the American people what is possible and necessary. What is not acceptable, however, is not having a plan and delaying reform until some perfect political moment that will never arrive. The fact is doing nothing is a tax increase, a benefit cut for seniors and the poor, and a betrayal of the core values both parties hold dear,” Dr. Coburn said.

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Read this; http://www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=batesm&date=110714


The Social Security game being played out AGAIN by the democrats. <history repeats itself>


The Left is going to destroy this country. Our national debt now exceeds $14 trillion, $4 trillion of which was added in just the past three years. We need to start removing the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste, fraud and duplication in the budget. The Republicans have a plan how to do it.

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Guest Fedup

Sound familiar?



Remarks from a radio address by President Ronald Reagan delivered on September 26, 1987, discussing the severe necessity of the United States meeting it's obligations in regards to dealing with the national debt ceiling



Congress consistently brings the Government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility – two things that set us apart from much of the world.

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The only right path for Congress to pursue in resolving the current budget crisis is to adopt a long-term plan for federal spending restraint.

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Guest Karen Davidson

The problem started long ago when our governing body decided to use OUR benefits for foreign aide. Then we started allowing young women to have babies, and they began getting funds from our Medicare & Medicaid programs so they would never have to work at a job! Then we started giving money from these funds to illegal aliens so they could stay in the USA and use the system! We have prisoners who probably should have been executed for heinous crimes against citizens, and guess what? They are getting medicines and other benefits from our government!

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I hope that you are right Red. But the Democrats are playing the same games over, and over, and over again.



The only right path for Congress to pursue in resolving the current budget crisis is to adopt a long-term plan for federal spending restraint.

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Guest August

Moody's and S & P both say raising the ceiling alone won't be enough to guarantee AAA Rating. But If the deficit reduction numbers are not large the rating may be downgraded in 12 to 18 months.




Not doing anything may prove disastrous to Virginia and Maryland


Maryland and Virginia’s ability to borrow money could take a severe blow and cost taxpayers millions of dollars if talks to raise the U.S. debt limit fail in the next several weeks.


Moody’s Investors Service announced Tuesday it may downgrade the bond ratings of five of the 15 states with coveted


Aaa ratings. Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, New Mexico and Tennessee — states with high proportions of federal employees and contracts — are under review and likely would be downgraded if the U.S. government’s rating were downgraded to Aa1 or lower, the investment services firm said.


“If Maryland and Virginia’s debt rating was downgraded, their borrowing costs go up, making it more difficult for schools to be constructed, roads maintained and bridges to be monitored for safety,” said Anirban Basu, CEO of Sage Policy Group.



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Read Senator Rubio's thoughts about Debt. Democrats should not have shot down Sen. Coburn's plan. It is time to wake up and smell the coffee.




Senator Rubio: “Every single one of us as adults has a credit rating. In essence, there are two or three companies out there that basically rate you as an individual. What they do is they give you a credit rating that determines number one, whether you're willing to pay back and number two whether you have the money to pay people back. And based on that, you get something called a credit score. People are familiar with that. Every time you try to go lease or buy a car or buy a house, or anything on credit they are going to run your credit. And it is going to tell them this is John Smith, this is so and so, and this is his credit rating. And based on that, people will decide whether to lend you money or not.


“Well, countries have credit ratings, too. And it's based on two things. Number one is your history of paying people back. And two, on your ability to pay them back in the future. And there are three major companies in the world that give credit ratings to countries, three major companies. And what those companies are saying right now is that we're looking at America and we are worried, we're worried about two things. They are worried about this debt limit issue and the fact that if the debt limit is not raised, they are going to downgrade us because we're going to miss payments on this, that or the other. They are worried about that. But they are a lot more worried about something else. And It's not our willingness to pay back. It's our ability to pay back people that lend money to the United States. ... Here's what they are saying in plain English. The debt limit is a problem but it is the least of your problems. Your bigger problem is the debt. And if all you do is pass an increase to the debt limit and it doesn't come with a serious, credible, substantial plan to deal with the debt, you're in big trouble.”




Senator Rubio: “You can either trust that future Congresses will do what virtually no Congress in the history of this nation has ever done, and that is control themselves -- and I say this because when Republicans were in charge, Democrats were in charge, they have never been able to control spending money. If you let politicians spend money that they don't have, they will spend it. I don't care who's in charge. That's what history teaches us. So we can either trust that somehow in the future, Congress won't do that, or we can put into law limits on their ability to do that. And that's why -- that's why I'm for things like a spending cap and a balanced budget amendment because I think if you don't have restrictions in place, it isn't going to happen.


“Almost every state in the country has a balanced budget amendment. I come from a state where there is a balanced budget amendment. I assure you I don't care who is in charge or how conservative they claim to be. If you don't have laws in place that keep politicians from spending money that they are borrowing, they will borrow the money and spend it. And history will back that up.


“The second issue is how do you generate more money for this controlled government? And that's the crux of the debate we're having here today. Some of my colleagues believe the way you do it is you raise taxes, especially on rich people. To some people, that may sound appealing. Here's the problem. It doesn't raise nearly enough money if you could even collect it. It doesn't raise nearly enough money. Now, from the only tax plans that I have seen put out there by the administration and some of my colleagues here on the other side of the aisle, it adds up to less than ten days' worth of deficit spending. We do know, however, that these increases in taxes could kill jobs.


“The other way you could generate more revenue for government -- and it's the way I think we should do it -- is you grow your economy. You get more people back to work, and so now more people are paying taxes. You get people that are working to make more money because their businesses are doing better, and so they are paying more taxes. And the government uses that money not to grow government, it uses that money to pay down its debt and control itself.”




Senator Rubio: “I have watched the President give press conferences, I have watched the President give speeches, but I have yet to see a plan from the President. And with all due respect to my colleagues in the other party here in the Senate, I haven't seen a plan from them either. They are the majority party. They control this chamber. They control the Senate. And I haven't seen a plan from them.


“A moment ago we heard this talk about – well we have to compromise. Well it's really hard to compromise when the other side doesn't have a plan. What do you compromise on? Where is your plan? You can't compromise if only one person is offering plans. There is only one plan that has been voted on by any House to deal with this issue, and it's the one we're on right now, Cut, Cap and Balance. I would submit that if you don't like Cut, Cap and Balance, if you don't think we need to cut spending, cap spending and balance our budget, then show us your alternative.


“Or maybe you do believe we need to cut, cap and balance, but you don't like the way this bill cuts spending, caps spending and balances spending. Fine. Offer your version of Cut, Cap and Balance. Let’s proceed to this bill. Let's get on this bill that the House has passed and if you don't like it, change it. You've got the votes here to do it. If you’ve got a better, bring this bill up and amend it. Put your ideas on it.


“But how could you ask for compromise? How could you ask the House-- how could you scold Republicans in the House for refusing to compromise if you don't have a plan of your own? How can you compromise if you don't have any ideas of your own? It's not a fair thing to say. And so I would urge the leadership of this chamber and the President of the United States to offer their ideas on paper. Put your ideas on paper and offer them so we can begin to work on this concept of compromise that you've offered. Because you can't compromise and you can't negotiate with people that will not offer a plan.


“Let's get -- why don't you vote to proceed to cut, cap and balance? Proceed to this bill so we could have a debate on this bill and so you could offer your ideas on this bill. This is the perfect opportunity to do it. Let's stop negotiating in the media and through press conferences and start doing it here on this floor, which is what people sent us here to do.”

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The definition of Small Businesses;


The legal definition of "small" varies by country and by industry. In the United States the Small Business Administration establishes small business size standards on an industry-by-industry basis, but generally specifies a small business as having fewer than 500 employees for manufacturing businesses and less than $7 million in annual receipts for most nonmanufacturing businesses.

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These negotiations do not have to become a class war battle.


Remarks by the President


James S. Brady Press Briefing Room


6:06 P.M. EDT


THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. I wanted to give you an update on the current situation around the debt ceiling. I just got a call about a half hour ago from Speaker Boehner who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations that we've been engaged in here at the White House for a big deficit reduction and debt reduction package. And I thought it would be useful for me to just give you some insight into where we were and why I think that we should have moved forward with a big deal.


Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs -- Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. We believed that it was possible to shape those in a way that preserved the integrity of the system, made them available for the next generation, and did not affect current beneficiaries in an adverse way.

In addition, what we sought was revenues that were actually less than what the Gang of Six signed off on. So you had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that they've been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes -- tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base.


So let me reiterate what we were offering. We were offering a deal that called for as much discretionary savings as the Gang of Six. We were calling for taxes that were less than what the Gang of Six had proposed. And we were calling for modifications to entitlement programs, would have saved just as much over the 10-year window. In other words, this was an extraordinarily fair deal. If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue.


But in the interest of being serious about deficit reduction, I was willing to take a lot of heat from my party -- and I spoke to Democratic leaders yesterday, and although they didn't sign off on a plan, they were willing to engage in serious negotiations, despite a lot of heat from a lot of interest groups around the country, in order to make sure that we actually dealt with this problem.


It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal. And, frankly, if you look at commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn't get done. In fact, there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it couldn't get done. Because the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the American people believe we should have a balanced approach.

Now, if you do not have any revenues, as the most recent Republican plan that's been put forward both in the House and the Senate proposed, if you have no revenues at all, what that means is more of a burden on seniors, more drastic cuts to education, more drastic cuts to research, a bigger burden on services that are going to middle-class families all across the country. And it essentially asks nothing of corporate jet owners, it asks nothing of oil and gas companies, it asks nothing from folks like me who've done extremely well and can afford to do a little bit more.


In other words, if you don't have revenues, the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle-class families. And the majority of Americans don't agree on that approach.

So here's what we're going to do. We have now run out of time. I told Speaker Boehner, I've told Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, I've told Harry Reid, and I've told Mitch McConnell I want them here at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. We have run out of time. And they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. And they can come up with any plans that they want and bring them up here and we will work on them. The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013.


And the reason for it is we've now seen how difficult it is to get any kind of deal done. The economy is already weakened. And the notion that five or six or eight months from now we'll be in a better position to try to solve this problem makes no sense.


In addition, if we can't come up with a serious plan for actual deficit and debt reduction, and all we're doing is extending the debt ceiling for another six, seven, eight months, then the probabilities of downgrading U.S. credit are increased, and that will be an additional cloud over the economy and make it more difficult for us and more difficult for businesses to create jobs that the American people so desperately need.


So they will come down here at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. I expect them to have an answer in terms of how they intend to get this thing done over the course of the next week. The American people expect action. I continue to believe that a package that is balanced and actually has serious debt and deficit reduction is the right way to go. And the American people I think are fed up with political posturing and an inability for politicians to take responsible action as opposed to dodge their responsibilities.


With that, I'm going to take some questions.




Q Thank you, Mr. President. You said you want the leaders back here at 11:00 a.m. to give you an answer about the path forward. What is your answer about the path forward? What path do you prefer, given what's just happened? And also, sir, quickly, what does this say about your relationship with Speaker Boehner?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, with respect to my relationship with Speaker Boehner, we've always had a cordial relationship. We had very intense negotiations -- I'm going to have my team brief you exactly on how these negotiations proceeded. Up until sometime early today when I couldn't get a phone call returned, my expectation was that Speaker Boehner was going to be willing to go to his caucus and ask them to do the tough thing but the right thing. I think it has proven difficult for Speaker Boehner to do that. I've been left at the altar now a couple of times.


And I think that one of the questions that the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is can they say yes to anything? Can they say yes to anything? I mean, keep in mind it's the Republican Party that has said that the single most important thing facing our country is deficits and debts. We've now put forward a package that would significantly cut deficits and debt. It would be the biggest debt reduction package that we've seen in a very long time.

And it's accomplished without raising individual tax rates. It's accomplished in a way that's compatible with the "no tax" pledge that a whole bunch of these folks signed on to -- because we were mindful that they had boxed themselves in and we tried to find a way for them to generate revenues in a way that did not put them in a bad spot.


And so the question is, what can you say yes to? Now, if their only answer is what they've presented, which is a package that would effectively require massive cuts to Social Security, to Medicare, to domestic spending, with no revenues whatsoever, not asking anything from the wealthiest in this country or corporations that have been making record profits -- if that's their only answer, then it's going to be pretty difficult for us to figure out where to go. Because the fact of the matter is that's what the American people are looking for, is some compromise, some willingness to put partisanship aside, some willingness to ignore talk radio or ignore activists in our respective bases, and do the right thing.


And to their credit, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, the Democratic leadership, they sure did not like the plan that we are proposing to Boehner, but they were at least willing to engage in a conversation because they understood how important it is for us to actually solve this problem. And so far I have not seen the capacity of the House Republicans in particular to make those tough decisions.


And so then the question becomes, where's the leadership? Or, alternatively, how serious are you actually about debt and deficit reduction? Or do you simply want it as a campaign ploy going into the next election?


Now, in terms of where we go next, here's the one thing that we've got to do. At minimum, we've got to increase the debt ceiling. At minimum. I think we need to do more than that. But as I've said before, Republican Leader McConnell in the Senate put forward a plan that said he's going to go ahead and give me the responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. That way folks in Congress can vote against it, but at least it gets done. I'm willing to take the responsibility. That's my job. So if they want to give me the responsibility to do it, I'm happy to do it.


But what we're not going to do is to continue to play games and string this along for another eight, nine months, and then have to go through this whole exercise all over again. That we're not going to do.


Jessica Yellin.


Q Standing here tonight, Mr. President, can you assure the American people that they will get their Social Security checks on August 3rd? And if not, who's to blame?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, when it comes to all the checks, not just Social Security -- veterans, people with disabilities -- about 70 million checks are sent out each month -- if we default then we're going to have to make adjustments. And I'm already consulting with Secretary Geithner in terms of what the consequences would be.


We should not even be in that kind of scenario. And if Congress -- and in particular, the House Republicans -- are not willing to make sure that we avoid default, then I think it's fair to say that they would have to take responsibility for whatever problems arise in those payments. Because, let me repeat, I'm not interested in finger-pointing and I'm not interested in blame, but I just want the facts to speak for themselves.


We have put forward a plan that is more generous to Republican concerns than a bipartisan plan that was supported by a number of Republican senators, including at least one that is in Republican leadership in the Senate. Now, I'll leave it up to the American people to make a determination as to how fair that is. And if the leadership cannot come to an agreement in terms of how we move forward, then I think they will hold all of us accountable.


But that shouldn't even be an option. That should not be an option. I'm getting letters from people who write me and say, at the end of every month I have to skip meals. Senior citizens on Social Security who are just hanging on by a thread. Folks who have severe disabilities who are desperate every single month to try to figure out how they're going to make ends meet. But it's not just those folks. You've got business contractors who are providing services to the federal government, who have to wonder are they going to be able to get paid and what does that do in terms of their payrolls.


You've got just a huge number of people who, in one way or another, interact with the federal government. And even if you don't, even if you're not a recipient of Social Security, even if you don't get veterans' benefits or disabilities, imagine what that does to the economy when suddenly 70 million checks are put at risk. I mean, if you're a business out there, that is not going to be good for economic growth. And that's the number one concern of the American people.


So we've got to get it done. It is not an option not to do it.


Q And your degree of confidence?


THE PRESIDENT: I am confident simply because I cannot believe that Congress would end up being that irresponsible that they would not send a package that avoids a self-inflicted wound to the economy at a time when things are so difficult.

Scott Horsley.


Q Mr. President, can you explain why you were offering a deal that was more generous than the Gang of Six, which you seemed to be embracing on Tuesday when you were here?


THE PRESIDENT: Because what had become apparent was that Speaker Boehner had some difficulty in his caucus. There are a group of his caucus that actually think default would be okay and have said that they would not vote for increasing the debt ceiling under any circumstances.


And so I understand how they get themselves stirred up and the sharp ideological lines that they've drawn. And ultimately, my responsibility is to make sure that we avoid extraordinary difficulties to American people and American businesses.


And so, unfortunately, when you're in these negotiations you don't get 100 percent of what you want. You may not even get 60 or 70 percent of what you want. But I was willing to try to persuade Democratic leadership as well as Democratic members of Congress that even a deal that is not as balanced as I think it should be is better than no deal at all. And I was willing to persuade Democrats that getting a handle on debt and deficit reduction is important to Democrats just as much as it's important to Republicans -- and, frankly, a lot of Democrats are persuaded by that.


As I said in the last press conference, if you're a progressive you should want to get our fiscal house in order, because once we do, it allows us to then have a serious conversation about the investments that we need to make -- like infrastructure, like rebuilding our roads and our bridges and airports, like investing more in college education, like making sure that we're focused on the kinds of research and technology that's going to help us win the future. It's a lot easier to do that when we've got our fiscal house in order. And that was an argument that I was willing to go out and make to a lot of skeptical Democrats, as you saw yesterday.


But ultimately, that's what we should expect from our leaders. If this was easy it would have already been done. And I think what a lot of the American people are so disappointed by is this sense that all the talk about responsibility, all the talk about the next generation, all the talk about making sacrifices, that when it comes to actually doing something difficult folks walk away.


Last point I'll make here. I mean, I've gone out of my way to say that both parties have to make compromises. I think this whole episode has indicated the degree to which at least a Democratic President has been willing to make some tough compromises. So when you guys go out there and write your stories, this is not a situation where somehow this was the usual food fight between Democrats and Republicans. A lot of Democrats stepped up in ways that were not advantageous politically. So we've shown ourselves willing to do the tough stuff on an issue that Republicans ran on.




Q Mr. President, there seems to be an extraordinary breakdown of trust involved here. And I wonder if you could address what we're hearing from Republicans, which is that there was a framework and a deal that was agreed with your chief of staff, with the Treasury Secretary, about a certain number of revenues, that the Republicans had agreed to that. And then after you brought that to your party and the discussion of that, the goal line was moved. Is this an example of where the goal line has moved and that that's what has led to this breakdown in trust?


THE PRESIDENT: Norah, what I'll do is we'll do a tick-tock, we'll go through all the paper. We'll walk you through this process. What this came down to was that there doesn't seem to be a capacity for them to say yes.


Now, what is absolutely true is we wanted more revenue than they had initially offered. But as you'll see, the spending cuts that we were prepared to engage in were at least as significant as the spending cuts that you've seen in a whole range of bipartisan proposals, and we had basically agreed within $10 billion, $20 billion -- we were within that range.

So that wasn't the reason this thing broke down. We were consistent in saying that it was going to be important for us to have at least enough revenue that we could protect current beneficiaries of Social Security, for example, or current beneficiaries of Medicare; that we weren't slashing Medicaid so sharply that states suddenly were going to have to throw people off the health care rolls. And we were consistent in that.

So I want to be clear. I'm not suggesting that we had an agreement that was signed, sealed and delivered. The parties were still apart as recently as yesterday. But when you look at the overall package, there's no changing of the goalposts here. There has been a consistency on our part in saying we're willing to make the tough cuts and we're willing to take on the heat for those difficult cuts, but that there's got to be some balance in the process. What I've said publicly is the same thing that I've said privately. And I've done that consistently throughout this process.


Now, with respect to this breakdown in trust, I think that we have operated aboveboard consistently. There haven't been any surprises. I think the challenge really has to do with the seeming inability, particularly in the House of Representatives, to arrive at any kind of position that compromises any of their ideological preferences. None.


And you've heard it. I mean, I'm not making this up. I think a number of members of that caucus have been very clear about that.


Q But they were willing to move on some revenues, apparently.


THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely. But what you saw -- and, again, you'll see this from the description of the deal -- essentially what they had agreed to give on is to get back to a baseline -- this starts getting technical, but there were about $800 billion in revenue that were going to be available. And what we said was when you've got a ratio of $4 in cuts for every $1 of revenue, that's pretty hard to stomach. And we think it's important to make sure that whatever additional revenue is in there covers the amount of money that's being taken out of entitlement programs. That's only fair.


If I'm saying to future recipients of Social Security or Medicare that you're going to have to make some adjustments, it's important that we're also willing to make some adjustments when it comes to corporate jet owners, or oil and gas producers, or people who are making millions or billions of dollars.


Wendell. Where's Wendell? Wendell is not here.


Lesley. Is Lesley here?


Q Yes, Mr. President.


THE PRESIDENT: There you are.


Q Thank you. You've said that your bottom line has been the big deal; that's not going to happen. Are you going to be willing to go back to just raising the debt ceiling still?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think I've been consistently saying here in this press room and everywhere that it is very important for us to raise the debt ceiling. We don't have an option on that. So if that's the best that Congress can do, then I will sign a extension of the debt ceiling that takes us through 2013.


I don't think that's enough. I think we should do more. That's the bare minimum; that's the floor of what the American people expect us to do. So I'd like to see us do more. And when I meet with the leadership tomorrow I'm going to say let's do more. But if they tell me that's the best they can do, then I will sign an extension that goes to 2013, and I will make the case to the American people that we've got to continue going out there and solving this problem. It's the right thing to do, and it's time to do it. We can't keep on putting it off.


Q You suggested that Speaker Boehner didn't return phone calls this afternoon. Could you elaborate a little bit on that?


THE PRESIDENT: You know, I'm less concerned about me having to wait for my phone call returned than I am the message that I received when I actually got the phone call.


I'm going to make this the last question. Go ahead.


Q Yes, the markets are closed right now, obviously. What assurances can you give people on Wall Street? Are you going to be reaching out to some people on Wall Street so that when Monday comes we don't see a reaction to the news that's developing right now?


THE PRESIDENT: I think it's very important that the leadership understands that Wall Street will be opening on Monday, and we better have some answers during the course of the next several days.


Q What can you say to people who are watching who work on Wall Street who might find this news a bit alarming, perhaps?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think what you should say -- well, here's what I'd say: I remain confident that we will get an extension of the debt limit and we will not default. I am confident of that.

I am less confident at this point that people are willing to step up to the plate and actually deal with the underlying problem of debt and deficits. That requires tough choices. That's what we were sent here to do.


I mean, the debt ceiling, that's a formality. Historically, this has not even been an issue. It's an unpleasant vote but it's been a routine vote that Congress does periodically. It was raised 18 times when Ronald Reagan was President. Ronald Reagan said default is not an option, that it would be hugely damaging to the prestige of the United States and we shouldn't even consider it. So that's the easy part. We should have done that six months ago.


The hard part is actually dealing with the underlying debt and deficits, and doing it in a way that's fair. That's all the American people are looking for -- some fairness. I can't tell you how many letters and emails I get, including from Republican voters, who say, look, we know that neither party is blameless when it comes to how this deft and deficit developed -- there's been a lot of blame to spread around -- but we sure hope you don't just balance the budget on the backs of seniors. We sure hope that we're not slashing our commitment to make sure kids can go to college. We sure hope that we're not suddenly throwing a bunch of poor kids off the Medicaid rolls so they can't get basic preventative services that keep them out of the emergency room. That's all they're looking for, is some fairness.


Now, what you're going to hear, I suspect, is, well, if you -- if the Senate is prepared to pass the cap, cut and balance bill, the Republican plan, then somehow we can solve this problem -- that's serious debt reduction. It turns out, actually, that the plan that Speaker Boehner and I were talking about was comparable in terms of deficit reduction. The difference was that we didn't put all the burden on the people who are least able to protect themselves, who don't have lobbyists in this town, who don't have lawyers working on the tax code for them -- working stiffs out there, ordinary folks who are struggling every day. And they know they're getting a raw deal, and they're mad at everybody about it. They're mad at Democrats and they're mad at Republicans, because they know somehow, no matter how hard they work, they don't seem to be able to keep up. And what they're looking for is somebody who's willing to look out for them. That's all they're looking for.


And for us not to be keeping those folks in mind every single day when we're up here, for us to be more worried about what some funder says, or some talk radio show host says, or what some columnist says, or what pledge we signed back when we were trying to run, or worrying about having a primary fight -- for us to be thinking in those terms instead of thinking about those folks is inexcusable.


I mean, the American people are just desperate for folks who are willing to put aside politics just for a minute and try to get some stuff done.


So when Norah asked or somebody else asked why was I willing to go along with a deal that wasn't optimal from my perspective, it was because even if I didn't think the deal was perfect, at least it would show that this place is serious, that we're willing to take on our responsibilities even when it's tough, that we're willing to step up even when the folks who helped get us elected may disagree.

And at some point, I think if you want to be a leader, then you got to lead.


Thank you very much.

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We do not need to raise taxes to solve this problem.


Congress of the United States

House of Representatives

July 22, 2011


Dear Colleague,


Our economy is not creating jobs, and the policies coming out of Washington are a big reason why. Because of Washington, we a have a tax code that is stifling job creation. Because of Washington, we have a debt crisis that is sowing uncertainty and sapping the confidence of small businesses. Because of Washington, our children are financing a government spending binge that is jeopardizing their future.


Since the moment I became Speaker, I've urged President Obama to lock arms with me and seize this moment to do something significant to address these challenges. I've urged him to partner with congressional Republicans to do something dramatic to change the fiscal trajectory of our country...something that will boost confidence in our economy, renew a measure of faith in our institutions of government, and help small businesses get back to creating jobs.


The House this week passed such a plan...the Cut, Cap & Balance Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support.


Along with Majority Leader Cantor, I have also engaged the president in a dialogue in recent days. The purpose of this dialogue was to see if we could identify a path forward that would implement the principles of Cut, Cap, & Balance in a manner that could secure bipartisan support and be signed into law.


During these discussions--as in my earlier discussions--it became evident that the White House is simply not serious about ending the spending binge that is destroying jobs and endangering our children's future.


A deal was never reached, and was never really close.


In the end, we couldn't connect. Not because of different personalities, but because of different visions of our country.


The president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised. As a former small businessman, I know tax increases destroy jobs.


The President is adamant that we cannot make fundamental changes to our entitlement programs. As the father of two daughters, I know these programs won't be there for their generation unless significant action is taken now.


For these reasons, I have decided to end discussions with the White House and begin conversations with the leaders of the Senate in an effort to find a path forward.


The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have not been participants in the conversations I and Leader Cantor have had with the White House; nor have Republican leaders of the Senate. But I believe that will serve the best interests of our country in the days ahead -- legislation that reflects the will of the American people, consistent with the principles of the Cut, Cap & Balance Act that passed the House with bipartisan support this week.


I wanted to alert you to these developments as soon as possible. Further will be coming as soon as it is available. It is an honor to serve with you. Together, we will do everything in our power to end the spending binge in Washington and help our economy get back to creating jobs.




John A. Boehner

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Your group HAS been playing the Class WarFare game from the get go.

It's to late and you can't go back and won't go back on that position.


No matter what you post on, you and the rest of your group has made it plainly clear on that one.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Law; Posted Today, 10:07 AM


These negotiations do not have to become a class war battle.

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Guest Fedup

This is class warfare. John Paulson, the biggest hedge fund crook of all, bet against the mortgage market one and made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero. The problem is that the public is not educated on trading and current tax law. They make it complicated, so you can't follow their trail.


Here is historical factoid you can look up. The average income tax rate for the top 1 percent in 1961 was 42.4 percent. By 2006 it was down to 17.17 percent. Add on payroll taxes, and the 2006 rate is 17.2 percent, the same as rounding the income tax figure alone. That means that for every dollar those at the top had after taxes in 1961, they had $27.70 in 2005. Without a doubt, the much lower tax rates at the top encourages the wealthy to look abroad to invest in cheap labor and a larger global middle class consumer pool.


Democrats are just as much to blame in this. Things could have changed if they made a big enough stink about it.


Money is constantly being stolen from Social Security Trust Fund and put in the the general fund and distributed by Treasury to Congress and the Federal Reserve. What they do not tell you is that it is not being put back. What they will never tell you is that a good portion of the funds are being distributed to banks by the Federal Reserve, which in turn are lent back to the Treasury at a nominal interest and backed by the tax payers.


Believe me the upper class knows exactly what they are doing and they have the power to make you not believe it.

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Guest Stewart Domhoff

Federal Dollars do get sucked from the people that need it most. I would argue that Republicans are more to blame. President Clinton gave this country a budget surplus. Republicans took that all away into their coffers.


Now it's all come down to the Boehner-Reid-Pelosi-McConnell to solve the debt crisis. Republicans just want to allow a short-term extension of the debt ceiling, so they can ignore creating jobs and push their agenda to end Medicare, protect tax breaks for special interests, ship American jobs overseas, and smear POTUS with statements that bear no resemblance to reality whatsoever.


Even Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, one of the longest-standing deficit hawks on Capitol Hill, advocated revenue raising as a way to break the stalemate over the budget deficit. How much taxpayer dollars are we going to waste.

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Guest greenzen

Everyone will be to blame if a deal is not done. A Boehner aide says that the Speaker was not invited to the 6pm meeting at the White House. So just Pelosi and Reid meeting with POTUS.


The dollar weakened to $1.4390 per euro as of 6:01 a.m. in Tokyo from $1.4360 in New York at the end of last week. The greenback fell to 78.35 yen, and touched a four-month low of 78.12 yen, from 78.54 on July 22. It fetched 81.17 Swiss centimes from 81.92 last week after reaching a record low 80.33 on July 18.


The U.S. government will have to delay paying social security recipients and military paychecks, so there will be enough money to keep U.S. bonds good.


Watch how the bond market reacts tomorrow.



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Your group HAS been playing the Class WarFare game from the get go.

It's to late and you can't go back and won't go back on that position.


No matter what you post on, you and the rest of your group has made it plainly clear on that one.


Your group has and wants to keep playing parlor games even though you state the opposite. American voters are becoming wise to your tricks.




Posted by Dan Pfeiffer


Despite warnings that a short-term extension could lead to a credit downgrade and higher interest rates resulting in a tax increase on every American, Republicans in Congress continue to push for a "my way or the highway" solution that could put our credit rating at risk and leave the cloud of uncertainty over the American people.

In June, House Majority Leader Cantor "Was Explicit That He Wants A Single Debt Ceiling Vote For This Congress - Not A Series Of Short-Term Extensions." Now House Republicans are arguing that we should adopt multiple short term solutions that would leave that cloud of uncertainty hanging over our economy continually for the next two years, if not longer.

Indeed, before they were for a short term solution, it turns out they were against it for the very same reasons President Obama believes it is the wrong approach. As recently as earlier this month, Republicans in Congress expressed concern about the impact of a short term solution.


Here are a few examples:


Rep. Cantor, 6/22/11: Cantor "Pushed Back Hard" On Notion of Short Term Debt Limit Increase. "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor pushed back hard Tuesday against Senate Republican suggestions of a scaled-back, short-term debt deal, saying it's 'crunch time' in White House budget talks and 'if we can't make the tough decisions now, why... would [we] be making those tough decisions later. I don't see how multiple votes on a debt ceiling increase can help get us to where we want to go,' the Virginia Republican told reporters. 'It is my preference that we do this thing one time.... Putting off tough decisions is not what people want in this town.'" [Politico, 6/22/11]


Rep. Cantor, 6/13/11: "Was Explicit That He Wants A Single Debt Ceiling Vote For This Congress - Not A Series Of Short-Term Extensions, As Some Have Suggested…'We Are Looking To Try And Achieve Real Reforms, Real Reduction In Spending, So That We Can Accomplish This And Hopefully Get To A Better Economic Outlook,' Cantor Said." "Tuesday's budget meeting is just one of three planned this week by Vice President Joe Biden. And returning from a weeklong recess, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor spoke bluntly of seeing a 'very sick economy' at home in Virginia and the need to address the debt issue before the financial markets 'make this decision for us.' 'We feel very strongly that one of the reasons why we continue to see an ailing economy is that people have very little confidence, have very little certainty in terms of where we are headed,' Cantor told reporters. He was explicit that he wants a single debt ceiling vote for this Congress - not a series of short-term extensions, as some have suggested. But much depends, too, he said, on the final deal between Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). 'We are looking to try and achieve real reforms, real reduction in spending, so that we can accomplish this and hopefully get to a better economic outlook,' Cantor said. 'Because if you don't, if you just check the box and raise the debt ceiling, I believe the markets take care of it for you. Interest rates will skyrocket, and there will be no way for us to see any return to growth anytime soon. We will have to raise taxes and the rest. No one wants that.'" [Politico.com, 6/13/11]


Rep. McCarthy, 6/24/11: "Shied Away From The Idea Of A Short-Term Solution." "McCarthy shied away from the idea of a short-term solution or a temporary debt ceiling increase in order to buy time on reaching an agreement on entitlement reforms." [The Hill, 6/24/11]


Rep. Camp, 6/21/11: "House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) also shot down a short-term increase. 'It doesn't give you certainty,' Camp said. 'Ideally you'd like to get that settled and not have it continually a hanging-over issue.'" [The Hill, 6/22/11]


Sen. McConnell, 6/22/11: "[sen.] McConnell Declined To Call For A Short-Term Increase In The Debt Ceiling When Reporters Asked Him About It Tuesday. 'We Are Still Hoping For A Very Large Package That Will Impress The Ratings Agencies, Impress Foreign Countries And Astonish The American People…" "McConnell declined to call for a short-term increase in the debt ceiling when reporters asked him about it Tuesday. 'We are still hoping for a very large package that will impress the ratings agencies, impress foreign countries and astonish the American people that we're actually going to come together here and take advantage of this terrific opportunity that's provided by the president's request of us to raise the debt ceiling,' McConnell said. 'Beyond that I'm not prepared to go, because there are all kind of moving parts underneath those general principles.' A GOP aide said McConnell's statement over the weekend was meant to show that Republicans would not accept a bad deal in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. The aide acknowledged that it could be difficult to even pass a short-term increase in the House and emphasized that McConnell wants big cuts and a long-term deal." [The Hill, 6/22/11]

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Guest Leibowitz

You might not like who's saying it but he's right. Disgusting behavior from the Republicans, that surely works against the interests of the American people.


The fact that Republicans are willing to plunge their own country into huge recession just because they do not like what Obama stands for - ie. he's a capitalist but not a rabid one so they do not like him, and he insists on spending taxes to help Americans rather than on corporate handouts - shows just where their priorities lie and how dangerously extreme and fanatical they are. Obama is not left-wing in the slightest, he just represents a reasoned alternative to neoconservatism, a more ethical form of capitalism, which makes him far more dangerous to these Friedmanite fanatics than a room full of Marxists.

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