Obama urges 'balanced approach' on debt

Feb. 16, 2013 at 6:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday renewed his call for a "balanced approach" to reducing the federal debt, saying "we can't just cut our way to prosperity."

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president reminded listeners his plan for "reigniting the true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class," involves bringing good jobs to America, making sure U.S. workers are skilled and making sure "hard work leads to a decent living."

"I believe all that starts by making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing," he said. "After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. What we need to do now is simple. We need to accelerate that trend."

Obama once again called for establishing "manufacturing hubs across the country that will transform hard-hit regions into global centers of high-tech jobs and manufacturing."

The president called once again for tax code reform, to reward businesses that create jobs in the United States and do away with tax breaks for companies that "ship jobs overseas."

"And we need to invest in the research and technology that will allow us to harness more of our own energy and put more people back to work repairing our crumbling roads and bridges," he said.

Obama repeated his call for a higher minimum wage.

"These steps will help grow our economy and rebuild a rising, thriving middle class," the president said. "And we can do it while shrinking our deficits. We don't have to choose between the two -- we just have to make smart choices."

Obama said Democrats and Republicans in Washington have reduced the federal deficit by more than $2.5 trillion during the past two years, "which puts us more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances."

He argued against further cuts in education and job training or Medicare and Social Security benefits.

"That won't work," the president said. "We can't just cut our way to prosperity.

"Instead, I've proposed a balanced approach; one that makes responsible reforms to bring down the cost of health care and saves hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected," he said. "And we should finally pursue bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit."

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