Why I Loved President Obama’s Speech Yesterday

Posted by | April 14, 2011 21:29 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

Yesterday President Obama finally did something that he rarely does; he attacked the Republicans, and it is about damn time. Republicans expected Obama to sing “Kumbaya” with them as they joined hands to destroy Medicare, Medicaid, and the American middle class. Instead, Obama laid out a clear difference between the Democratic vision for America and the Republican vision for America, and made the case for why the Democratic vision is infinitely superior.

The details of how Obama’s plan would cut $4 trillion from the deficit over 12 years are a little hazy at the moment, but he made several things clear. Obama will protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from drastic cuts and severe alterations, and he will not extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy again. He drew those lines in the sand yesterday, and it would be politically disastrous for him to fail to deliver on those promises.

The best argument Obama made during the speech was when he connected the Republican plan to turn Medicare into a glorified coupon, with their continued extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. In order to pay for millionaires and billionaires to each receive an average of $200,000 a year in tax cuts, the Ryan “Path to Prosperity” would force thirty-three Medicare recipients to spend $6,000 a year more each on health care costs. Taking from the elderly and the sick to give to the strong and the powerful is textbook social Darwinism, and good for Obama for highlighting the brutality of the Ryan plan.

Republicans immediately began to whine and cry about how mean President Obama was to them for simply pointing out exactly how vile their plan is for America’s seniors. Paul Ryan came out and said he went expecting an “olive branch” but got something “excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate and hopelessly inadequate.”

I hope Obama didn’t hurt Paul Ryan’s feelings?

Meanwhile, Eric Cantor said the only concrete proposal was raising taxes. “That’s unacceptable,” he said. “That’s not serious.”

Yes, because it is totally ridiculous to suggest that the federal government should raise taxes at a time when it is running record deficits and tax revenue as a share of GDP is the lowest it has been in decades. If anyone is not being serious about how to solve the impending fiscal crisis this country faces, it is Republicans like Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor. Their “cut spending only” plan is not about balancing the budget, it is about destroying the American dream on behalf of enriching their wealthy corporate donors.

The Republicans’ radical economic agenda must be stopped, and it is great to finally have President Obama join that fight.

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