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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Obama: U.S. can’t afford all corporate tax breaks

NEW YORK – Maintaining tax breaks for billionaires and oil companies would mean deeper cuts in Medicare, medical research and college-scholarship programs, President Barack Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

“Nothing can be off-limits, including tax breaks and loopholes,” said Obama of the budget battle, which had Senate leaders canceling a planned recess this week to continue the discussions as an Aug. 2 deadline to raise the nation’s borrowing limit approaches.

The coming debt-ceiling vote would have to raise the current borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion by about $2.4 trillion to get to the end of 2012. In the current standoff, the White House has proposed more than $1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years and up to $400 billion in new tax revenue. Republicans are calling for additional spending cuts and no tax hikes.

In his address, Obama argued that the nation can’t afford to keep every tax break, saying that to do so means, “We’ve got to say to a student, ‘You don’t get a college scholarship.’ We have to say to a medical researcher, ‘You can’t do that cancer research.’ We might have to tell seniors, ‘You have to pay more for Medicare.’ “

In the GOP response, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said the president’s economic plan “of spending and borrowing has failed,” and pointed to the deficit crisis and high rate of unemployment as evidence.

Coats called on Obama to put political considerations aside and adopt a policy to “spend less, borrow less and tax less.”