President Barack Obama fired his own salvo today in a run-up to what is expected to be a battle over the nation's red ink. Obama proposed cutting the U.S. deficit by more than $4 trillion over 12 years through a series of dramatic cuts to defense, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as tax increases for the nation's wealthy.
In what The New York Times called a "blistering critique of the Republican approach to reducing the deficit," Obama said he would no longer allow tax cuts for the wealthy to be extended or health care systems for the elderly and poor to be dismantled.
"There is nothing serious or courageous about the Republican proposals," said Obama.
The president's plan was a direct contrast to a GOP proposal, unveiled earlier this week, that claims to cut $5.8 trillion in spending over the next decade, but which "unfairly singled out middle-class taxpayers, older adults and the poor," Obama said.
UPDATE: Idaho Junior Senator Jim Risch reacted to Obama's budget speech with a call to pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"I am glad to see the President has finally joined the discussion on the most serious issue facing our country-our out of control spending," said Risch. "The federal government is borrowing over $4 billion every day. This has to stop."