President Obama used his weekly address to call for a balanced approach to the federal budget. Citing a recent falloff in economic growth attributed to inaction in Washington, Obama called for investments in education and infrastructure and lowering the cost of programs like Medicare -- without passing the expense on to seniors -- as part of a deal to reduce the federal deficit. He said that “2013 can be a year of solid growth, more jobs, and higher wages. But that will only happen if we put a stop to self-inflicted wounds in Washington.”
"We all agree that it’s critical to cut unnecessary spending. But we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. It hasn’t worked in the past, and it won’t work today. It could slow down our recovery. It could weaken our economy. And it could cost us jobs – now, and in the future."
"What we need instead is a balanced approach; an approach that says let’s cut what we can’t afford but let’s make the investments we can’t afford to live without. Investments in education and infrastructure, research and development – the things that will help America compete for the best jobs and new industries."
"Already, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to reduce our deficits by $2.5 trillion. That’s a good start. But to get the rest of the way, we need a balanced set of reforms."
"For example, we need to lower the cost of health care in programs like Medicare that are the biggest drivers of our deficit, without just passing the burden off to seniors. And these reforms must go hand-in-hand with eliminating excess spending in our tax code, so that the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans."
"2013 can be a year of solid growth, more jobs, and higher wages. But that will only happen if we put a stop to self-inflicted wounds in Washington. Everyone in Washington needs to focus not on politics but on what’s right for the country; on what’s right for you and your families. That’s how we’ll get our economy growing faster. That’s how we’ll strengthen our middle class. And that’s how we’ll build a country that rewards the effort and determination of every single American."
The full transcript is available here.