- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 21, 2009

President Obama trumpeted the paycheck tax cut portion of his economic stimulus plan Saturday morning, also using his weekly radio address to preview his first federal budget that he said would be “sober” and mindful of the deficit.

Mr. Obama said the fiscal year 2010 budget he will submit to Congress on Thursday will be “sober in its assessments, honest in its accounting.” The blueprint for all the federal government’s spending “lays out in detail my strategy for investing in what we need, cutting what we don’t, and restoring fiscal discipline,” the president said.

He also said thanks to the $787 billion stimulus he signed into law Tuesday in Denver, the average American worker will get an extra $65 per month starting April 1.

“Because of what we did, 95% of all working families will get a tax cut — in keeping with a promise I made on the campaign,” he said. Mr. Obama said starting Saturday morning the Treasury Department would direct employers to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from paychecks, translating to the $65 average monthly increase.

“Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans,” the president said.

The president said all the parts of his economic policy are essential to steer the nation toward economic recovery.

“We can’t help people find work or pay their bills unless we unlock credit for families and businesses. We can’t solve our housing crisis unless we help people find work so they can make payments on their homes,” he said. “We can’t produce shared prosperity without firm rules of the road and we can’t generate sustained growth without getting our deficits under control. In short, we cannot successfully address any of our problems without addressing them all. And that is exactly what the strategy we are pursuing is designed to do.”

The president thanked mayors, governors and Democratic members of Congress who narrowly approved his stimulus plan with the help of just three Republican Senators.

“Because of what we did together, there will now be shovels in the ground, cranes in the air, and workers rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, and repairing our faulty levees and dams,” he said.

Mr. Obama listed other benefits he believes will come from the stimulus, including new hires of police, firefighters and teachers, and promised his administration will allow taxpayers to track the spending.

Mr. Obama touted his mortgage plan to help homeowners facing foreclosure, noted the fiscal responsibility summit he is hosting at the White House Monday, and reminded Americans he will talk about deficit reduction in an address to Congress Tuesday night.

He concluded with a warning that he has offered repeatedly about the road ahead being “long” and difficult, but added: “I’m confident that we, as a people, have the strength and wisdom to carry out this strategy and overcome this crisis. And if we do, our economy — and our country — will be better and stronger for it.”

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