President Obama, GOP address battle of the debt
July 2nd, 2011
11:20 AM ET
12 years ago

President Obama, GOP address battle of the debt

(CNN)-President Barack Obama advocated for his plan to ensure the federal government starts "living within its means," Saturday during the weekly address.

He made the case for a plan to battle the federal budget deficit that includes spending cuts and "examining every program and tax break in the budget."

"Government has to start living within its means, just like families do," Obama said. "We have to cut the spending we can't afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs."

If there's one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it's "the need to solve the problem," according to the president. Though progress has been made and both parties identified more than $1 trillion in spending cuts together, he said,"We've got to find more savings to get out of the red."

But the parties disagree on where savings can be found.

The president argued that "we can't afford" every tax break and cautioned, "If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires…we'll have to make even deeper cuts somewhere else."

"We've got to cut the deficit, but we can do that while making investments in education, research, and technology that actually create jobs," he said.

"We can live within our means while still investing in our future."

Looking ahead to Independence Day, President Obama said the country's motivation for independence was based on the revolutionary idea "that people ought to determine their own destiny."

"Time and again we've proven that we could come together to solve problems…we share a love for this country and a faith in its future," the president said.

"That's the spirit we need to harness now."

Indiana Sen. Dan Coats echoed the need to balance the federal budget, but presented a different plan to tackle the deficit in the GOP weekly address.

Observing that "the eyes of the world are fixed on the U.S. to see if we have the political courage and moral sense to solve our debt crisis," Coats criticized President Obama and congressional Democrats, and charged them to "recognize that their game plan is not working."

"It's time to acknowledge that more government and higher taxes is not the answer to our problem," he said.

Instead, Coats, who was re-elected in 2010 after serving for ten years and retiring from the Senate in 1999, said it's time for "bold action" and a "new plan" to address the debt. Specifically, he said, the president and Democrats in Congress should look to Indiana because,"The Hoosier way is quite simple-we work hard and we live within our means."

The senator described Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' action to balance the state's budget as a model for success.

"The spend less, borrow less and tax less model in Indiana has resulted in balanced budgets, job creation, and a triple-A credit rating," he said.

Coats compared that plan to the president's. "The spend more, borrow more and tax more approach of the president has resulted in fewer jobs, higher debt and a threatened downgrade from credit agencies," he continued.

Declaring the "Hoosier model" as a "necessary first step to repairing our country's finances," Coats resolved that the nation's debt is not an "insurmountable" problem.

"It's time to cast aside the false safety of political denial and reelection hopes and put the future of our country above all else," he said.

Coats recalled Independence Day as a time when the country's founding fathers "put their honor and lives on the line to break from oppression" and likened it to the government's deficit battle.

"It is not only our duty, but our moral obligation to break from the oppression of debt," he said. To accomplish that, Coats stated, "We must rise above the political considerations and do what is right for the future of our nation."

Filed under: Dan Coats • Debt • Deficit • GOP weekly address • President Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    ThinkAgain - don't think you will make the cut. You have to be SMARTER THAN A ROBOT to be able to make one.

    Sorry, dude. Turn off FAuX and go back to school (if your mommy and daddy can afford it).

    July 2, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Debbie

    It's not just about debt but jobs as well. I gave the GOP a shot in 2010 and so far they have done zero on the jobs issue. Yes the debt must come down but it will come down to investment in the American people and so far the GOP is against that. Economics 101, Accounting 101, or Branches of Government 101 is all about balance. Supply=Demand, Debits=Credits, and 3 Branches of Government that are equal (well at least that is how the founders set it up, didn't include corporations as citizens but then that is our Supreme Court out of balance.) Cut defense, tax the wealthy, reform business regulations with tax credits for hiring Americans, tax on hiring outside of USA, and crank up the tariffs for foreign items coming into the USA.

    July 2, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. patcee

    When they say "spend less," they mean drastic cuts in the areas that impact the poor and elderly. It seems to me that canceling the tax cuts to the very wealthy would be the simplest and most fair solution to part of the problem of needing more revenue. By cutting services and programs that are a safety net to half the population – and growing – it's just making a bad situation worse. What are all the unemployed supposed to do to live if there are no social programs to help them survive? Those factory jobs we lost are never coming back. This unemployment will continue for many years. Slashing safety nets seems like the worst solution. We will be like Greece, with nothing for the people – and all for the elite rich.

    July 2, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. KatR

    Comparing one state (Indiana) to the federal government is like pointing to one apple in an orchard with 50 trees and claiming that one apple is a gameplan for the entire orchard. Indiana doesn't have to deal with interstate commerce, international relations, etc etc. When a family faces finanacial troubles they start out cutting spending. But when that isn't enough they look for a 2nd or 3rd job (if they're available) to increase their income to cover the necessities. For the GOP to sign pledges they won't even consider eliminating tax loopholes as part of a deficit reduction plan is the same as a citizen who refuses to get that additional job. I'm an Independent, always have been, and this time around it seems like the Democrats are trying to do what's best for all of us....the entire orchard, so to speak....instead of just a few bright and shiny apples in a large orchard.

    July 2, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Anachro

    No, no the plan is windmills. We're all going to be windmill mechanics. And we're going to drive to work on electric roller-skates.

    July 2, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Bill from GA

    Our President brought this on himself by extending the bush tax cuts last fall. He gave up his main bargaining chip. Granted, he had a tough choice, but now it appears he took the easy way out.

    He needs to stand up to the repugs, especially mitch mcconnell, and it would have been easier then with a little less at stake. Even though the lowlife repugs were holding hostage such items as unemployment funding and a nuclear arms treaty, as well as tax cuts for those who actually need them and put the money back into the economy.

    July 2, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Sen. Dan Coats almost telling the truth

    2007 and 2008 Indiana lost many jobs Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels did a great job actually what is behind of his success is federal stimulus

    July 2, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Paul

    It's time for the top 2% to resume pulling their weight, after having a nice break from taxes.

    July 2, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Paul

    The top 2% keep getting larger paychecks while the rest of get no raises, no jobs. Let the top 2% pay their fair share.

    July 2, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Anthony

    Obama should wait until Republicans get serious about negotiation. If they think a default would not cause problems, then there is no need for Obama to budge. If there is a default, Obama can cut the spending that Republicans care about, the military. It is the biggest part of the discretionary spending, over which Obama does have control, unlike the mandatory spending Republicans want to cut (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid). Cutting these programs requires a change of law, so neither Obama nor the Congress can do it unilaterally. If there is a default, the government cannot borrow anymore, and it is collecting only enough revenues to cover the interest on the national debt and the mandatory spending, so Obama would have no choice but to cut military spending. Thanks, Republicans. Next year, your presidential candidate should try to run on a platform of strong defense.

    July 2, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. georgesblog360

    Repaying debt with more debt is the formula for ruin. Printing paper currency has ruined every country that has trid to print bit's way to prosperity. The very existence of the Federal Reserve is an abomination. Not that I say so, but that the Law of the Creator says so. I don't make the rules. All fiat currencies die an ugly death. The Federal Reserve note is next.

    July 2, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. a in austin

    I love how the gop are so lock stepped for their party and not the people. Their masters have given them their marching orders! The government will shut down, the people will suffer, and the rich will continue their lavish lifestyles all at the expense of everyday people. Harder times are coming...Cantor, are your stocks still increasing in value?

    July 2, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Reality

    The problem is the Republicans find themselves in a bind. They fear the Tea Party folks, particularly when they run in a primary election. To those who think nothing will happen if we do not raise the debt ceiling, do me a favor start watching the stock market. The market will be watching the R and D discussions and all stocks will be affected. The closer we are to Aug 2, the more interesting it will become. Thus, if you have money invested and you don't mind a decrease value, continue to support the position of eliminating tax breaks on those who are doing much better financially then 95% of the population.

    And it seems as though everyone has forgotten the Independent voter. They are not easily swayed by the Tea Party folks.

    July 2, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Paul

    Lets have a place where each person can have health care, an education, and at least a livable retirement. People of all ages, races, and religions unite to form a more perfect union. Responsiblity and opprotunity for all.

    July 2, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Bill Wood

    Whether Obama likes it or not, he must strike a deal with Republicans. I'm not a Republican, so I'm no saying they are right. I'm recognizing that elections have consequences, and whether he likes it or not, our Constitution puts Congress in charge of the purse. If they pass bills Obama doesn't like, he can veto them. But he can't force Congress to pass a funding bill if they lack the votes. The President is not a dictator. His Constitutional role is to execute the laws according to the dictates of Congress. So the only way to avert a default is for the President to cave to the demands of the Republican House.

    July 2, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. Annie, Atlanta

    I find it interesting that Republicans insist that we live within our means when there's a Democrat in the White House, but they certainly didn't think a thing about living within our means when they were in control of both houses of Congress and the White House, running up massive debt with wars and Medicare part D. But now that we're in a recession and the only entity large enough to spend to keep the economy rolling, has to tighten it's belt. Are they purposely trying to hijack the economy in order to win in 2012? And isn't this terrorism?

    July 2, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. GOP = Greed Over People

    The GOP will not relent on taxing the rich, they have too much invested in their agenda for "America to fail" to back down now.

    July 2, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Dan


    The richest 1% of Americans pay 37% of income taxes. Is that "fair"? How do you define "fair"? For me, I would define it as everyone paying the same proportion of their income toward taxes. The wealthy and upper-middle class already pay much more than their fair share of taxes, while using a disproportionately less amount of government services (how many rich people are on welfare?). Might want to re-think your argument here.

    As for the unemployed struggling with "no social programs to help them survive"? Is this a joke? There are options...typically what happens is that there are extenuating circumstances – the person doesn't want to stoop to a lower job, doesn't want to go back to school, has 8 kids to support, etc. Times are changing, and if person X will do job Y in country Z for a lower wage than you, perhaps that should tell you it is time to move up the value chain and differentiate yourself from other workers instead of complaining that "society has let you down" and demanding action from the government.

    Keep in mind, Patcee, that everything you use in your daily life – the car you drive to work, the computer you write your emails on – was invented, marketed, perfected by a "rich" person.

    July 2, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Mike Dallas

    It was Eric Cantor that stormed out of the debt crisis meeting like some pre-k 4 year old that did not like the color of his sippy cup.

    Great leadership, GOP, right over the cliff into a global depression.

    Remember that you folks voted for these tea baggers when the stock market crashes and interest rates shoot through the roof after we default.

    July 2, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. American

    Stark differences:

    President Obama speaks interns of working together to implement the spending cuts and reasonable revenue increases supported by the majority of Americans.

    Sen. Coats and his tea bag followers irresponsibly speak in divisive terms to shut down our government to cause global economic collapse, also meaning America could not pay our men & women serving in uniform. The selfishly partisan agenda is not right.

    July 2, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Ken, AZ

    How much stimulus money did Indiana use to balance their budget? How many jobs that Coates claims have been generated in Indiana by Daniels were actually stimulus generated jobs? Same old Republican BS "cut taxes and jobs will be created". Well what does he suggest they do to generate demand? Companies are not going to hire people to build more crap unless there is demand. That shoots the hell out of the "cut corporate taxes" theory.

    July 2, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. VW

    50% or more of Medicare spending is waste fraud or abuse. Anyone in the medical profession know that. I was in the market for a wheelchair a few days ago so I went to craigslist. There are tons of chairs for sale that if purchased new would cost 4 – 6K but Medicare pays double or tripple that consistantly. The sellers have receipts to prove it! The retail prices are available for the government to see yet they consistantly over pay for them by HUGE amounts. Anyone who has purchased medical equipment through Medicare can probably support me on this. That is where we need to cut – AND elimnate the tax loopholes AND increase the top rate (maybe excluding small business owners).

    July 2, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. kyle

    Bush raised the debt ceiling seven times, and now they pretend to care.

    July 2, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Bill in stl

    GI _joe... I wonder if you really know how snart a Robot is.... AND how you are qualified to make that comparison. From what I have seen of your posts... they are mostly designed to divide people.

    Debbie, One house does not constitute giving the republicans a shot.. By your own words there are 3 branches of government... The republican members of the house still have to get any legislation throught the Senate and them to the president.... They have not gotten very far ... I wonder why? NOT

    PACTE – whne you cut taxes breaks on the wealthy ... whom are you impacting? WHen you cut tax breaks etc on business, whom are you impacting? My guess (not really a guess) is that thow wealthy people own most businesses... so you are getting into their pockets twice ... Now who do you think pays for that .... You dowhen you buy the products or services that those businesses offer.... They pass those increased expenses on to you as a "cost of doing business".. Be honest ... You would do the same thing ....Thus you have been brainwashed by the Democratice party.

    KatR – wow that is really a thought that is not complete..... See the post above to PACTE

    July 2, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. Bill in stl

    Here is how we can cut the debt..,. An appeals court in Cincinatti has ruled that the federal government can mandate individual citizens to pay for services required by the government. SO ... Let get congress to enact a law, that I am sure the president will sign, to require Citizens of this great country to pay 50% of their reaming salary (after taxes only) to deficit reduction... You will thenhave tobuy your groceries and gas and day today living expenses with the remaing money.

    July 2, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
1 2