Nelson: Obama’s talk of tax hikes is distraction


April 13th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – While President Barack Obama targeted Medicare spending, defense and taxing the wealthy to restore fiscal balance, he’ll find a supporter and detractor in Nebraska’s lone Democratic representative.

“We cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every billionaire and millionaire in our society,” Obama said in his speech to the nation Wednesday. “We can’t afford it.”

President Barack Obama said he will refuse to renew the Bush-era tax cuts, targeted at the top tier of American earners (Photo credit Wikimedia)

President Obama’s target is $4 trillion in deficit reductions over twelve years. And to get there, he says he will refuse to renew the Bush-era tax cuts, which targeted the top tier of American earners. In his weekly conference call with reporters, Senator Ben Nelson said he never supported Obama’s first proposal to roll back the cuts. And he still doesn’t believe now is the time to do it.

“I’ve not changed my mind on that,” Nelson said. “I look at any kind of talk about tax increases as being a distraction away from the essential job of reducing the growth in spending.”

Nelson said if the federal government can get spending under control, “we’ll have the revenue we need.” Nelson also said he supports reforms to Medicare and Medicaid as part of a package to rein in discretionary spending. But he won’t go after Social Security, as the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin Paul Ryan has proposed.

“Social security in terms of how it impacts the financial stability of the country right now is a minor player by comparison,” he said. “So what really needs to be addressed first is Medicare and Medicaid.”

In a statement, Nebraska’s Republican Senator, Mike Johanns called the President’s speech a “missed opportunity” and said it was filled with “partisan criticisms and demagoguery.” He also said raising taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget is unrealistic.

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