Obama calls GOP Medicare, spending plan 'radical'
Wednesday, April 20, 2022 11:28 PM

Related Stories



(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By JULIE PACE

PALO ALTO, Calif. - President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that congressional Republicans are pushing a radical plan to trim Medicare and Medicaid, ramping up the rhetoric before a friendly Facebook crowd at the headquarters of the popular social networking site.

Still, as Obama and Congress approach crucial decisions on spending and the national debt the president said he thinks a bipartisan accord is possible.

"I think it's fair to say that their vision is radical," Obama told a town hall gathering that included questions posed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and sent in by site users.

"I don't think it's particularly courageous," he said of the GOP plan to convert Medicare to a voucher program and make big cuts to the federal-state Medicaid program for the poor.

"Nothing is easier than solving a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless, or don't have lobbyists, or don't have clout," Obama said.

Republicans in Congress argue strenuously that Obama's deficit prescription would accomplish far too little and relies on economically damaging tax increases.

The president said he would raise $1 trillion by returning income tax rates for high earners to the levels from Bill Clinton's administration, when the economy prospered. That would force wealthy people like himself and Zuckerberg to pay "a little more in taxes," he said.

"I'm cool with that," Zuckerberg replied, as his employees laughed and applauded.

Other Democrats have called the GOP plan "radical," but the president generally uses less pungent language. Despite the sharp tone on Wednesday, he said he believes his administration and Congress can agree on long-range plans to cut deficits by about $4 trillion over 10 years.

Republican lawmakers have used similar rhetoric in the past to describe Obama's own spending proposals. In March, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Obama's refusal to accept GOP spending cuts would lead to a "radical" decrease in benefits for seniors.

Obama made his comments in a cozy environment - one with 19 million friends, in fact. He told Facebook employees and others watching online the nation must invest vigorously in education, clean energy and research that are vital to future jobs and a strong economy.

Obama's own White House Facebook page is among the most popular anywhere. Some 19 million network users have electronically "liked" it.

Making the case for his deficit-cutting plans, Obama said that one way to trim health care costs could involve doctors sharing medical information on Facebook. Health care is one of the last major industries to rely heavily on paper records, he said, "because a large chunk of our provider system is not automated."

Obama's 2008 campaign used Facebook and other social networks to reach voters, volunteers and donors, especially among young adults. Such outlets will play even bigger roles in the 2012 campaign that's already under way.

Obama, beginning a three-day Western tour pitching his budget plans and raising re-election cash, said trimming $4 trillion from the nation's deficits sounds like a lot but can be done.

He will hold another session Thursday in Reno, Nev., with his message that his approach is more balanced and less painful than the rival House Republican plan.

Obama favors tax hikes on wealthy Americans, which GOP lawmakers oppose. He called for further cuts in the military and other agencies.

The Republican plan would cut tax rates for corporations and high earners, but also close some tax loopholes. It would achieve nearly $6 trillion in savings from spending cuts and overhauling Medicare and Medicaid.

To the average viewer, there was little to distinguish Obama's Facebook town hall from previous question-and-answer sessions he has held with voters, other than the fact that the event could be viewed live by Facebook users.

Zuckerberg was the moderator, asking the first question himself, then calling on Facebook employees in the audience and reading the president questions submitted online.

The company's youthful founder was a friendly referee, praising Obama's education policies. Obama returned the favor, applauding Zuckerberg for the $100 million donation he made to help improve schools in Newark, N.J.

Asked by an employee what he would do differently as president, Obama looked forward, not back. He said he wants to control the debt and deficit, overhaul the immigration system and make the country less dependent on foreign oil by developing domestic and alternative sources of fuel.

He said the legislative battle over the 2010 health care law was long; it consumed more than a year. But Obama said he wasn't sure it could have been done more quickly because the health care system is big and complicated.

The president acknowledged the pain that rising gasoline prices are causing.

"These gas prices are killing you right now," he said, "and so this is the reason why I've said that it is so important for us to invest in new approaches to energy."

Addressing immigration, Obama cast the issue in economic terms and said the long tradition of people coming from other countries with their ideas has helped make America great. He referred to Andy Grove, the Hungarian-born founder of computer chip maker Intel Corp., and said he wants more skilled immigrants like Grove to come and start businesses in the U.S., not in China or in France.

"If we've got smart people who want to come here and start businesses ... why wouldn't we want them to stay," he said. "Why would we want to send them someplace else? Those are potential job creators. Those are job generators."

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

 

Sponsors

Symbol :

Advertisement

Market news:

  • Tornado cleanup starts quickly in St. Louis area Apr 23, 2022 04:34 PM

    • ST. LOUIS - Debris from splintered homes covered the ground in neighborhoods around St. Louis, while topped trees and overturned cars littered lawns and driveways.
    • Amid such devastation, officials appeared awed that a tornado that roared through the area Friday night, striking the airport and several nearby suburbs, hadn't seriously injured anyone.
    • For that much damage to be done and no one lost their life, it is simply a blessing," said Charlie Dooley, St. Louis County's executive.
      • FAA struggles with fatigued aviation worker issue Apr 23, 2022 04:18 PM

        • WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration told a government watchdog nearly two years ago that it was prepared to let air traffic controllers sleep or rest during work shifts when they weren't directing aircraft.
        • When the FAA proposed new limits on airline pilots' work schedules to prevent fatigue last year, it rejected its own research recommending that pilots be allowed to take naps during the cruise phase of flight - typically most of a flight when the plane is neither climbing nor descending - so that they are refreshed and alert during landings.
        • And an FAA committee that has been working for several years on new work rules to prevent fatigue among night-shift airline mechanics has made little progress, said one committee member.
          • Your Phone, Yourself -- when is tracking too much? Apr 23, 2022 04:06 PM

            • NY152-0423111124, NY151-1017100800, NY150-1017100800, NY153-1205101641, NY154-1118102119, NY155-1219101401
            • 04-23-2011 15:19 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - If you're worried about privacy, you can turn off the function on your smartphone that tracks where you go.
            • The debate over digital privacy flamed higher this week with news that Apple Inc.'s popular iPhones and iPads store users' GPS coordinates for a year or more.
              • Lightning convincingly stay alive, beat Pens 8-2 Apr 23, 2022 03:24 PM

                • PITTSBURGH - Steven Stamkos scored the first two playoff goals of his NHL career and the Tampa Bay Lightning emphatically avoided elimination with a convincing 8-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in Game 5 of the first-round series.
                • The Penguins, who lead the series 3-2, will get a second chance to advance Monday night at Tampa Bay.
                • Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina both scored their first two goals of the series, captain Vincent Lecavalier added his second of the series, and Martin St. Louis had two assists for the Lightning, who set a franchise record for goals in a road playoff game and handed the Penguins their worst home playoff loss.
                  • Yemeni president agrees to step down in 30 days Apr 23, 2022 03:24 PM

                    • SANAA, Yemen - Yemen's embattled president agreed Saturday to a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators to step down within 30 days and hand power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a major about-face for the autocratic leader who has ruled for 32 years.
                    • The protest movement demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh's immediate departure said Saturday that it also accepted the latest draft of the deal but with reservations.
                    • A deadly crackdown by government forces and Saleh supporters has killed more than 130 people and prompted key allies to abandon the president and join the protesters.

                      More news


Advertisement

    Recent Estimates

AnalystFirm NameSymbolEPS Estimate
ja teremtipTTG Investments GE$0.28
XXXXXXXXXX LVS$0.44
XXXXXXXXXX ISRG$2.49
XXXXXXXXXX AAPL$5.34
markinsurace guru CINF$0.36
XXXXXXXXXX AAPL$5.34
XXXXXXXXXX ISRG$2.49
JakeXXXXX PKD$0.06
XXXXXXXXXX CRTP$0.08
XXXXXXXXXX AA$0.27