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Monday, January 14, 2013

'I’m Open to Making Modest Adjustments to Programs Like Medicare'

President Obama today in his press conference:

... Now, the other congressionally imposed deadline coming up is the so-called debt ceiling... So I want to be clear about this: The debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending. Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to.
These are bills that have already been racked up, and we need to pay them. ... So ... Republicans in Congress have two choices here: They can act responsibly and pay America’s bills or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis.
But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.
And they’d better choose quickly because time is running short. The last time Republicans in Congress even flirted with this idea, our triple-A credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history, our businesses created the fewest jobs of any month in nearly the past three years, and ironically, the whole fiasco actually added to the deficit. ...
What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people; the threat that unless we get our way, unless you gut Medicare or Medicaid or, you know, otherwise slash things that the American people don’t believe should be slashed, that we’re going to threaten to wreck the entire economy. ... That’s not how we’re going to do it this time. ...
Q: ...I want to come back to the debt ceiling, because in the summer of 2011, you said that you wouldn’t negotiate on the debt ceiling, and you did. Last year you said that you wouldn’t extend any of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and you did. So as you say now that you’re not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling this year, why should House Republicans take that seriously and think that if we get to the one-minute-to-midnight scenario that you’re not going to back down? ...
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, no, look, what I’ve said is is that I’m happy to have a conversation about deficit reduction.
Q: So you technically are willing to negotiate.

He also says:

I’m open to making modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to protect them for future generations.

The old we'll save Medicare and Social Security from benefit cuts by cutting benefits. I wonder how he defines "modest"?

    Posted by on Monday, January 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (121)


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