Obama to offer his own debt reduction package

  • Tuhan Harun case postponed again to July 22 – Bernama
    Tuhan Harun case postponed again to July 22 – Bernama

    The Lower Shariah Court today postponed again the case of leader of the “Tuhan Harun” deviant sect, Harun Mat Saat, to July 22. Judge Abdul Wahid Mohd Ali set the date after hearing the application from Pahang Islamic Religious Department deputy prosecutor Mohd Fahmi Abd Jalil that he needed more time to examine the legal representation... …

  • What if flight MH370 is never found?
    What if flight MH370 is never found?

    Despite assurances from Malaysia and Australia that the search will continue for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the lack of significant leads after almost seven weeks are leading many to ask: What if the jetliner that disappeared over the southern Indian Ocean is never found? At the start of the massive international search effort, such a... …

  • New law to give Sarawak natives freedom in purchasing customary rights land
    New law to give Sarawak natives freedom in purchasing customary rights land

    Bumiputera from Sarawak could eventually buy Native Customary Rights (NCR) land outside their ethnic group or community when the state amends its Land Code in November. Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem (pic, right), in disclosing the government's intention to table the amendment at its Budget sitting, said with the amendment the Iban, for... …

  • Cops cannot declare May Day rally illegal, lawyer says
    Cops cannot declare May Day rally illegal, lawyer says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — There are no provisions under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 that allows the authorities to declare the anti-GST rally planned for May 1 as illegal, human rights... …

  • On May Day, trade unions to rally against GST, TPPA
    On May Day, trade unions to rally against GST, TPPA

    SUBANG JAYA, April 24 — The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) announced today a May Day rally to protest against Putrajaya’s newly-approved consumption tax system and a US-led free trade... …

  • Rafizi rips apart deputy minister's grant denial

    A PKR leader has pointed out that Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah referred to grant recipients from a different time period when denying that RM100 million was allocated to a firm purportedly favoured by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. Rafizi Ramli also questioned if this was an oversight on the part of the science, technology and innovation deputy minister or a deliberate attempt to put a lid on the matter. In a statement today, the PKR director of strategy said Abu Bakar (left) disclosed to the …

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even as President Barack Obama prepares his opening bid on long-term debt reduction, the White House wants to keep the focus on jobs and is determined to avoid getting sucked into another budget fight with lawmakers.

Administration officials see the task of attending to deficits as necessary but not necessarily urgent, compared with the need to revive the economy and increase employment.

The White House also sees this as the time to draw sharp contrasts with congressional Republicans, whose public approval ratings are lower than Obama's.

As a result, when Obama announces at least $2 trillion in deficit reduction measures Monday, he is not expected to offer all the compromises he reached with House Speaker John Boehner, in July before those talks broke off.

"I would view this as the president's vision for how we achieve deficit reduction, which makes it inherently different than the sorts of legislative negotiations we were undertaking with the speaker over the summer," said the White House communications director, Dan Pfeiffer.

The plan represents an economic bookend to the $447 billion in tax cuts and new public works spending that Obama has proposed as a short-term measure to stimulate the economy and create jobs. He's submitting it to a special joint committee of Congress given the task of recommending how to reduce deficits by $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

The White House signaled its approach Saturday by highlighting a proposal in the president's plan that would set a minimum tax rate for taxpayers earning more than $1 million.

The measure — Obama is going to call it the "Buffett Rule" for billionaire investor Warren Buffett — is designed to prevent millionaires from using tax-avoidance schemes to pay lower rates than middle-income taxpayers. Buffett has complained that he and other wealthy people have been "coddled long enough" and shouldn't be paying a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than middle-class taxpayers.

However, the proposal is certain to be rejected by Republicans, who have pledged to oppose any increase in taxes.

"It adds further instability to our system, more uncertainty and it punishes job creation and those people who create jobs," said Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman.

"Class warfare may make for really good politics but it makes for rotten economics," he told "Fox News Sunday."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, noting that a similar effort to raise taxes on the wealthy failed a few years ago, continued to push for revising the tax code and looking to increasing revenue through economic activity rather than taxes. He was dismissive of Obama's so-called Buffett Rule.

"With regard to his tax rate, if he's feeling guilty about it, I think he should send in a check," McConnell said of Buffett while appearing on "Meet the Press" on NBC TV. "But we don't want to stagnate this economy by raising taxes."

The White House also has said that Obama will not offer any proposals to reduce long-term spending in Social Security, even though Obama had suggested to Boehner reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments for retirees receiving monthly Social Security benefits. The idea drew loud objections from Democrats.

Now Democrats are waiting to see what Obama proposes to do with Medicare, the government health care program for older people.

In his talks with Boehner, Obama was willing to go along with gradually increasing the eligibility age for Medicare beneficiaries from 65 to 67. That idea has run into opposition from Democrats, and the White House was deciding whether or not to leave it in the president's new deficit plan.

"Potentially raising the retirement age for Medicare is something that deserves a lot of consideration," said Christina Romer, the former head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. She said such an increase in the eligibility age is more conceivable with Obama's health care law because guaranteed private health insurance would be available to middle-class early retirees starting in 2014.

Still, an analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that two-thirds of 65- and 66-year-olds would pay more for their new coverage than they would have under Medicare.

Raising the eligibility age is "bad policy and bad politics," said Nancy Altman, one of the leaders of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition of advocacy organizations.

"What the president proposes on Monday, especially if the Republicans were to embrace it, would be harder for Democrats in Congress to separate themselves from it," she said.

Overall, the president's proposal could help reduce long-term deficits by about $4 trillion.

Under a compromise in early August that averted a threatened government default, Congress agreed to cut nearly $1 trillion from some programs. The president's proposal would reduce deficits by an extra $2 trillion. On top of that, drawing down military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq is estimated to reduce projected deficits by $1 trillion over 10 years.

Republicans have ridiculed the war savings as gimmicky, but House Republicans included them in their budget proposal this year and Boehner had agreed to count them in his talks with Obama.

In addition to the new minimum tax rate for millionaires, Obama's proposal will include revenue increases that Obama has identified to pay for his $447 billion jobs plan. Those include limiting deductions for wealthier taxpayers, closing corporate loopholes and eliminating tax subsidies to oil and gas companies. Boehner last week ruled out many of the tax increases Obama has proposed.

William Galston, a former economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, said it would have been better if Obama had presented his jobs plan and his deficit reduction proposal sooner and as one package.

"The president has generated a problem for himself by giving the appearance of not being forthcoming enough with regard to his own fiscal plan," Galston said. "He feels the need, as he should, to lean forward a bit more. It's a shame this didn't happen a whole lot earlier."

Senior administration officials say that in pushing for his jobs plan, Obama will highlight the need for long-term deficit reduction and the need to achieve it through spending cuts and tax revenue. In so doing, they will try to create sharp differences with Republicans that could serve him in the 2012 presidential campaign.

To that end, some Democrats say it would be foolish for Obama to offer a deficit reduction plan that embraces some of the deals he was prepared to strike with Boehner.

"I don't think he is bound by the compromise they were working on," said Rob Shapiro, a former undersecretary of commerce in the Clinton administration. "It has always been the president's position that in a compromise, he was prepared to support entitlement reform if the Republicans were prepared to support revenue increases."

Still, the White House considers passing the jobs bill far more pressing and Obama has been looking for every opportunity to bring it to the public's attention.

In his Saturday radio and Internet address, Obama said he would lay down a plan that would show how to pay down the nation's debt and pay for his employment legislation.

"But right now," he said, "we've got to get Congress to pass this jobs bill."

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer The Malaysian Insider
    MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer

    The partner of an American passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has spoken about how a Fox executive who was recently sacked by the news station had contacted her offering to raise funds on her behalf. Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood is among the 239 people on board the missing plane, told the Sydney Morning Herald... …

  • My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh The Malaysian Insider
    My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh

    A week after the tragic crash that took the lives of veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh and his personal aide, Michael Cornelius, his son Ramkarpal recounts the final hours with his father that fateful day. This is his story, as told to V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor. “My parents (Karpal and Gurmit) had gone to Pantai Hospital... …

  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders The Malaysian Insider
    Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr Mahathir reminds current leaders

    Malaysian leaders have been reminded not to look down on the public’s capability to topple a corrupt government as what had happened in the Middle East during the Arab spring, warned Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic). In his latest blog posting today, the country’s longest serving prime minister said that monarchs and dictators in the Middle East... …