White House

TEXT: Obama’s Remarks on Deficit Plan — As Delivered

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National Journal Staff
Sept. 19, 2011, 7:19 a.m.

Cla­ri­fic­a­tion: Be­low is the text of the pres­id­ent’s re­marks as de­livered, fol­lowed by a re­marks re­leased be­fore he spoke in the Rose Garden.

Here are the pres­id­ent’s re­marks as de­livered:

Good morn­ing, every­body. Please have a seat.

A week ago today, I sent Con­gress the Amer­ic­an Jobs Act. It’s a plan that will lead to new jobs for teach­ers, for con­struc­tion work­ers, for vet­er­ans, and for the un­em­ployed. It will cut taxes for every small busi­ness own­er and vir­tu­ally every work­ing man and wo­man in Amer­ica. And the pro­pos­als in this jobs bill are the kinds that have been sup­por­ted by Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans in the past. So there shouldn’t be any reas­on for Con­gress to drag its feet. They should pass it right away. I’m ready to sign a bill. I’ve got the pens all ready.

Now, as I said be­fore, Con­gress should pass this bill know­ing that every pro­pos­al is fully paid for. The Amer­ic­an Jobs Act will not add to our na­tion’s debt. And today, I’m re­leas­ing a plan that de­tails how to pay for the jobs bill while also pay­ing down our debt over time.

And this is im­port­ant, be­cause the health of our eco­nomy de­pends in part on what we do right now to cre­ate the con­di­tions where busi­nesses can hire and middle-class fam­il­ies can feel a ba­sic meas­ure of eco­nom­ic se­cur­ity. But in the long run, our prosper­ity also de­pends on our abil­ity to pay down the massive debt we’ve ac­cu­mu­lated over the past dec­ade in a way that al­lows us to meet our re­spons­ib­il­it­ies to each oth­er and to the fu­ture.

Dur­ing this past dec­ade, prof­lig­ate spend­ing in Wash­ing­ton, tax cuts for multi-mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires, the cost of two wars, and the re­ces­sion turned a re­cord sur­plus in­to a yawn­ing de­fi­cit, and that left us with a big pile of IOUs. If we don’t act, that bur­den will ul­ti­mately fall on our chil­dren’s shoulders. If we don’t act, the grow­ing debt will even­tu­ally crowd out everything else, pre­vent­ing us from in­vest­ing in things like edu­ca­tion, or sus­tain­ing pro­grams like Medi­care

So Wash­ing­ton has to live with­in its means. The gov­ern­ment has to do what fam­il­ies across this coun­try have been do­ing for years. We have to cut what we can’t af­ford to pay for what really mat­ters. We need to in­vest in what will pro­mote hir­ing and eco­nom­ic growth now while still provid­ing the con­fid­ence that will come with a plan that re­duces our de­fi­cits over the long-term.

These prin­ciples were at the heart of the de­fi­cit frame­work that I put for­ward in April. It was an ap­proach to shrink the de­fi­cit as a share of the eco­nomy, but not to do so so ab­ruptly with spend­ing cuts that would hamper growth or pre­vent us from help­ing small busi­nesses and middle-class fam­il­ies get back on their feet.

It was an ap­proach that said we need to go through the budget line-by-line look­ing for waste, without short­chan­ging edu­ca­tion and ba­sic sci­entif­ic re­search and road con­struc­tion, be­cause those things are es­sen­tial to our fu­ture. And it was an ap­proach that said we shouldn’t bal­ance the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class; that for us to solve this prob­lem, every­body, in­clud­ing the wealth­i­est Amer­ic­ans and biggest cor­por­a­tions, have to pay their fair share.

Now, dur­ing the debt ceil­ing de­bate, I had hoped to ne­go­ti­ate a com­prom­ise with the Speak­er of the House that ful­filled these prin­ciples and achieved the $4 tril­lion in de­fi­cit re­duc­tion that lead­ers in both parties have agreed we need — a grand bar­gain that would have strengthened our eco­nomy, in­stead of weakened it. Un­for­tu­nately, the Speak­er walked away from a bal­anced pack­age. What we agreed to in­stead wasn’t all that grand. But it was a start — roughly $1 tril­lion in cuts to do­mest­ic spend­ing and de­fense spend­ing.

Every­one knows we have to do more, and a spe­cial joint com­mit­tee of Con­gress is as­signed to find more de­fi­cit re­duc­tion. So, today, I’m lay­ing out a set of spe­cif­ic pro­pos­als to fin­ish what we star­ted this sum­mer — pro­pos­als that live up to the prin­ciples I’ve talked about from the be­gin­ning. It’s a plan that re­duces our debt by more than $4 tril­lion, and achieves these sav­ings in a way that is fair — by ask­ing every­body to do their part so that no one has to bear too much of the bur­den on their own.

All told, this plan cuts $2 in spend­ing for every dol­lar in new rev­en­ues. In ad­di­tion to the $1 tril­lion in spend­ing that we’ve already cut from the budget, our plan makes ad­di­tion­al spend­ing cuts that need to hap­pen if we’re to solve this prob­lem. We re­form ag­ri­cul­tur­al sub­sidies — sub­sidies that a lot of times pay large farms for crops that they don’t grow. We make mod­est ad­just­ments to fed­er­al re­tire­ment pro­grams. We re­duce by tens of bil­lions of dol­lars the tax money that goes to Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac. We also ask the largest fin­an­cial firms — com­pan­ies saved by tax dol­lars dur­ing the fin­an­cial crisis — to re­pay the Amer­ic­an people for every dime that we spent. And we save an ad­di­tion­al $1 tril­lion as we end the wars in Ir­aq and Afgh­anistan.

These sav­ings are not only coun­ted as part of our plan, but as part of the budget plan that nearly every Re­pub­lic­an on the House voted for.

Fi­nally, this plan in­cludes struc­tur­al re­forms to re­duce the cost of health care in pro­grams like Medi­care and Medi­caid. Keep in mind we’ve already in­cluded a num­ber of re­forms in the health care law, which will go a long way to­wards con­trolling these costs. But we’re go­ing to have to do a little more. This plan re­duces waste­ful sub­sidies and er­ro­neous pay­ments while chan­ging some in­cent­ives that of­ten lead to ex­cess­ive health care costs. It makes pre­scrip­tions more af­ford­able through faster ap­prov­al of gen­er­ic drugs. We’ll work with gov­ernors to make Medi­caid more ef­fi­cient and more ac­count­able. And we’ll change the way we pay for health care. In­stead of just pay­ing for pro­ced­ures, pro­viders will be paid more when they im­prove res­ults — and such steps will save money and im­prove care.

These changes are phased in slowly to strengthen Medi­care and Medi­caid over time. Be­cause while we do need to re­duce health care costs, I’m not go­ing to al­low that to be an ex­cuse for turn­ing Medi­care in­to a vouch­er pro­gram that leaves seni­ors at the mercy of the in­sur­ance in­dustry. And I’m not go­ing to stand for bal­an­cing the budget by deny­ing or re­du­cing health care for poor chil­dren or those with dis­ab­il­it­ies. So we will re­form Medi­care and Medi­caid, but we will not aban­don the fun­da­ment­al com­mit­ment that this coun­try has kept for gen­er­a­tions.

And by the way, that in­cludes our com­mit­ment to So­cial Se­cur­ity. I’ve said be­fore, So­cial Se­cur­ity is not the primary cause of our de­fi­cits, but it does face long-term chal­lenges as our coun­try grows older. And both parties are go­ing to need to work to­geth­er on a sep­ar­ate track to strengthen So­cial Se­cur­ity for our chil­dren and our grand­chil­dren.

So this is how we can re­duce spend­ing: by scour­ing the budget for every dime of waste and in­ef­fi­ciency, by re­form­ing gov­ern­ment spend­ing, and by mak­ing mod­est ad­just­ments to Medi­care and Medi­caid. But all these re­duc­tions in spend­ing, by them­selves, will not solve our fisc­al prob­lems. We can’t just cut our way out of this hole. It’s go­ing to take a bal­anced ap­proach. If we’re go­ing to make spend­ing cuts — many of which we wouldn’t make if we wer­en’t fa­cing such large budget de­fi­cits — then it’s only right that we ask every­one to pay their fair share

You know, last week, Speak­er of the House John Boehner gave a speech about the eco­nomy. And to his cred­it, he made the point that we can’t af­ford the kind of polit­ics that says it’s “my way or the high­way.” I was en­cour­aged by that. Here’s the prob­lem: In that same speech, he also came out against any plan to cut the de­fi­cit that in­cludes any ad­di­tion­al rev­en­ues what­so­ever. He said — I’m quot­ing him — there is “only one op­tion.” And that op­tion and only op­tion re­lies en­tirely on cuts. That means slash­ing edu­ca­tion, sur­ren­der­ing the re­search ne­ces­sary to keep Amer­ica’s tech­no­lo­gic­al edge in the 21st cen­tury, and al­low­ing our crit­ic­al pub­lic as­sets like high­ways and bridges and air­ports to get worse. It would cripple our com­pet­ive­ness and our abil­ity to win the jobs of the fu­ture. And it would also mean ask­ing sac­ri­fice of seni­ors and the middle class and the poor, while ask­ing noth­ing of the wealth­i­est Amer­ic­ans and biggest cor­por­a­tions

So the Speak­er says we can’t have it “my way or the high­way,” and then ba­sic­ally says, my way — or the high­way. (Laughter.) That’s not smart. It’s not right. If we’re go­ing to meet our re­spons­ib­il­it­ies, we have to do it to­geth­er.

Now, I’m pro­pos­ing real, ser­i­ous cuts in spend­ing. When you in­clude the $1 tril­lion in cuts I’ve already signed in­to law, these would be among the biggest cuts in spend­ing in our his­tory. But they’ve got to be part of a lar­ger plan that’s bal­anced —- a plan that asks the most for­tu­nate among us to pay their fair share, just like every­body else.

And that’s why this plan elim­in­ates tax loop­holes that primar­ily go to the wealth­i­est tax­pay­ers and biggest cor­por­a­tions —- tax breaks that small busi­nesses and middle-class fam­il­ies don’t get. And if tax re­form doesn’t get done, this plan asks the wealth­i­est Amer­ic­ans to go back to pay­ing the same rates that they paid dur­ing the 1990s, be­fore the Bush tax cuts.

I prom­ise it’s not be­cause any­body looks for­ward to the pro­spects of rais­ing taxes or pay­ing more taxes. I don’t. In fact, I’ve cut taxes for the middle class and for small busi­nesses, and through the Amer­ic­an Jobs Act, we’d cut taxes again to pro­mote hir­ing and put more money in­to the pock­ets of people. But we can’t af­ford these spe­cial lower rates for the wealthy -— rates, by the way, that were meant to be tem­por­ary. Back when these first — these tax cuts, back in 2001, 2003, were be­ing talked about, they were talked about tem­por­ary meas­ures. We can’t af­ford them when we’re run­ning these big de­fi­cits.

Now, I am also ready to work with Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans to re­form our en­tire tax code, to get rid of the dec­ades of ac­cu­mu­lated loop­holes, spe­cial in­terest carve-outs, and oth­er tax ex­pendit­ures that stack the deck against small busi­ness own­ers and or­din­ary fam­il­ies who can’t af­ford Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ists or fancy ac­count­ants. Our tax code is more than 10,000 pages long. If you stack up all the volumes, they’re al­most five feet tall. That means that how much you pay of­ten de­pends less on what you make and more on how well you can game the sys­tem, and that’s es­pe­cially true of the cor­por­ate tax code.

We’ve got one of the highest cor­por­ate tax rates in the world, but it’s riddled with ex­cep­tions and spe­cial in­terest loop­holes. So some com­pan­ies get out pay­ing a lot of taxes, while the rest of them end up hav­ing to foot the bill. And this makes our en­tire eco­nomy less com­pet­it­ive and our coun­try a less de­sir­able place to do busi­ness.

That has to change. Our tax code shouldn’t give an ad­vant­age to com­pan­ies with the best-con­nec­ted lob­by­ists. It should give an ad­vant­age to com­pan­ies that in­vest in the United States of Amer­ica and cre­ate jobs in the United States of Amer­ica. And we can lower the cor­por­ate rate if we get rid of all these spe­cial deals.

So I am ready, I am eager, to work with Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans to re­form the tax code to make it sim­pler, make it fairer, and make Amer­ica more com­pet­it­ive. But any re­form plan will have to raise rev­en­ue to help close our de­fi­cit. That has to be part of the for­mula. And any re­form should fol­low an­oth­er simple prin­ciple: Middle-class fam­il­ies shouldn’t pay high­er taxes than mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires. That’s pretty straight­for­ward. It’s hard to ar­gue against that. War­ren Buf­fett’s sec­ret­ary shouldn’t pay a high­er tax rate than War­ren Buf­fett. There is no jus­ti­fic­a­tion for it.

It is wrong that in the United States of Amer­ica, a teach­er or a nurse or a con­struc­tion work­er who earns $50,000 should pay high­er tax rates than some­body pulling in $50 mil­lion. Any­body who says we can’t change the tax code to cor­rect that, any­one who has signed some pledge to pro­tect every single tax loop­hole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to de­fend that un­fair­ness — ex­plain why some­body who’s mak­ing $50 mil­lion a year in the fin­an­cial mar­kets should be pay­ing 15 per­cent on their taxes, when a teach­er mak­ing $50,000 a year is pay­ing more than that — pay­ing a high­er rate. They ought to have to an­swer for it. And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of un­fair­ness in place, they should re­mem­ber, the last time I checked the only pledge that really mat­ters is the pledge we take to up­hold the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Now, we’re already hear­ing the usu­al de­fend­ers of these kinds of loop­holes say­ing this is just “class war­fare.” I re­ject the idea that ask­ing a hedge fund man­ager to pay the same tax rate as a plumb­er or a teach­er is class war­fare. I think it’s just the right the thing to do. I be­lieve the Amer­ic­an middle class, who’ve been pres­sured re­lent­lessly for dec­ades, be­lieve it’s time that they were fought for as hard as the lob­by­ists and some law­makers have fought to pro­tect spe­cial treat­ment for bil­lion­aires and big cor­por­a­tions.

Nobody wants to pun­ish suc­cess in Amer­ica. What’s great about this coun­try is our be­lief that any­one can make it and every­body should be able to try -— the idea that any one of us can open a busi­ness or have an idea and make us mil­lion­aires or bil­lion­aires. This is the land of op­por­tun­ity. That’s great. All I’m say­ing is that those who have done well, in­clud­ing me, should pay our fair share in taxes to con­trib­ute to the na­tion that made our suc­cess pos­sible. We shouldn’t get a bet­ter deal than or­din­ary fam­il­ies get. And I think most wealthy Amer­ic­ans would agree if they knew this would help us grow the eco­nomy and deal with the debt that threatens our fu­ture.

It comes down to this: We have to pri­or­it­ize. Both parties agree that we need to re­duce the de­fi­cit by the same amount — by $4 tril­lion. So what choices are we go­ing to make to reach that goal? Either we ask the wealth­i­est Amer­ic­ans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re go­ing to have to ask seni­ors to pay more for Medi­care. We can’t af­ford to do both.

Either we gut edu­ca­tion and med­ic­al re­search, or we’ve got to re­form the tax code so that the most prof­it­able cor­por­a­tions have to give up tax loop­holes that oth­er com­pan­ies don’t get. We can’t af­ford to do both.

This is not class war­fare. It’s math. (Laughter.) The money is go­ing to have to come from some­place. And if we’re not will­ing to ask those who’ve done ex­traordin­ar­ily well to help Amer­ica close the de­fi­cit and we are try­ing to reach that same tar­get of $4 tril­lion, then the lo­gic, the math says every­body else has to do a whole lot more: We’ve got to put the en­tire bur­den on the middle class and the poor. We’ve got to scale back on the in­vest­ments that have al­ways helped our eco­nomy grow. We’ve got to settle for second-rate roads and second-rate bridges and second-rate air­ports, and schools that are crum­bling.

That’s un­ac­cept­able to me. That’s un­ac­cept­able to the Amer­ic­an people. And it will not hap­pen on my watch. I will not sup­port — I will not sup­port — any plan that puts all the bur­den for clos­ing our de­fi­cit on or­din­ary Amer­ic­ans. And I will veto any bill that changes be­ne­fits for those who rely on Medi­care but does not raise ser­i­ous rev­en­ues by ask­ing the wealth­i­est Amer­ic­ans or biggest cor­por­a­tions to pay their fair share. We are not go­ing to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vul­ner­able.

None of the changes I’m pro­pos­ing are easy or polit­ic­ally con­veni­ent. It’s al­ways more pop­u­lar to prom­ise the moon and leave the bill for after the next elec­tion or the elec­tion after that. That’s been true since our found­ing. George Wash­ing­ton grappled with this prob­lem. He said, “To­wards the pay­ment of debts, there must be rev­en­ue; that to have rev­en­ue there must be taxes; [and] no taxes can be de­vised which are not more or less in­con­veni­ent and un­pleas­ant.” He un­der­stood that deal­ing with the debt is — these are his words — “al­ways a choice of dif­fi­culties.” But he also knew that pub­lic ser­vants wer­en’t elec­ted to do what was easy; they wer­en’t elec­ted to do what was polit­ic­ally ad­vant­age­ous. It’s our re­spons­ib­il­ity to put coun­try be­fore party. It’s our re­spons­ib­il­ity to do what’s right for the fu­ture.

And that’s what this de­bate is about. It’s not about num­bers on a ledger; it’s not about fig­ures on a spread­sheet. It’s about the eco­nom­ic fu­ture of this coun­try, and it’s about wheth­er we will do what it takes to cre­ate jobs and growth and op­por­tun­ity while fa­cing up to the leg­acy of debt that threatens everything we’ve built over gen­er­a­tions.

And it’s also about fair­ness. It’s about wheth­er we are, in fact, in this to­geth­er, and we’re look­ing out for one an­oth­er. We know what’s right. It’s time to do what’s right.

Thank you very much.

Here’s the text of Pres­id­ent Obama’s let­ter to from Monday morn­ing:

This con­tin­ues to be a time of chal­lenge for our coun­try. We face an eco­nom­ic crisis that has left mil­lions of our neigh­bors job­less, and a polit­ic­al crisis that has made things worse. Mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans are look­ing for work. Across our coun­try, fam­il­ies are do­ing their best just to scrape by — giv­ing up nights out with the fam­ily to save on gas or make the mort­gage, or post­pon­ing re­tire­ment to send a child to col­lege.

These men and wo­men grew up with faith in an Amer­ica where hard work and re­spons­ib­il­ity paid off. They be­lieved in a coun­try where every­one gets a fair shake and does their fair share; they be­lieved that if you worked hard and played by the rules, you would be re­war­ded with a de­cent salary and good be­ne­fits. If you did the right thing, you could make it in Amer­ica.

For dec­ades now, Amer­ic­ans have watched that com­pact erode. They have seen the decks too of­ten stacked against them. And they know that Wash­ing­ton has not al­ways put their in­terests first. Too of­ten, our Na­tion’s cap­it­al has been con­sumed by par­tis­an­ship. Too of­ten, the needs of spe­cial in­terests or polit­ics have been put ahead of what is best for the coun­try.

That is what must change. The Amer­ic­an people work hard to meet their re­spons­ib­il­it­ies. Now, as the Na­tion faces an eco­nomy that is not grow­ing and cre­at­ing jobs as it should, so must its lead­ers. While the con­tin­ued re­cov­ery of our eco­nomy will be driv­en by the busi­nesses and work­ers across our land, poli­cy­makers in Wash­ing­ton can take steps to help Amer­ic­ans right now and set the most fa­vor­able con­di­tions we can for growth and job cre­ation for years to come. We can live with­in our means and in­vest for the fu­ture.

That is why last week I presen­ted to the Con­gress and the Amer­ic­an people the Amer­ic­an Jobs Act, to provide a jolt to the eco­nomy and give com­pan­ies con­fid­ence that if they in­vest and hire, there will be cus­tom­ers for their products and ser­vices. This jobs bill will put more people back to work and more money in the pock­ets of those who are work­ing. It will cre­ate more jobs for con­struc­tion work­ers, more jobs for teach­ers, more jobs for vet­er­ans, and more jobs for the long-term un­em­ployed. It will provide a tax break for com­pan­ies that hire new work­ers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every work­ing Amer­ic­an and every small busi­ness. It will cre­ate jobs for people to re­build our aging in­fra­struc­ture and re­pair and mod­ern­ize at least 35,000 schools. Moreover, the pro­pos­als in the Amer­ic­an Jobs Act are the kind of pro­pos­als that have been sup­por­ted by Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans in the past.

I am com­mit­ted to pay­ing for this jobs bill. The Budget Con­trol Act that I signed in­to law last month will cut an­nu­al Gov­ern­ment spend­ing by about $1 tril­lion over the next 10 years. It also charges the Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee on De­fi­cit Re­duc­tion with find­ing an ad­di­tion­al $1.5 tril­lion in sav­ings. As part of this jobs bill, I am ask­ing the Con­gress to in­crease that amount so that it cov­ers the full cost of the Amer­ic­an Jobs Act. In ad­di­tion, I be­lieve that the Con­gress should seize the op­por­tun­ity that this new Com­mit­tee presents and do much more so that we can put the coun­try on a sus­tain­able fisc­al path, which is crit­ic­al for our long-term eco­nom­ic growth and com­pet­it­ive­ness.

For this reas­on, I am send­ing to the Con­gress this de­tailed plan to pay for this jobs bill and real­ize more than $3 tril­lion in net de­fi­cit re­duc­tion over the next 10 years. Com­bined with the ap­prox­im­ately $1 tril­lion in sav­ings from the first part of the Budget Con­trol Act, this would gen­er­ate more than $4 tril­lion in de­fi­cit re­duc­tion over the next dec­ade. This would bring the Na­tion to the point where cur­rent spend­ing is no longer adding to our debt and where our debt is no longer in­creas­ing as a share of our eco­nomy — an im­port­ant mile­stone on the way to restor­ing fisc­al dis­cip­line and mov­ing us to­ward bal­ance.

This plan is a bal­anced one that asks every­one to do their part. It in­cludes nearly $580 bil­lion in cuts and re­forms to man­dat­ory pro­grams of which $320 bil­lion is sav­ings from Fed­er­al health pro­grams such as Medi­care and Medi­caid. These changes are ne­ces­sary to main­tain the prom­ise of Medi­care as we know it.

The plan also real­izes more than $1 tril­lion in sav­ings over the next 10 years from our draw­downs in Afgh­anistan and Ir­aq. And the plan calls for the Con­gress to un­der­take com­pre­hens­ive tax re­form that lowers tax rates, closes loop­holes, boosts job cre­ation here at home, cuts the de­fi­cit by $1.5 tril­lion, and ob­serves the Buf­fett Rule — that people mak­ing more than $1 mil­lion a year should not pay a smal­ler share of their in­come in taxes than middle-class fam­il­ies pay.

To as­sist the Com­mit­tee in its work, I also in­cluded spe­cif­ic tax loop­hole closers and meas­ures to broaden the tax base. To­geth­er with the ex­pir­a­tion of the high-in­come tax cuts from 2001 and 2003, these meas­ures would be more than enough to reach this $1.5 tril­lion tar­get. They in­clude cut­ting tax pref­er­ences for high-in­come house­holds, elim­in­at­ing tax breaks for oil and gas com­pan­ies, clos­ing the car­ried in­terest loop­hole for in­vest­ment fund man­agers, and elim­in­at­ing be­ne­fits for those who use cor­por­ate jets.

In sum, the plan I am send­ing to the Con­gress today is a blue­print for how we can re­duce this de­fi­cit, pay down our debt, and pay for the Amer­ic­an Jobs Act in the pro­cess. I have little doubt that some of these pro­pos­als will not be pop­u­lar with those who be­ne­fit from these af­fected pro­grams. And some of these changes are ones that we would not make if it were not for our fisc­al situ­ation. But we are all in this to­geth­er, and all of us must con­trib­ute to get­ting our eco­nomy mov­ing again and on a firm fisc­al foot­ing.

After all, we are all con­nec­ted. No single in­di­vidu­al built Amer­ica on his or her own. We built it to­geth­er. We have been, and al­ways will be, “one Na­tion, un­der God, in­di­vis­ible, with liberty and justice for all.” We have al­ways been a people with re­spons­ib­il­it­ies to ourselves and with re­spons­ib­il­it­ies to one an­oth­er. This means that as Amer­ic­ans work hard to find a job, keep their busi­nesses afloat and grow, and provide for their kids, their rep­res­ent­at­ives in Wash­ing­ton must meet their re­spons­ib­il­it­ies and make the tough choices needed to get our eco­nomy back on track.

This plan lives up to a simple idea: as a Na­tion, we can live with­in our means while still mak­ing the in­vest­ments we need to prosper. It fol­lows a bal­anced ap­proach: ask­ing every­one to do their part, so no one has to bear all the bur­den. And it says that every­one — in­clud­ing mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires — has to pay their fair share.

These may be tough times for our coun­try, but I have a deep faith in the Amer­ic­an spir­it, and we are tough­er than the times we live in and big­ger than the polit­ics we have re­cently seen. If we all put par­tis­an­ship aside and roll up our sleeves, I have no doubt that we can meet the chal­lenges of the mo­ment and show the world once again why the United States of Amer­ica re­mains the greatest coun­try on Earth.

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