Obama's Weekly Address: Stabilizing America's Debt

The president discusses his plan for spending cuts and targeted tax increases.
4:18 | 02/09/13

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Transcript for Obama's Weekly Address: Stabilizing America's Debt
Hi everybody. Over the last few years Democrats Republicans have come together and cut our deficit by more than 2.5 trillion dollars. Through a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. That's more than halfway towards the four trillion dollars in -- -- reductions that economists elected officials from both parties say we need to stabilize our debt. I believe we can finish the job the same way we start. With a balanced mix of more spending cuts and more tax reform. And the overwhelming majority of the American people agree. Both Democrats and Republicans. My preference. And the preference of many members of congress is to do that and -- balanced comprehensive way. By making sensible changes to entitlement programs and reforming our tax -- As we speak both the house and senate are working towards budget proposals that I hope will -- -- this kind of balanced path going forward. The budget process takes time. -- right now if congress doesn't act by march 1. A series of harmful automatic cuts to job creating investment and defense spending. Also known as the sequester. Are scheduled to take effect. And the result could be a huge blow to middle class families and our economy as a whole if the sequester is allowed to go -- Thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security or education or clean energy are likely to be laid off. Firefighters. Food inspectors could also find themselves out of work leaving our community -- Programs like head start would be cut and life saving research and the diseases like cancer alzheimer's. Could be scaled back. Small businesses could be prevented from getting the resources and support they need to keep their doors open. People -- disabilities were waiting for the benefits could be forced to wait even longer. All our economic progress could be put at risk. And then there's the impact on our military -- Already the threat of deep cuts force the navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was posted deployed to the Persian gulf. As our military leaders have made clear changes like this affect our ability to respond to threats in an unstable part of the world. And will be forced to make even more tough decisions in the weeks ahead if congress fails to act. The good news is there's another option. Two months ago we faced a similar deadline and instead of making deep indiscriminate cuts that would cost jobs and slow down our recovery. Democrats and Republicans came together and made responsible cuts and manageable changes to -- tax code that will bring down our deficit. This time congress should pass a similar set of balance cuts and close more tax -- polls. Until they can find a way to replace its -- for -- -- smarter longer term solution. Right now. Most members of congress including many Republicans. Don't think it's a good idea to put thousands of jobs at risk and do unnecessary damage to our economy. And yet the current Republican plan puts the burden of avoiding those cuts mainly on seniors and middle class families. They'd rather ask more from the vast majority of Americans and put our recovery at risk. And close even a single tax loophole that benefits the well. -- last few years we've made good progress toward reducing our deficit in a balanced way. There's no reason we can't keep chipping away at this problem. And there's certainly no reason that middle class families and small businesses should suffer just because Washington could come together and eliminate a few special interest tax pupils. War government programs -- just don't work. At a time when economists and business leaders from across suspect -- said that our economy is poised for progress. We shouldn't allow self inflicted wounds. To put that progress in jeopardy. -- -- message to congress is this. Let's keep working together to solve this problem. And let's give our workers and our business is the support may need to grow and to -- Thanks and have a great weekend.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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