Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is predicting a mixture of good and bad news in President Obama’s speech Wednesday night as he outlines his long-term plan for cutting the deficit. Grassley, a Republican, believes Obama’s proposal will rely too heavily on raising taxes while trimming programs like Medicare.
“I hope that he realizes that you’ve gotta’ grow the economy to get the deficit down,” Grassley says, “and in the final analysis, that he realizes that we have a deficit problem, not because people are undertaxed but because Congress overspends.” One report estimates the government borrows 42-cents out of every dollar it spends. Months ago, the president created a Deficit Reduction Committee and Grassley says the panel’s advice has been largely ignored by the White House.
“The good news is that finally the President of the United States is going to lead on deficit reduction,” Grassley says. “The frustration that probably Democrats have more than we Republicans is that he appointed this commission for political cover.” The panel recommended four-trillion dollars in cuts, which Grassley says came in a form that was welcomed by liberals and conservatives, yet Obama never acknowledged the proposal.
“They reported in December sweeping changes that even had broad bipartisan support in the Senate,” Grassley says. “He hasn’t said whether he likes it or not. Presumably, tomorrow night, he’s going to take some steps in that direction.” Grassley says raising taxes is “not the solution; it’s just a license to spend more money.”
The president’s 2012 budget plan called for $1.1-trillion in cuts while Republicans have offered a proposal for cutting more than $5-trillion over the next decade. The national debt is at $14.3-trillion.