Nelson: Obama’s talk of tax hikes is distraction
April 13th, 2011
Omaha, NE – While President Barack Obama targeted Medicare spending, defense and taxing the wealthy to restore fiscal balance, heâ€™ll find a supporter and detractor in Nebraskaâ€™s lone Democratic representative.
â€œWe cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every billionaire and millionaire in our society,â€ Obama said in his speech to the nation Wednesday. â€œWe canâ€™t afford it.â€
President Obamaâ€™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 Obamaâ€™s first proposal to roll back the cuts. And he still doesnâ€™t believe now is the time to do it.
â€œIâ€™ve not changed my mind on that,â€ Nelson said. â€œI look at any kind of talk about tax increases as being a distraction away from the essential job of reducing the growth in spending.â€
Nelson said if the federal government can get spending under control, â€œweâ€™ll have the revenue we need.â€ Nelson also said he supports reforms to Medicare and Medicaid as part of a package to rein in discretionary spending. But he wonâ€™t go after Social Security, as the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin Paul Ryan has proposed.
â€œSocial security in terms of how it impacts the financial stability of the country right now is a minor player by comparison,â€ he said. â€œSo what really needs to be addressed first is Medicare and Medicaid.â€
In a statement, Nebraskaâ€™s Republican Senator, Mike Johanns called the Presidentâ€™s speech a â€œmissed opportunityâ€ and said it was filled with â€œpartisan criticisms and demagoguery.â€ He also said raising taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget is unrealistic.
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