Overheard on CNN.com: Readers weigh in on U.S. financial future
President Obama is proposing $4 trillion in deficit cuts.
April 13th, 2011
05:47 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers weigh in on U.S. financial future

Comment of the day: "How does one get out of trillions in debt? It's not that he's not serious, it's that the task is impossible." -lena73

President Obama lays out long-term plan

After reaching a budget deal with Republicans last week, President Barack Obama outlined his plan for reducing long-term deficits and the national debt in a speech at The George Washington University on Wednesday. His plan will reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years.

CNN.com readers reacted to his plan:

bexers24 said, "You know, I think it's absolutely wonderful that he's tackling the taxes for the rich. I am one of those people who is poor and I struggle through life, living paycheck to paycheck. If I were one of the super rich, I would WANT to give back to those who need the help."

roaringtiger said, "As an independent, I feel this is a good plan This is the most balanced approach that won't put our country in a drawn out depression while making cuts AND some moderate tax increases. This is exactly what the Bipartisan committee proposed."

smartdem said, "This was simply brilliant. The president reminded the country of the history that lead to this deficit (namely George Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy), then explained why the Ryan plan would be disastrous to the country. He then laid down the gauntlet on increases on the wealthy. Put simply, you cannot ask 33 seniors to pay for each millionaire’s tax cut. Brilliant."

BubBee said, "He never mentioned curbing the costs of illegals, pay cuts of congress and elected officials or cuts in the size of government which has grown at a rapid pace. A 20 percent cut in all 3 would save us billions a year right now."

357fixer said, "Hi, I just graduated 5th grade and I need help on a math problem. If we run a $1.5 trillion deficit each year for the next 12 years, but only cut $4 trillion in spending in the same timeframe, then won't the national debt still increase by $10 trillion?"

JoeinUSA said, "Less talk, more action. I’m tired of hearing about plans to set up this committee and that committee.... proposals to do this and do that. As Larry the Cable Guy would say "Git r dun."

Big cuts for high speed

The high-speed rail system was one of the hardest hit federal programs last week–funding was reduced by more than $2.9 billion, basically leaving the project without any funding for 2011. Critics of the system say it's too expensive; supporters say it would create jobs and boost the economy and CNN.com reader comments largely fell into one of the two categories.

Thinkpad said, "I see the oil and auto lobby smiling all the way to the bank."

aorist said, "How about ANY rail service. Most of this country has no passenger rail service at all. I lived in Germany for a year when I was in the Army and was amazed by the efficiency of their passenger trains."

Digipixel said, "There is a old Chinese proverb that says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The same can be said of a high-speed rail system. With gasoline approaching $4/gal, and predicted to go even high, would someone please, please, please save me from my own automobile!"

TK1957 said, "Compared to the parts of the world that have adopted high speed rail - we still have cheap gas! Kill these projects until we are ready (and until we can afford them)."

RalphinFL said, "The European bullet trains are highly subsidized and the only reason the Japanese trains show a profit is creative accounting by writing off the construction costs. We cannot afford another white elephant, even one that runs really fast."

xdougx said, "How about improving the low-speed rail first? Has anyone here ridden NJ Transit! The most god awful public transportation in the world!"

Are Americans willing to compromise?

The art of balancing the budget comes down to compromise, or, as President Obama words it "a shared responsibility to restore fiscal responsibility." In a CNN story that compares some of the more than $61 billion Republican proposed cuts with what was really cut, we received comments from CNN.com readers about the country's ability to compromise.

Guest said, "How about we get the red states to help out a little more? 21 of 22 McCain states (see TaxFoundation) take more from the federal government than they give. Why is it OK that New Jersey gets sixty cents back for every federal tax dollar contributed, and Alaska and Mississippi get back almost two dollars?'

Santex said, "I am willing to accept a $30 increase in my Medicare premiums and an additional two year freeze on SS benefits. What are you willing to put up? We are all in this together regardless of how we got here.” GQPublic responsed, "Until they control spending and get rid of waste, I am not willing to give another cent, period."

topherbc said, "As a part of the middle-class I don't mind some sacrifice for my country. But the wealthy, who have, in the last 30 years, disproportionately amassed so much of the wealth, should cough up said sacrifices: lump sum onetime tax, removed tax cuts, increased tax rates on future earnings."

FlyBD5 said, "Excuse me, but "raising the taxes on the rich" is a lie. What is being asked for is that the taxes on the rich be returned to the rates they were paying before Reagan slashed them and caused the country to enter the vicious circle spiral it is in."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Bobman

    I understand not 'raising taxes on the rich' sounds bad...why shouldn't they pay more? They have enough don't they?
    ... However its such a backwards assumption...how much is too much. the top 3 percent pay nearly 50% of all taxes in the country!
    The issue is not, and has never been a revenue issue...the government gets more than enough trust me. It's a spending issue...getting more money to throw into a tangled pit of redundent/pointless government agencies and red-tape is only a solution if you're an absolute moron, and do things because they feel good.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill Ball

    To Congress and the President.........Thanks for screwing up our country............We are a laughing stock with bozoes doing the bidding of lobbyists

    April 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Curt

    10% unemployment, outrageous health care costs, jobs being shipped overseas. To borrow from Sarah Palin.. How's that tax-cut-to-wealthy thing working out for ya?

    April 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I believe the unemployment rate is coming down. Slowly, but finally the jobs are showing up in the private sector. Kill off Obama-Care and the EPA carbon taxing nonsense and it will imprve even more. Better still, promote domestic oil drilling and coal mining and powerplant production and you will see the economy boom. The fields are all high paying jobs that really help stimulate the economies of their local regions. However, it takes money and capital to start businesses and hire people, so if we continue to confiscate that money, there will no one around to hire you.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Curt

      I would be all for tax cuts to wealthy.. if they actually worked. The Bush tax cuts to wealthy were enacted nearly 8 years ago and what have they done for us?

      April 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      They worked quite well. The economy was growing until 2006. that year we had the real estate bubble and the first gas price spike. Those two combined to cripple our economy. Look at the irs.gov web site and you will see that revenues increased after the Bush tax cuts were enacted. They didn't cause the defecits, over spending caused them.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Curt

    If you ask me, the Tea Party has launched "class warfare." Warfare against the poor and middle class.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sandi

    I believe I read in a very GOOD BOOK to render up to Ceaser what is due to him..I don't think this excludes the rich from paying. It also says in this Book that it is harder for a rich man to get into Heaven than a camel to go through the eye of a needle. I'm thinking the GOP and the rich folks may need to rethink their position...I'm just saying!!

    April 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pat

    freeze all spending at current levels of all programs regardless. cut 10% per year from all funding of those programs tiil deficit is gone. Cancel all foreign aid regardless.They will just have to understand.don't refund any programs till we have a 25 trillion surplus and owe nothing to any lender.cancel all tax deductions for everyone private and corporate.rates the same as at present rate.35 corp or private ,etc.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matt

    Sandi – Unless you are in the upper income brackets you aren't giving anything to "Ceaser". In that sense the GOOD BOOK also says Dont judge lest ye be judged by the same masure, for you judge by looking at the outside where as God will judge a man by his heart. How much do you give to charity? Do you support youth leagues? Do you provide employment for people and maintain them even through tough times when business is slow and it would bebetter to let them go and save your money? There are many a wealthy family who are geerous beyond measure. Instead of criticizing them, why not try to earn more money and join them?

    April 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    The president could tax 'the rich' back into poverty and it wouldn't be enough. We're broke, we won't come together for any real solution, the comments on the page demonstrate that. The envy and hatred of those who supposedly have the easiest lives because they have more money than others is pure envy. Pure hate. And the more of that there is from those who don't have the same amount of money the more those with money will move it out of the country, hide it or find some other way to shelter it. I can almost guarentee that the economy will not grow that fast. After all if you have enough money why work hard to make more of it if someone is just going to take it away from you?

    Broke, divided with political parties that consider each other evil and politicians who stir up hate to get re-elected.

    We're doomed.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDN

      The President doesn't determine tax policy. If you read the histories of fallen empires, you'll find that the economic disparity we are reaching at an exponential rate was the cause of the ends of these empires. I know, don't confuse me with the facts.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jon

    I have never felt the urge to express my political views before. I am an independent. I am so outraged by the Republican response that I could scream! CNN, Please get the figures on the percent Republicans vs Democrats that make over 250k a year. It is rediculous for these Republicans to hide their ties to big money with speech like the wealthy will employee the middle class, like they would not without the tax cuts. Of course they will. Where do you think they got their wealth in the first place.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Liza

    Fantastic plan and speech. I believe Obama loves our country and wants to protect our Social Security and wants to invest in clean energy. But the GOP could are less. The GOP to me now stands for "throw the middle class and poor under the bus" plan. Obama's plan is honorable but this plan is going to be difficult to execute because our President is paddling upstream with a very tiny paddle. The GOP has become the most intractable most selfish and undignified bunch–it's frightening. From what I see, the only thing they have to put on the table is big tax cuts for the rich and corporations, zero job creation plan and big oil incentives which includes more drilling. They do not have anything to offer to the middle class. I appreciate Obama's being a polite statesman about "negotiating with both sides." Unfortunately, there is no negotiating with the GOP. They don't do any negotiating. They just want everything to themselves. I am wishing Obama the best in executing this plan. The rich are going to have to pay more. Sorry, guys. Time to buck up.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      DO you know how much the rich pay now? The president 's plan is a joke because all he did was place blame on everyone else. If he were a serious leader, he wold have been out in fron the whole time, not waiting for the republicans to lead. He is a sad pathetic president, and the country will b better off with a business minded president and congress. We need more people working and producing to move forward, not more govt spending. BTW, who will you blame when we tax the wealthy out of their wealth and there still isn't enough?

      Be part of the solution, not the problem. Pledge right now to pay your own way. No govt assistance. If you won't then you are part of the problem.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liza

      @ Matt. Yes, I do know how much the rich pay actually. My rich friends pay way less than I do actually. They pay around 20% and I pay roughly 30% and I make way less money than they do. I do pay my own way. Every single cent. I get zero assistance from the government. No school loans. Nothing. And I'm still broke because I am one of those middle class folk that are falling behind. Sorry, Matt. You're a nut. Time to do more homework. And if you're super rich, Matt. Saddle up! You're going to have to pay a bit more. And you will be just fine.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liza

      @ Matt – Obama is not waiting for the GOP to lead. He can't wait for the GOP to lead, because the GOP can't lead and has nothing to offer on the table except big oil and tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Next?

      April 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Liza – Do you pay attention? He hasn't led on anything. He has left everything up to congress. His budgt didn't include any maenigful reforms. He basically told his defecit commission to stuff it after they recommended things he didn't want to hear. He waited until after the Ryan budget was published before deciding to "get tough" on the defecit. And when he has his golden moment to sieze the day to be a bold leader, a uniter to bring us all together what does he do? He spends the first 20 minutes of his speech criticizing the Ryan plan and touting liberla agenda as the greatness of America. He isn't a leader. A leader stands up and maes tough decisions, spells out a way forward, takes responsibility for HIS defecits (3=trillion and counting) and tries to rally everyone behind him.

      Only 2 more years of this fraud.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @Matt-Wah. Wah. Wah. You have already stated you would take from your employees, so whats the problem Matty. No matter what the rich always have the republicans. You can send your lobbyist to capital hill and cry. The middle class will choose the next president that will help them. We have decided to vote, we have decided to vote for our country, we are the working engines of this country. If your business is too much for you and you do not treat your workers right, you can always hire family. The middle class is done, done with rich little boys and their big toys. We may want less hours with you and more hours with family. WE are the engines that can.

      April 14, 2011 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Matt

    What we need to do is to quit subsidizing the gigantic military machine which has become a drain on the national economy and just say no to the MIC(military-industrial-complex) which now controls the majority in Congress and the White House. In other words,get rid of all the charlatins in Washington who head the MIC!!!

    April 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Good post,Matt. That's exactly what we need to do,break the stranglehold of the MIC on the government. Unfortunately,most people are just too ignorant to see that and therein lies our country's downfall,sadly enough.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SDN

    I've intentionally avoided using the terms, Democratic, Republican, conservative or liberal in my posts over the past few months – I've since come to my senses. The responses to the President's speech by Republicans is an embarrassment to our nation, and a slap in the face of civility. If there is a segment of our citizenship that believe that embarrassing our nation, and dispensing with civility are positive, or even acceptable qualities, I'd be more than happy to provide them transportation across either of our borders – today.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I see. the President was much more dignified as he called the Ryan plan a disgrace? Saying that seniors would be forced to pay 6000 for medical care so we can give tax cuts to millionaires? WOW, he is a class act. Obama is an empty suit with no ideas and who doesn't even begin to know how to lead. Neither plan cuts deep enough. until we get our spending equal to our revenues, then we will not fix the problem. The presidents plan is a joke that will add 10+ trillion over the next 12 years, how is that a good thing?

      April 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      But you still want your tax cut right Matt?

      April 14, 2011 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. nocentralizedbanks

    Ron Paul can free America from the private centralized bank called The Federal Reserve. He will stop our army from invading countries. The Nanny State government will end. State sanctioned monopolies will be busted up, creating new companies and jobs.

    Vote for Ron Paul!

    April 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Donald Speaks

    Relax folks. Elect me as Prez and problem solved. I'll fire them all, get a new wig to wear and use my Billions of $'s to knock down that debt. And I'm going to construct the biggest tent on earth for when gaddafi visits me in Washington. The oil, the oil we need it all now.

    But first, before I do anything, I need bama's Kenyan birth certificate.

    Folks, the repubs have spoken. They pick me and Huckie to support for the 2012 GOP prez nomination.

    This is reality folks. It's my reality soon to be yours.

    Love, The Donald

    April 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    Until Congress allows US to audit the Federal Reserve, we will never know the true shape of the economy. How can one's personal finances be brought back into order without an financial audit? Yet year after year, decade after decade, Congress refuses to call for an audit of the Fed. Oh sure, one or two congressmen might call for an audit, like Ron Paul did again this year. But nooooo! We can do it! (without even knowing where we stand)

    April 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      What is the procedure and what does it take, vote? What?

      April 14, 2011 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
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