Johanns: Obama’s budget speech just “rhetoric”
April 14th, 2011
Omaha, NE – Nebraskaâ€™s Republican Senator Mike Johanns largely dismissed President Obamaâ€™s budget speech Wednesday calling it simply: campaign rhetoric.
â€œIâ€™m calling on Congress to reform our individual tax code so that itâ€™s fair and simple,â€ the President said in his speech, â€œso that the amount of taxes you pay isnâ€™t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.â€
â€œYou look at what the Presidentâ€™s saying and itâ€™s just rhetoric,â€ Johanns said in his weekly conference call with reporters. He added President Obamaâ€™s call for rolling back the Bush-era tax cuts for Americaâ€™s wealthiest earners wonâ€™t curb the countryâ€™s rising debt.
â€œI think if you asked Warren Buffett do you need a tax break, heâ€™d say no,â€ Johanns said, â€œbut I think what he would say is that this country has to get its debt under control because this isnâ€™t going to turn out well.â€
Obama also addressed the rising costs of Medicaid and Medicare in his budget speech, but dismissed a plan many Republicans have signed on to from Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. That plan has been criticized by Democrats as simply an effort to privatize the programs. But Johanns said Ryanâ€™s plan would give more flexibility to the states.
â€œIt basically says look, weâ€™re going to give you the freedom to design the best way to provide medical coverage for poor people in your state,â€ Johanns said.
â€œMedicareâ€™s heading to insolvency. In 25 years, all the IOUs are paid off in Social Security. Thatâ€™s the radical plan. The radical plan is to just dig our heads deeper into the sand and ignore this.â€
Nebraskaâ€™s Democratic Senator Ben Nelson gave his response on Wednesday, saying he wonâ€™t support the Presidentâ€™s tax plan, but that he does support his efforts to reform Medicaid and Medicare.