Is Obama’s deficit-reduction plan fair?

President Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit put everything back on the table—including cuts to defense spending and raising taxes. Republican plans leave these items off the table, as we discussed Tuesday.

The president’s plan, which he outlined in a speech at George Washington University, promises to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. Every $3 in cuts would be matched with a $1 increase in taxes.

Change to Medicare and Medicaid would yield cost savings, but benefits would be largely preserved. The Department of Defense would see budget cuts.

The wealthiest Americans would provide most of the tax revenues, mostly by ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich—and thus fulfilling one of Obama’s campaign promises. The tax code would also be simplified—no doubt to the chagrin of professional tax preparers.

Obama emphasized fairness in his speech, arguing: It’s fair that the rich should pay more. It’s fair that we continue to take care of the poor, the sick, and the elderly. And it’s fair that we slow the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. Here’s the link to the White House’s fact sheet on the president’s proposal, in case you want to read the details.

The debates about budgets are debates about our values. Budgets are moral documents, as we discussed yesterday. As readers of know, I’ve conducted a series of surveys of American values. The evidence confirms that justice and fairness are core American values.

Do you think Obama’s plan is just and fair?

Or, do you prefer the Republican options?

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(Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)


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