Obama Slams Republican Spending as Hurtful to Middle Class

CLEVELAND (AP) -
President Barack Obama ponders a question from the audience of “what surprised you the most since you have been in office,” Wednesday, at The City Club of Cleveland in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
President Barack Obama ponders a question from the audience of “what surprised you the most since you have been in office,” Wednesday, at The City Club of Cleveland in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Taking credit for a revved-up economy, an emboldened President Barack Obama on Wednesday criticized the House Republicans’ spending plan as one that offers a “path to prosperity for those who’ve already prospered” and no path to help hard-working, middle-class people get ahead.

A day after the House GOP unveiled its $3.8 trillion spending blueprint, Obama traveled to the presidential battleground state of Ohio to try to draw a sharp contrast between his approach to the economy and federal spending and that of Republicans.

Obama accused Republicans of being stuck in the past, wedded to the concept of “trickle-down economics” and proposing tax breaks for the wealthy “like a broken record” while cutting Medicare and other social programs that help less well-off people get by.

He recalled past dire predictions by Republicans that his policies would ruin the economy and stunt job growth, and noted — with a hint of glee — the steady decline in unemployment from double digits when he took office to 5.5 percent, with 12 million jobs created in the past five years and growth in other areas.

The House Republican plan favors defense spending, partially privatizes Medicare and cuts other social programs to help eliminate deficits in 10 years.

Obama’s budget proposal, a $4 trillion plan he sent to Congress last month, would target corporate profits overseas, raise taxes on the rich, spend billions on roads and bridges and reverse automatic budget cuts on defense and domestic spending. He also would spend billions of dollars to cover the cost of community college for eligible students and boost tax credits for families and the working poor.

Cory Fritz, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), countered that Republicans offered a responsible, balanced-budget plan, in contrast to what Obama sent to Capitol Hill.

“Today’s stop in Cleveland was nothing more than a political stunt designed to double down on the same tax-and-spend policies that have failed middle-class families,” Fritz said.