President Barack Obama on Monday said tea party members need to stop pointing fingers and begin offering concrete solutions to rein in federal spending.
“It’s not enough just to say, Get control of spending.’ I think it’s important for you to say, You know, I’m willing to cut veterans’ benefits,’ or, I’m willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits,’ or, I’m willing to see these taxes go up,'” Obama said during a CNBC town hall in Washington, D.C. Attendees included about 200 college students, small-business owners and retirees.
“What you can’t do, which is what I’ve been hearing a lot from the other side, is saying, We’re going to control government spending. We’re going to propose $4 trillion of additional tax cuts,’ and that magically somehow things are going to work,” he said.
Obama also said the tea party has been “misidentifying sort of who the culprits are here” when it comes to excessive spending. He said while his administration has taken heat over the “emergency steps” taken to stabilize the economy — namely,the $787 billion stimulus that passed in 2009 — most economists agree that the country’s fiscal situation largely stem from Bush-era policies.
“We had two tax cuts that weren’t paid for, two wars that weren’t paid for. We’ve got a population that’s getting older,” Obama said. In addition, he said, taxes have gone down on his watch and are lower than they were under President Ronald Reagan.
“Understand that there are facts and a reality there that go beyond the political rhetoric. And we’re not going to be able to solve this problem just by yelling at each other,” he said.