Obama says plan for budget is practical

President Obama
Susan Walsh/Associated Press
President Obama’s plan includes $580 billion in new taxes that Republicans oppose.

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Saturday that his soon-to-be released budget, already criticized by friends and foes, is not his ‘‘ideal plan’’ but offers ‘‘tough reforms’’ for benefit programs and scuttles some tax breaks for the wealthy.

That mix will provide long-term deficit reduction without harming the economy, he said.

In his first comments about the 2014 spending blueprint he is set to release Wednesday, Obama said he intends to reduce deficits and provide new money for public works projects, early education, and job training.


‘‘We don’t have to choose between these goals — we can do both,’’ Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

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Obama’s plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 calls for slower growth in government benefit programs for the poor, veterans, and the elderly, as well as higher taxes, primarily from the wealthy.

Some details, made public Friday, drew a fierce response from liberals, labor unions, and advocates for older Americans. House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, was not impressed, either.

‘‘It’s a compromise I’m willing to accept in order to move beyond a cycle of short-term, crisis-driven decision-making, and focus on growing our economy and our middle class for the long run,’’ Obama said.

Obama proposes spending cuts and revenue increases that would result in $1.8 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years, replacing $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that are otherwise poised to take effect over the next 10 years.


Counting reductions and higher taxes that Congress and Obama have approved since 2011, the 2014 budget would contribute $4.3 trillion to total deficit reduction by 2023.

The main deficit reduction elements of the plan incorporate an offer Obama made to Boehner in December when both sought to avoid automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and broad tax increases

Obama’s plan includes $580 billion in new taxes that Republicans oppose. There is also a new inflation formula, rejected by many liberals, that would reduce the annual cost of living adjustments for a range of government programs, including Social Security and benefits for veterans.

In his address, Obama said he would achieve deficit reduction by making ‘‘tough reforms’’ to Medicare and enacting ‘‘common-sense tax reform that includes closing wasteful tax loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected.’’

Obama made no mention of the effect his budget would have on Social Security and other social safety net programs.


Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas delivered the Republican radio and Internet address, arguing that ‘‘the ideas on how to fix the federal government are now percolating in the states.’’ He called for a tax structure that encourages growth, an education system that produces measurable results, and a renewed focus on the dignity of all people.