We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.
Commitment to Social Security
That includes, by the way, our commitment to Social Security. While Social Security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that's growing older.
As I said in the State of the Union, both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we have to do it without putting at risk current retirees or the most vulnerable or people with disabilities, without slashing benefits for future generations and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. And it can be done.
FOURTH STEP - Reduce Tax Deductions, Tax Spending
The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code, so-called tax expenditures.
In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans.
But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can't afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.
Beyond that, the tax code is also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. And while I agree with the goals of many of these deductions, from homeownership to charitable giving, we can't ignore the fact that they provide millionaires an average tax break of $75,000 but do nothing for the typical middle-class family that doesn't itemize.
So my budget calls for limiting itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320 billion over 10 years.
Tax Code Reform - Protect the Middle Class, Promote Growth
But to reduce the deficit, I believe we should go further. And that's why I'm calling on Congress to reform our individual tax code so that it is fair and simple, so that the amount of taxes you pay isn't determined by what kind of accountant you can afford.
I believe reform should protect the middle class, promote economic growth, and build on the fiscal commission's model of reducing tax expenditures so that there is enough savings to both lower rates and lower the deficit. And as I called for in the State of the Union, we should reform our corporate tax code as well, to make our businesses and our economy more competitive.
So this is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years.
Obama Plan Will Reduce Deficit by $4 Trillion
It's an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in tax expenditures -- spending in the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, protecting our commitment to seniors and protecting our investments in the future.
Now, in the coming years, if the recovery speeds up and our economy grows faster than our current projections, we can make even greater progress than I've pledged here.
But just to hold Washington and to hold me accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt failsafe.
If, by 2014, our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy, if we haven't hit our targets, if Congress has failed to act, then my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code.
And that should be an incentive for us to act boldly now, instead of kicking our problems further down the road.
So this is our vision for America, this is my vision for America, a vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future, where everyone makes sacrifices but no one bears all the burden, where we provide a basic measure of security for our citizens and we provide rising opportunity for our children.
SOURCE - White House website, which has the entirety of the President's April 13, 2011 Remarks on Fiscal Policy