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Obama Calls for Greater Fiscal Responsibility


Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally in La Crosse, Wis., October 1, 2008. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

By Perry Bacon Jr.
LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Sen. Barack Obama invoked the legacy of the last Democratic president as he called for greater fiscal responsibility in Washington, arguing mistakes on Wall Street and in Washington have threatened the country's economic stability.

"It's time to put an end to the run-away spending and the record deficits," the Democratic nominee told a crowd of thousands at a rally where supporters crowded into the middle of blocked-off streets. "It's time to return to the fiscal responsibility and pay as you go, the kind budgeting that we had in the 1990s. You remember Bill Clinton left a surplus for George W. Bush."

Despite cool fall weather and a temperature of about 50 degrees, the Democratic nominee spoke for more than 35 minutes, detailing his ideas for improving the economy and reducing the deficit. He again called on Congress to pass a rescue package that would help ease a Wall Street crisis that the Democratic nominee has said severely threatens the country's well-being.

But he pointed emphasized the deficit, telling the audience, "I'm going to start by telling you how we're going to save when I am president."

Obama said ending the war in Iraq, reducing subsidies for agribusiness and eliminating corporate tax loopholes would be among the changes he would enact. He promised to make current government programs more efficient and cost-effective and said he would appoint a "high-performance team of experts" to closely scrutinize spending.

It's not clear if such proposals would actually reduce the deficit, and some independent analysts, including the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, have said Obama's current proposals would increase the deficit by trillions of dollars, as would Sen. John McCain's.

Obama is proposing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on tax cuts for middle-income families and expand health insurance to more Americans -- while also pushing an economic stimulus plan he says he would enact as soon as he enters office, to help Americans who are struggling with the current economic slowdown.

While Obama suggested the $10 billion a month currently spent in Iraq could be drastically reduced, experts say withdrawing from Iraq will also be very expensive, and the Democratic nominee has not committed to withdrawing all troops from that country.

McCain has made been criticized for making similarly vague remarks about finding and reducing waste in government.

Obama has strongly pushed the Wall Street rescue package over the past two days, and he did so again here, twice mentioning in his speech that he would fly back to Washington after the rally to vote for the bill in the Senate.

"To the Democrats and Republicans who have opposed this plan, I say: Step up to the plate and do what's right for the country," Obama said.

Obama added that if he becomes president, such intervention would never be needed.

"American taxpayers will never again have to put their money on the line to pay for the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street," Obama said. "That's a pledge I make today, and it's one that I'll keep as president of the United States."

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 1, 2008; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Comments

This Bail Out bill should not go thru, if Bush has no compassion to sign the Economic Stimulus Package to further help the 100's of thousands of ordinary Americans that are only asking for more time to look for a job, THEN Congress should not pass this bill. How can Bush justify telling America they have to pay for a $700 Billion bail out for greedy Corporations AND say No to help thousands of those same Americans that are going to have to foot this Bail Out Bill. Shame on Bush!

Posted by: sher2 | October 2, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

NO BAILOUT! We will vote you out of office, no matter who you are. That goes for you Obama. That goes for you Pelosi. We will replace you all, Democrat and Republican alike.

Posted by: Whys | October 1, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama Calls for Greater Fiscal Responsibility??? Little late isn't it???

Posted by: Jolene2008 | October 1, 2008 2:23 PM

Mr Obama called for this restraint back in the spring and summer. This is not a Jonny come lately thing. I can understand you frustration but Mr Obama was the more fiscally conservative between McCain and Obama and that is why I support him.

I know that what I will ask is difficult but compare McCain and Obama on the economy. You will find that he is:

1 in favor of smaller deficits the first year.
2 accounting for where he will get all of his new spending (new spending will not increase deficits)
3 directing his spending towards improving the circumstances of the middle class
4. emphasizing the creation of jobs that will not leave the US
5. wanting to remove incentives to ship jobs overseas.

Neither Sen Obama , Sen McCain, nor the congress are the biggest offenders. President Bush by failing to push for more regulation of the derivative trading and oversight by the SEC, either with its current powers or increased powers is a little more to blame. But standing alone in this mess was Chairman Greenspan with his low interest rate policies and his failure to increase Fed oversight of the mortgages creation.

The people that Americans are holding responsible are somewhat culpable but Mr Greenspan having economic power that exceeds the president's is who to blame.

We the people have to be more vigilant and learn about financial matters. This mess was in the financial press but there was no one with the political courage to stand up to Greenspan and say that what you are doing by lowering interest rates and not increasing oversight is irresponsible.

What we must do now is behave responsibly and fix the problem as best we can. CEO pay in industries other than finance has been obscene for years and that and other problems must be addressed but now we need to focus on getting the economy going and recognizing that we are in for hard times. We will be far better off working together than to squabble the way we have since Bush has been president.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

As I see it ALL 3 Senators whose names appear on a Presidential ticket support this bill.

This bill gives several tax breaks but does not have any reductions in spending. That is exactly the problem some had with the Bush tax cuts (and see where we are?)

Anyway, if Obama wants to reduce spending why would he support a bill that gives tax breaks BUT does not include spending reductions?

It's illogical.

Or is it that he will do it "next time"?

Obama, Biden, Bush, Mccain, Pelosi: They are everything that is wrong with government.

Posted by: NoneoftheAbove08 | October 1, 2008 4:13 PM

Apparently you do not understand what a credit crunch is. Banks because of the assets they own which they can not get rid of are reluctant to lend. Lending is what lets consumers buy cars and houses. If houses are not bought the bank assets are worth less. Small business can't buy inventory expand services or start up. Farmers can't grow crops.

For those wanting to understand why we have to do something, I suggest Martin Wolfe a financial columnist for the Financial Times, a conservative not tied to industry or investments. He is highly respected in his field.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0fa9d526-8eec-11dd-946c-0000779fd18c.html

There is no spin no emotion, just the facts.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Do you really want someone who says anything to get elected to be your president?

Posted by: Gene-FairfaxVa | October 1, 2008 2:45 PM

Gene Obama has a very detailed budget plan far more detailed than McCain's The question is do voters want a president who feels that it is his duty to be that precise or do they want one who says much but gives details on little,

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse


Just like the pledge he made to not run for President? Or the pledge he made to aggressively pursue an agreement on public financing?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 1:23 PM

This Marks way of saying that Obama is correct about fiscal resposibility. Being as partisan as he is this is the closest he could come. The Republican argument is to attack. If you are beat on the subject then change it.

The American people need to know that on the economy their president will be as fiscallyy conservative as possible and in this election Borack Obama is that candidate.

John McCain was fiscally conservative at one time and no doubt he will point back to that time but the budget he presents in his campaign has larger deficits than Obama's.

In general McCain is less detail oriented than Obama and combined with his less organized style it leads to less emphasis on controlling spending. He talks about ending earmarks which is noble but when it comes to dollars saved it does not match Obama.

Obama is less flashy and less boastful than McCain but when it comes to attention to detail there is no contest between the two individuals.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

So Obama's full remarks included blaming the problem on greed.

Didn't he criticize McCain just last week for saying the same thing?

So we are supposed to take it seriously NOW?

How can anyone believe in any of these clowns?

Posted by: NoneoftheAbove08 | October 1, 2008 4:17 PM

You are confused. The issue of this report is deficit spending. It would help if you understood what you are writing about.Obama has been very careful about deficit spending and has pointed out how he will get the money. When McCain says Obama will raise taxes what he is talking about is closing tax loopholes.

McCain being more careless than Obama about spending has larger deficits in his budget. That is a characteristic McCain shares with Bush. Obama's care about deficits is a characteristic he shares with Clinton. We all know that there were 18 million more jobs created under Clinton. Why does McCain chose as his role model the president whose leadership led to a failing economy?

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

So Obama's full remarks included blaming the problem on greed.

Didn't he criticize McCain just last week for saying the same thing?

So we are supposed to take it seriously NOW?

How can anyone believe in any of these clowns?

Posted by: NoneoftheAbove08 | October 1, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

As I see it ALL 3 Senators whose names appear on a Presidential ticket support this bill.

This bill gives several tax breaks but does not have any reductions in spending. That is exactly the problem some had with the Bush tax cuts (and see where we are?)

Anyway, if Obama wants to reduce spending why would he support a bill that gives tax breaks BUT does not include spending reductions?

It's illogical.

Or is it that he will do it "next time"?

Obama, Biden, Bush, Mccain, Pelosi: They are everything that is wrong with government.

Posted by: NoneoftheAbove08 | October 1, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"American taxpayers will never again have to put their money on the line to pay for the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street," Obama said. "That's a pledge I make today, and it's one that I'll keep as president of the United States."
****************************************
OMG!

We shouldn't and don't have to have taxpayer money on the line THIS time either, Senator.

Maybe you should talk it over with Ron Paul. Take McCain with you. Bet you both learn something.

Posted by: NoneoftheAbove08 | October 1, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Do you really want someone who says anything to get elected to be your president?

Posted by: Gene-FairfaxVa | October 1, 2008 2:45 PM

gene, so cute, so naive.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 1, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Today's New Obama!
Claim your weakness as your strength.

Unfortunately, lot's of people will believe his WORDS and ignore his entire record of supporting spending increases. And now that the credit meltdown makes all his grand and expensive spending plans a pipe-dream, he decides that fiscal responsibility will sell.

He's slick, he's charming and he's a sham!

Let's see what "Change" tommorrow brings.
Do you really want someone who says anything to get elected to be your president?

Posted by: Gene-FairfaxVa | October 1, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

His senate record seems to contradict his latest spend wisely pandering. Can this country afford to cut taxes and spend more on social programs?

Posted by: arnoldsens | October 1, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

WHY IS AN 'URBAN COMBAT' ARMY UNIT DEPLOYING IS THE U.S.?

What about the Posse Comitatus Act? Why is a U.S. Army unit skilled in Iraqi urban combat deploying in the U.S. on Oct. 1st, the first ever domestic deployment of an active army unit stateside?

Why has the mainstream media failed to explore this deployment, and the status of the Posse Comitatus Act?

Army Times says this unit will be assigned to assist in quelling domestic disturbances, using "non-lethal weapons." Are these radiation-emitting, silent "directed energy weapons"? Is this the vanguard of a coming police state?

See: http://members.nowpublic.com/scrivener -- "Zap! Have You Been Targeted by a Directed Energy Weapon?"


Will this issue of using the Army as a domestic police force come up in the VP debate, or in next week's second presidential debate?

And how about THIS question re: the bailout?

HOW CAN THEY COME UP WITH A 'SOLUTION'
WHEN THEY DON'T YET KNOW THE CAUSE?

TARGETING OF AMERICANS BY GOV'T AGENCIES
A ROOT CAUSE OF WALL STREET MELTDOWN?

Once again, Congress is being asked to rush through emergency legislation -- to cede effective control of the economy to the government.

Officials continue to blame lax lending policies on the part of the mortgage industry for spawning this crisis.

But were lenders ORDERED to offer "easy credit" to people "targeted" by government agencies?

Is government "targeting" of American citizens a root cause of the mortgage meltdown that spawned the broader financial crisis?

Consider this:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/targeting-u-s-citizens-govt-agencies-root-cause-wall-street-financial-crisis OR
members.nowpublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 1, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

THE WALL STREET BAILOUT IS A TRAP:

YOU DID THE RIGHT THING people by stopping this 700 billion dollar bailout of Wall Street with your money. It's a trap set by the Bush McCain administration years ago to spring on you, and the World just before the November elections. It will cripple our economy for years to come by taking away money from important social programs like health care reform, education, and social security.

What ever congress does to try and fix our stunning economic catastrophe needs to be done very carefully. Congress needs to take their time, and be sure of what they are doing. Whatever is done needs to be sharply focused at helping, and protecting the best interest of the ordinary Americans. In particular the vast American middle class. 700 billion dollars is a lot of the peoples money to spend to bail out a bunch of corrupt Bush loan sharks.

When have you ever known any government plan, or project to only cost what the government said it would. Remember the war in Iraq. Bush and his so-called advisers said it would only cost you about 80 billion dollars. But we now know that the war in Iraq will cost you, and your children, and your grand children over a trillion dollars, and still counting.

So if 80 billion can end up costing you over a trillion dollars. How much could 700 billion end up costing you. Any math wizards out there. I come up with 9 trillion...:-(

My fellow human beings, just as I warned you ahead of this catastrophic economic meltdown, I must now warn you that what is ahead has the potential to be even more catastrophic than what we are going through now. The worlds geopolitical landscape has been booby trapped by the Bush McCain administration and their republican allies in congress. These booby traps are poised to spring at any time.

Fortunately the Worlds Nations have been blessed with many excellent leaders (except the US) who have been careful, wise, strong, and self-restrained in dealing with the provocations, and antagonism's of the Bush, McCain administration.

Barack Obama and the democrats are your best hope now. Tell your family, friends, and everyone you know to support them as best you can, and vote for them like your life, and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. Because it does. You will not survive 4 more years of Bush McCain.

JACK SMITH - WORKING CLASS...

Posted by: JackSmith1 | October 1, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

DrainYou, here's a REAL video for you!
www.youtube.com/TheMouthPeace
Obama's minions keep trying to shut it down, but the truth will set you free! PASS IT ON!

Posted by: RUBY2 | October 1, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama Calls for Greater Fiscal Responsibility??? Little late isn't it???

Posted by: Jolene2008 | October 1, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I wish that he would be more open about what cuts will have to be made.
At least he will reverse the ridiculous Bush Tax cuts that McCain was once against but now wants to continue.
We need real fiscal responsibility in D.C.

Posted by: mtobias1 | October 1, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what 72 year old McCain's physical health is like because he won't give us any straight-talk and release his health records, which should scare the crap out of everyone..."President Palin" anyone?!?!


As far as his mental health goes, McCain is either senile or dumber than a bag of rocks...I mean, has anyone listened to him try to talk about economics and the economy lately?


Here's some straight-talk, my friends:
.
http://therealmccain.com/economy/
.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 1, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Just like the pledge he made to not run for President? Or the pledge he made to aggressively pursue an agreement on public financing?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 1, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

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