For a decade, we have been spending more money than we take in. Last time the budget was balanced was under a Democratic President, Bill Clinton. (Applause.) And a series of decisions were made — whether it was cutting taxes, or engaging in two wars, or a prescription drug benefit for seniors — that weren’t paid for, and then a financial crisis on top of that, Recovery Act to try to pull us out of a Great Depression — all those things contributed to this accumulated debt.It's all Bush's fault!
And regardless of what you feel about the particular policies — some of you may have supported the wars or opposed the wars; some of you may have agreed with the Recovery Act; some of you may be opposed — regardless of your views on these various actions that were taken, the fact is they all cost money. And the result is that there’s simply too much debt on America’s credit card.Did you know that America accumulated more debt under my first 19 months of Presidency than all Presidents from Washington through Reagan combined?
Neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this problem, but both parties have a responsibility to solve it. (Applause.) If we don’t solve it, every American will suffer. Businesses will be less likely to invest and hire in America. Ask your head of Council on Jobs and Competitiveness how is that working out for the American people.Interest rates will rise for people who need money to buy a home or a car, or go to college. We won’t have enough money to invest in things like education-did you have the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal in mind when you phrased this?and clean energy-does that include bankrupting the coal industry?, or protect important programs like Medicare, because we’ll be paying more and more interest on this national debt and that money just flows overseas-you learned that form your buddy Jeffrey Immelt, didn't you?-instead of being spent here on the things that we need-like cash for clunkers or shovel not so ready projects
Now, the one thing we can’t do — cannot do — is decide that we are not going to pay the bills the previous congresses have already racked up. So that’s what this whole issue of raising the debt ceiling is all about. Basically, there’s some people out there who argue we’re not going to raise the debt ceiling any more. And the problem is, effectively what that’s saying is we’re not going to pay some of our bills. Well, the United States of America does not run out without paying the tab. We pay our bills. (Applause.) We meet our obligations. (Applause.) We have never defaulted on our debt. We’re not going to do it now.By taxing the rich.
But even if we raise the debt ceiling, this debate shouldn’t just be about avoiding some kind of crisis, particularly a crisis manufactured in Washington.We understand you are not part of it. You were born in Hawaii. This is a rare opportunity for both parties to come together and choose a path where we stop putting so much debt on our credit card. We start paying it down a little bit. And that’s what we’ve been trying to do.
So, for my part, I’ve already said that I’m willing to cut a historic amount of government spending in order to reduce the deficit-Did you start with the over $37,000,000 in salaries paid to your White House aids? Leading by example,you know. I’m willing to cut spending on domestic programs, taking them to the lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower. I’m willing to cut defense spending at the Pentagon by hundreds of billions of dollars. (Applause.) You forgot NASA. I’m willing to take on the rising costs of health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, so that these programs will be there for the next generation, for folks — for a population generally that’s getting older and living longer.Not so sure how it will that go if you get reelected. We’ve got to make sure that these programs, which are the crown jewels of our social safety net, that — sort of mixed metaphors there — (laughter) — that those are there for the future.
And some of these cuts would just eliminate wasteful spending —don't you dare touching Harry's Cowboy Poetry Festival!-weapons we don’t need, fraud and abuse in our health care system. But I want to be honest. I’ve agreed to also target some programs that I actually think are worthwhile. They’re cuts that some people in my own party aren’t too happy about. And, frankly, I wouldn’t make them if money wasn’t so tight. But it’s just like a family. If you’ve got to tighten your belts, you make some choices.
Now, here’s the thing, though — and this is what the argument is about — we can’t just close our deficit with spending cuts alone, because if we take that route it means that seniors would have to pay a lot more for Medicare, or students would have to pay a lot more for student loans. It means that laid-off workers might not be able to count on temporary assistance or training to help them get a new job. It means we’d have to make devastating cuts in education-did you mean less Atlanta Public Schools Graduates?- and medical research and clean energy research-does that go hand in hand with bankrupting the coal industry?- just at a time when gas prices are killing people at the pump-it is Bush's Fault!How about removing the oil drilling ban instead investing in Brazilian drills?
So if we only did it with cuts, if we did not get any revenue to help close this gap between how much money is coming in and how much money is going out, then a lot of ordinary people would be hurt and the country as a whole would be hurt. And that doesn’t make any sense. It’s not fair-I'll raise taxes to make it fair, because raising taxes is not about revenue, it's about fairness.
And it’s why I’ve said if we’re going to reduce our deficit, then the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations should do their part as well-Did you include your friends from GE here?. (Applause.) Before we stop funding clean energy research, let’s ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up the tax breaks-You gave the corporate jet owners the tax break through the Stimulus Package, remember?-that other companies don’t get. I mean, these are special tax breaks. (Applause.) Before we ask college students to pay more for their education, let’s ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes that are lower on their rates than their secretaries. (Applause.) Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, let’s ask people like me to give up tax breaks that we don’t need and we weren’t even asking for-So, all the money we earn belongs to the Imperial Government and we need to be happy to keep some of it for ourselves. Thanks for clarifying that, Mr.President! (Applause.)
Look, I want everybody in America to do well. I want everybody to have a chance to become a millionaire-so I can tax them to death afterwards. I think the free market system is the greatest wealth generator we’ve ever known. This isn’t about punishing wealth.Really? This is about asking people who have benefited most over the last decade to share in the sacrifice.You think some benefit, take advantage of the system and exploit the poor. I think those who became successful in the last decade could share some of their 12 to 18 hours work day sacrifice with the leaches they have been keeping on welfare. (Applause.) I think these patriotic Americans are willing to pitch in — if they’re asked — because they know that middle-class families shouldn’t have to pick up the whole tab for closing the deficit.
So this idea of balance, this idea of shared sacrifice, of a deficit plan that includes tough spending cuts but also includes tax reform that raises more revenue -you mean tax increases, and that will not raise more revenue.But it doesn't matter, it's about fairness, right?— this isn’t just my position. This isn’t just the Democratic position. This isn’t some wild-eyed socialist position. (Laughter.) This is a position that’s being taken by people of both parties and no party. It’s a position taken by Warren Buffet — somebody who knows about business and knows a little something about being wealthy. (Laughter.) It’s a position that’s been taken by every Democratic and Republican President who’ve signed major deficit deals in the past, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton.You just thought you will trow Reagan's name in there to legitimize your class warfare. Whom do you think you are bullshitting, Mr.President? And I was pleased to see this week that it’s a position taken by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
So we can pass a balanced plan like this. It’s not going to make everybody happy.You mean these guys, right? In fact, it will make everybody somewhat unhappy. The easiest thing for a politician to do is to give you more stuff and ask less in return. It’s a lot harder to say, we got to cut back on what you’re getting and you got to pay a little more. That’s never fun. But we can do it in a balanced way that doesn’t hurt anybody badly, that doesn’t put the burden just on one group.Do you want to surprise us and make the 47% of Americans that pay no federal income taxes chip in something?Just kidding!
So we can solve our deficit problem. And I’m willing to sign a plan that includes tough choices I would not normally make, and there are a lot of Democrats and Republicans in Congress who I believe are willing to do the same thing. The only people we have left to convince are some folks in the House of Representatives.Are you afraid that saying "Tea Partiers" it will make you loose votes?Don't worry, Tea Party Patriots will rather vote for Jimmy Buffett than for you (no offense to Jimmy Buffett) We’re going to keep working on that. (Laughter.) We know you will-on the golf course.Because I still believe we can do what you sent us here to do.
In 2010, Americans chose a divided government, but they didn’t choose a dysfunctional government. (Applause.) So there will be time for political campaigning, but right now this debate shouldn’t be about putting on — scoring political points. It should be about doing what’s right for the country, for everybody. You expect us to work together. You expect us to compromise. You’ve all been working hard-unlike me. You’ve been doing whatever you have to do in order to get by and raise your families. You’re meeting your responsibilities. So it’s time for those of us in Washington to do the same thing.I am planning to start working on it if you reelect me. And I intend to make that happen in the coming days.I have some more golfing on my agenda. Suckers! (Applause.)