January 30th, 2010
09:57 AM ET
11 years ago

In weekly address, Obama focuses on reducing the deficit

Washington (CNN) - President Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address to discuss his recent proposals for reducing the budget deficit.

(Read the full text of the president's address after the jump)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address
January 30, 2010

At this time last year, amidst headlines about banks on the verge of collapse and job losses of 700,000 a month, we received another troubling piece of news about our economy. Our economy was shrinking at an alarming rate – the largest six-month decline in 50 years. Our factories and farms were producing less; our businesses were selling less; and more job losses were on the horizon.

One year later, according to numbers released this past week, this trend has reversed itself. For the past six months, our economy has been growing again. And last quarter, it grew more quickly than at any time in the past six years.

This is a sign of progress. And it’s an affirmation of the difficult decisions we made last year to pull our financial system back from the brink and get our economy moving again.

But when so many people are still struggling – when one in ten Americans still can’t find work, and millions more are working harder and longer for less – our mission isn’t just to grow the economy. It’s to grow jobs for folks who want them, and ensure wages are rising for those who have them. It’s not just about improvements we see in quarterly statistics, but ones people feel in their daily lives – a bigger paycheck; more security; the ability to give your kids a decent shot in life and still have enough to retire one day yourself.

That’s why job creation will be our number one focus in 2010. We’ll put more Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure all across the country. And since the true engines of job creation are America’s businesses, I’ve proposed tax credits to help them hire new workers, raise wages, and invest in new plants and equipment. I also want to eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and help small businesses get the loans they need to open their doors and expand their operations.

But as we work to create jobs, it is critical that we rein in the budget deficits we’ve been accumulating for far too long – deficits that won’t just burden our children and grandchildren, but could damage our markets, drive up our interest rates, and jeopardize our recovery right now.

There are certain core principles our families and businesses follow when they sit down to do their own budgets. They accept that they can’t get everything they want and focus on what they really need. They make tough decisions and sacrifice for their kids. They don’t spend what they don’t have, and they make do with what they’ve got.

It’s time their government did the same. That’s why I’m pleased that the Senate has just restored the pay-as-you-go law that was in place back in the 1990s. It’s no coincidence that we ended that decade with a $236 billion surplus. But then we did away with PAYGO – and we ended the next decade with a $1.3 trillion deficit. Reinstating this law will help get us back on track, ensuring that every time we spend, we find somewhere else to cut.

I’ve also proposed a spending freeze, so that as we increase investments in things we need, like job creation and middle class tax cuts – we cut spending on those we don’t, like tax cuts for oil companies and investment fund managers, and programs that are redundant, obsolete, or simply ineffective. Spending related to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected – and neither will national security – but all other discretionary government programs will.

Finally, I’ve called for a bi-partisan Fiscal Commission – a panel of Democrats and Republicans who would sit down and hammer out concrete deficit-reduction proposals by a certain deadline. Because we’ve heard plenty of talk and a lot of yelling on TV about deficits, and it’s now time to come together and make the painful choices we need to eliminate those deficits.

This past week, 53 Democrats and Republicans voted for this commission in the Senate. But it failed when seven Republicans who had co-sponsored this idea in the first place suddenly decided to vote against it.

Now, it’s one thing to have an honest difference of opinion about something. I will always respect those who take a principled stand for what they believe, even if I disagree with them.

But what I won’t accept is changing positions because it’s good politics. What I won’t accept is opposition for opposition’s sake. We cannot have a serious discussion and take meaningful action to create jobs and control our deficits if politicians just do what’s necessary to win the next election instead of what’s best for the next generation.

I’m ready and eager to work with anyone who’s serious about solving the real problems facing our people and our country. I welcome anyone who comes to the table in good faith to help get our economy moving again and fulfill this country’s promise. That’s why we were elected in the first place. That’s what the American people expect and deserve. And that’s what we must deliver.

Thank you.

Filed under: Economy • national debt • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. annie against biased news

    More fictitious government figures. Figures don't lie but liars will figure! Economy growing? What is the so-called president smoking or does he live on another planet?

    How does the so-called president expect to reduce deficit when all he does is spend spend spend?

    January 30, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Doug

    And at this time next year, we will be lucky to have a bank left, said a citizen today. The courageous citizen, fighting to work in his own country then said, with the power of my own imagination, I hope I survive this political president. This was not always the case, but now we are truly on our own, he said as he just shook his head.

    January 30, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. sniffinit

    Let's see , raise taxes =slow economy ,spend billions on new programes , raise spending dramaticly on existing programes , then freeze spending on a few small areas. Makes sense to me! But then I did fail first grade math .

    January 30, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Donkey Party

    Meanwhile, over in the GOPPER camp, Mike Steele and his band of knuckle-draggers are enjoying a Hawaii vaction / meeting. Early reports suggest their "party purity" test was met with some resistance, but the free head-shavings and complimentary editions of "Mein Kampf" were warmly received.

    January 30, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Keith in Austin

    I don't buy the fact that Comrade Barry the life-long Socialist is now suddenly a fiscal conservative!

    Meanwhile, this week he spent billions on a Florida choo choo train while 1 in 10 Americans are out of work!

    Only 2 years and 10 months more of this Bozo!

    January 30, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  6. ib

    Obama can start by parking AF1 for awhile and get off the campaign trail. He has tripled the deficit since he has been in office but I'm sure that's Bush's fault. He is like a little kid; loves to spend and can't stop; look out higher taxes here we come.

    January 30, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. now

    now, he worries about the deficit, should have thought about it before he blew all of our money

    January 30, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. sharon

    my personal choices belong to neither sarah palin nor to now. wanting to control other people's bodies and their religious beliefs is a very slippery slope. each person answers for herself, and, thank you very much, i don't need outside help.to all the fanatics who want to control other people's choices (inalienable rights), butt out.

    January 30, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. MatthewDetroit

    Barack is just a liar.
    It amazing the audacity of his statements and the fact he actually believes his own lies.

    HOW can you sit there and say I am going to cut discretionary spending of 15 Billion a year for the next 10 years when you are spending an additional 150 Billion on a second stimulus this year.

    HOW can you say you will cut spending when the budget has added more spending then ever across the board ALL time.

    He just fnished a year in office with 1.45 Trillion OVER the budget deficit spending.
    His projection for next year is 1.35 Trillion OVER the budget deficit spending.
    The 2011 projected budget is 1.35 Trillion OVER the budget deficit spending.
    Total is 4.15 TRILLION added to the National Debt in 3 years.
    Three Years.

    He speaks in Bold Face Lies without any conscience what so ever.

    He could pass bills in congress except for the fact that he is so far left of even his own party. THINK about this. If he was trying to pass normal laws he would get 70 votes maybe more let alone the 60 he needs, but he is trying to push the country so far left that NO ONE agrees with him.

    His spending must must stop.
    We are all going to crash once China stops allowing credit.
    We must stop him.
    Write your Senators and Congressmen today.
    Stop Barack and his spending. Stop congress and their spending.

    January 30, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. jp,michigan

    The democrats in the senate shot down, fiscal committee which woudld have been bi-partisan. I didn't see pay as you go pass in the senate. Putting a freeze , you need to scale back a little, get rid of the pork. No! Your members on the Hill passed an increase in amount of debt we should carry. You did more damage to these United States in one year than any other president during their stay in the oval office.

    January 30, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Paul H

    Umm hu. Yep, that's what hes going to do. (Yea right) Freezing spending at all time highs is a joke! Let's spend as much as we possibly can then freeze it! Did anyone fall for that? I'm sure the Koolaid drinkers, and the hands out crowd did.
    What about getting rid of all Government spending on programs that only help small numbers of people. Or stop spending money on Abortions (Remember it's a choice?). Get out of the banking business, and the auto industry (Remember Ford didn't take any monies, and they are doing better than the companies that did!).
    Same rhetoric, different day. It's not working folks, and the numbers he's spewing out are distractions at the very least, he speaks in general rather than hard fact, and people are wooed in masses. It's almost scary.

    January 30, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. joe

    the DEMS always have to clean up after the gop! nothing new.

    January 30, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |

    Obama MUST finally start to sort out the aid efforts for Haiti – that scene is FAR WORSE than Katrina, which looks like a boy scout jamboree compared with the continued devasating gross mismanagement and inattention by Obama on Haiti. How many more have to die and suffer before Obama gets the message and get's into action. Don't expect to see the state-controlled MSM reporting this fiasco properly.

    January 30, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Russell, NC

    Where has Obama been the past year? Is he just now waking up? He should have been worrying about the deficit the last year.

    January 30, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |