Obama: Americans must pay fair share to cut deficit

WASHINGTON Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:56pm IST

U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured during remarks before signing the American Invents Act at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, September 16, 2011.  REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured during remarks before signing the American Invents Act at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia, September 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Saturday that Americans need to be ready to "pay their fair share" to narrow the U.S. deficit, previewing his proposals to Congress that are expected to include more taxes on the rich.

In his weekly radio and video address, the Democrat said his $447 billion jobs plan that features tax breaks for workers and small businesses, plus funds for public works projects and schools, "will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for."

"On Monday, I'll lay out my plan for how we'll do that -- how we'll pay for this plan and pay down our debt by following some basic principles: making sure we live within our means and asking everyone to pay their fair share."

Obama has repeatedly argued for the wealthiest Americans to face higher taxes with fewer loopholes and exceptions as part of the effort to ensure the U.S. debtload remains in control.

He is likely to float more taxes on the rich, as well as companies getting some tax breaks, in his Monday suggestions to a congressional "super committee" tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years.

Republicans, who have raised the volume on Washington's fiscal problems as the November 2012 presidential election nears, see higher taxes on the wealthy as a problem for jobs, given that entrepreneurs and companies would be strongly affected.

In his party's weekly address, Republican Congressman Peter Roskam said Obama's barnstorming about the jobs bill had masked other constraints on the economy that are keeping people from getting back to work.

"Washington has become a red tape factory, with more than 4,000 rules in the pipeline -- hundreds of which would cost our economy more than $100 million each annually," Roskam said.

The White House has conducted a regulatory overhaul to eliminate old and overlapping rules across U.S. government agencies. It was broadly welcomed by the private sector including major groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Roskam said more regulations should be pared back as part of the effort to tackle unemployment. "I hope the president will consider our ideas as we take a look at his," he said.

(Reporting by Laura MacInnis)

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