Obama, at K'Nex Toy Factory, Hammers GOP on Budget Reforms
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama used his November re-election victory as leverage to suggest that Americans have already voiced their approval for his budget-reform proposal.
The president, in a speech Friday at a K'nex toy factory in Hatfield, Pa., called out House Republicans and others who have resisted his calls for tax increases on the wealthiest 2% of income earners and capital gains and dividend taxes to raise revenue in a new budget.
"It wasn't like this shouldn't come as any surprise to anybody," Obama said. "At the end of the day, a clear majority of Americans ... agreed with a balanced approach to deficit reduction and making sure middle-class taxes didn't go up. They agreed to that."
The president won by a convincing margin in the Electoral College against Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Nov. 6 as the Democratic Party added to its majority in the U.S. Senate and grabbed a few seats from Republicans in the GOP-controlled House.
Standing in front of boxes filled with K'nex toy parts -- which fit together to form complex building sets -- the president reiterated his belief that Democrats and Republicans could reach a deal, but added that the long-term goal is to tackle the United States' long-term deficit in a way that is sustainable for the future.
Steven Rattner, Obama's former "car czar," told TheStreet on Thursday that long-term deficit reduction and budget reform would be the issue to "define" his legacy as president.
House Speaker John Boehner has rejected the idea of raising taxes on Americans, regardless of their income.
Making a joking reference to gift giving during the holiday season, Obama said there will be a "naughty and nice" list of legislators who will receive K'nex toys from him based on where they stand on the fiscal-cliff negotiations.
"There are going to be some members of Congress who get them, and some who don't," Obama said.
Boehner spoke shortly after the president's speech in a press conference to say that the White House had not yet released what he called a serious proposal.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.
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