Obama Invokes George Washington to Defend His Proposed Tax Hikes

By Susan Jones | September 19, 2011 | 11:45am EDT

President Barack Obama walks from the Oval Office to the the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, to talk about deficit reduction. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CNSNews.com) – The 44th president of the United States invoked the very first president on Monday, as Barack Obama called for $1.5 trillion in new taxes, mainly on wealthy Americans.

“George Washington grappled with the problem” of taxes, Obama said. “He (George Washington) said, 'Towards the payment of debts, there must be revenue, and to have revenue, there must be taxes. And no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.'

“But he understood that dealing with the debt is -- his choice of words -- 'always a choice of difficulties.' He also knew that public servants weren't elected to do what is easy; they weren't elected to do what was politically advantageous. It's our responsibility to put country before party. It's our responsibility to do what's right for the future. And that's what this debate is about."

As for Obama’s call to put “country above party,” even liberal media outlets don’t see it that way.

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According to the Associated Press, Obama’s speech was “a blunt rejoinder to congressional Republicans” and “an opening salvo in a struggle to draw sharp contrasts with congressional Republicans” heading into an election year.

Obama’s call for $1.5 trillion in new taxes is part of a 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion.

The president's proposal aims to reduce spending in mandatory benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, by $580 billion; and it counts savings of $1 trillion over 10 years from the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Republicans say raising taxes on wealth-generators in a troubled economy will only make things worse.

They call his proposal class warfare.

“Crass class warfare, a refusal to reform our broken entitlements, and tax hikes on job creators isn’t a solution to Washington’s spending problem and won’t help our ailing economy or the 14 million Americans who are out of work,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement following the president’s comment in the Rose Garden.

(The Associated Press contributed some of the information used in this report.)

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