Obama Weekly Address: Pay as you go

WASHINGTON – Hours after signing pay-as-you-go legislation into law, President Barack Obama praised this step towards restoring fiscal responsibility and called for both parties to set aside politics and do the hard work of addressing the deficit.  To this end, since the proposed Fiscal Commission was recently blocked in the Senate – by a handful of Republicans who had previously backed the idea — the President will create this commission by executive order.  The President believes it is time for Washington to once again take responsibility for every dollar it spends.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
February 13, 2010

All across America, people work hard to meet their responsibilities.  You do your jobs, take care of your families, pay your bills.  Sometimes, particularly in tough times like these, you have to make hard choices about where to spend and where to save.  That’s what being responsible means.  That’s a bedrock value of our country.  And that ought to be a value that our government lives up to as well. 

Yet, over the past decade, this hasn’t always not been the case.  Ten years ago, we had a big budget surplus with projected surpluses far into the future.  Ten years later, those surpluses are gone.  In fact, when I first walked through the door, the government’s budget deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with the budget gap over the next decade projected to be $8 trillion. 

Partly, the recession is to blame.  With millions of people out of work, and millions of families facing hardship, folks are paying less in taxes while seeking more services, like unemployment benefits.  Rising health care costs are also to blame.  Each year, more and more tax dollars are devoted to Medicare and Medicaid. 

But what also made these large deficits possible was the end of a common sense rule called “pay as you go.”  It’s pretty simple.  It says to Congress, you have to pay as you go.  You can’t spend a dollar unless you cut a dollar elsewhere.  This is how a responsible family or business manages a budget.  And this is how a responsible government manages a budget, as well. 

It was this rule that helped lead to balanced budgets in the 1990s, by making clear that we could not increase entitlement spending or cut taxes simply by borrowing more money.  And it was the abandonment of this rule that allowed the previous administration and previous congresses to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and create an expensive new drug program without paying for any of it.  Now in a perfect world, Congress would not have needed a law to act responsibly, to remember that every dollar spent would come from taxpayers today – or our children tomorrow. 

But this isn’t a perfect world.  This is Washington.  And while in theory there is bipartisan agreement on moving on balanced budgets, in practice, this responsibility for the future is often overwhelmed by the politics of the moment.  It falls prey to the pressure of special interests, to the pull of local concerns, and to a reality familiar to every single American – the fact that it is a lot easier to spend a dollar than save one. 

That is why this rule is necessary.  And that is why I am pleased that Congress fulfilled my request to restore it.  Last night, I signed the “pay as you go” rule into law.  Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.

But that’s not all we must do.  Even as we make critical investments to create jobs today and lay a foundation for growth tomorrow – by cutting taxes for small businesses, investing in education, promoting clean energy, and modernizing our roads and railways – we have to continue to go through the budget line by line, looking for ways to save.  We have to cut where we can, to afford what we need. 

This year, I’ve proposed another $20 billion in budget cuts. And I’ve also called for a freeze in government spending for three years.  It won’t affect benefits through Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security.  And it will not affect national security – including benefits for veterans.  But it will affect the rest of the budget. 

Finally, I’ve proposed a bipartisan Fiscal Commission to provide recommendations for long-term deficit reduction.  Because in the end, solving our fiscal challenge – so many years in the making – will take both parties coming together, putting politics aside, and making some hard choices about what we need to spend, and what we don’t.  It will not happen any other way.  Unfortunately this proposal – which received the support of a bipartisan majority in the Senate – was recently blocked.  So, I will be creating this commission by executive order. 

After a decade of profligacy, the American people are tired of politicians who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility.  It’s easy to get up in front of the cameras and rant against exploding deficits.  What’s hard is actually getting deficits under control.  But that’s what we must do.  Like families across the country, we have to take responsibility for every dollar we spend.  And with the return of “pay as you go,” as well as other steps we’ve begun to take, that is exactly what we are doing.


  2 comments for “Obama Weekly Address: Pay as you go

  1. Gary Dubois
    March 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    The answer is NOT the Republicans so don’t point to Mass or Virginia or NJ… the answer is a new revolution, a new Constitution and new government… as Thomas Paine wrote… this generation is not obligated to the constitutional promises of the generation before it, this generation is not responsible for the debts and legacies of the previous generation.
    When ever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of people to alter or abolish it.

    Clearly what is needed is an alteration to the government parties, Both republicans and democrats represent the landowners and business owners before they do the people. I and others think it is time to have a 3rd party liken to Englands Worker Party that represents the needs of the working people in America period. Enough is enough. I do not believe violence is the answere. Using the laws that exist is. For example an excerpt from the Tea Party… I like their ideas. You decide. After all it still is (WE THE PEOPLE)

    Political Ideas for Tea Party

    1. Public Service Announcements. – Wherein all affiliates and Net Works give up free air time to all political candidates. Under this already required act of the F.C.C.
    2. Salary caps. I.e. ; Does Jay Leno really need 80, million dollars a year? Under the forgotten Jimmy Carter excessive profit act. For example… Ceo’s, sport players. To a public fund that helps support local infrastructures, libraries, Hospital, schools, legal defenses, etc… Of cities, towns and boroughs’ in all states. Since in law there exist a minimum wage an maximum wage offers a balance of power to protect citizens from being economically placed in an unfair position. Such that unfair legal or unfair acts that could cause them harm, or work to their denial of their rights under the constitution,” where we hold that all men are created equal.” To offset extreme and unreasonable fairness to any citizen. Freedom is not free, ergo rich or poor each person must pay what is fair and reasonable for the benefit of equal protection to these basic concepts. They are neither idea’s which are communist, fascist or Socialist, they lend themselves to the framers ideology of the Constitutional laws of the land as set forth in that Document. And are set forth in this to be seen and evaluated under that prism.
    3. Real time fraud unit empowered through the BBB and Chamber of Commerce, Supported by the local court with licensed investigators that can move to expose fraud in the market place. Which can be empowered with local retirees’ in the community that can and are willing to volunteer their time, services and or expertise; So that crooked dealerships, Mortgage lenders, that they can identify, investigate and seek indictments with local and federal authorities. They can act like secret shoppers in that they keep their anonymity and are protected.
    4. Congressmen and Senators take pay cuts, percentage of at least in 2010 that are no less then, 25%, based on economic experts on need versus greed. Such that in March, 2010. A family of 4 can and should be able to live on 150,000.00 a year by the head of the family.
    5. A barrel of oil in March 2010, has sold for less than 80 dollars per barrel; Prices at the pump have not gone down to reflect the lower price for crude.
    6. Any report by any citizen made to the FBI or any other such federal agency, contact by e-mail in order notify the person seeking an investigation or action; in writing as to whether it merits investigation or not. And the reasons and laws that support their decision. In that they work to insure the safety and welfare of the public interest from any possible white collar crime by any political official or his or her employee.
    Certain offices and positions within the U.S. Government that deal in National Security, Law Office’s, such as; U.S. Attorney are strictly off limits to any naturalized citizen of the United States. Only those who came here before the age of 8, may apply or those who are born within the borders and U.S. Territories’ who’s allegiance and family history’s are empirically investigative, traceable and have no ambiguity or vagueness in loyalties to the Security, well being and security of the United States of America.

  2. Jo
    March 6, 2010 at 10:27 am

    No, we do not need a new constitution, we need to abide to the one we have. The founders framed the constitution to stand the test of time. The problem is that progressives feel it ia a living document which can be changed . It is what it is, please read it. The Declaration of Independence ays it best:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security .

    Today when forcing Obamacare on the, plain and simple. majority of Americans who do not want it is an abuse of power

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