President Barack Obama laid out a $3 trillion plan yesterday to cut U.S. deficits by raising taxes on the rich, but Republicans rejected it as a political stunt and made clear the proposal has little chance of becoming law.
Vowing to veto any plan that relies solely on spending cuts to reduce deficits, the Democratic president’s recommendations set the stage for an ideological fight with Republicans opposed to tax increases that will stretch through Election Day 2012.
“I will not support any plan that puts all the burden of closing our deficit on ordinary Americans,” Obama said. “We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.”
Obama’s speech reflected a more aggressive defense of Democratic principles after he took a battering in two previous budget battles with Republicans this year that helped drive his approval rating to new lows.
Most Americans say they are unhappy with Obama’s economic leadership, and the president’s re-election hopes could hinge on his ability to convince voters that Republicans represent the rich, not the middle class.
Yesterday, he repeatedly said all Americans must pay their “fair share” of taxes, and he sharpened the difference between his vision for America and that of Republicans in a speech meant to regain support among core supporters who have said Obama has failed to stick to liberal principles.
No more mail on Saturday?
The Obama administration’s plan to rescue the U.S. Postal Service would allow the agency to end Saturday mail delivery and sell nonpostal products, according to documents released yesterday.
The plan also would restructure a massive annual payment to prefund retiree health benefits and refund $6.9 billion the mail carrier says it overpaid into a federal retirement fund.
The White House says its plan would save the postal service more than $20 billion in the next few years.