WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday federal spending can be cut further but "cuts must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code."
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said legislation enacted in Congress this week "raised taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans in a bipartisan way, while preventing a middle-class tax hike that could have thrown our economy back into recession. "
He said the law maintains income tax rates for 98 percent of individuals and 97 percent of small businesses and preserves tax credits for families with small children, as well as for research, investment and clean energy job creation by companies. In addition, benefits are being extended for 2 million long-term unemployed people.
Obama said more needs to be done to create jobs and pay down the federal debt, but he said "messy brinksmanship in Congress" over the just-completed tax deal "made business owners more uncertain and consumers less confident."
Noting he signed into law $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction in 2011, and calling this week's legislation "one of the largest deficit reduction bills passed by Congress in over a decade," the president said he believes "we can find more places to cut spending without shortchanging things like education, job training, research and technology all [of] which are critical to our prosperity in a 21st century economy."
"But spending cuts must be balanced with more reforms to our tax code," he said. "The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn't be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren't available to most Americans."
Obama repeated his assertion this week that he "will not compromise" on raising the federal borrowing limit to pay for spending the government has already committed to.
"If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic," he said.