Obama, on US jobs tour, chides Europe on debt woes

Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:12pm EDT

Related Topics

* Obama steps up US pressure campaign on Europe crisis

* President says European leaders must act faster

By Alister Bull

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept 26 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday that Europe's debt crisis was "scaring the world" and eurozone leaders were not acting fast enough, underscoring concerns about the fallout for the U.S. economy and his own re-election chances.

Obama's pointed remarks, delivered at a townhall-style meeting in California that focused mostly on his $447 billion U.S. jobs plan, added to Washington's pressure on Europe to move more forcefully to contain its fiscal troubles.

There is growing concern within Obama's administration that a deepening of Europe's sovereign debt crisis could pitch the already-stagnant U.S. economy back into recession at a time when he faces a daunting 2012 re-election bid.

Obama said the U.S. recovery suffered setbacks this year due to problems around the world, including the Arab Spring uprisings that drove up energy prices and worries about the financial health of European countries.

"They have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges that their banking system faced. It is now being compounded with what is happening in Greece," Obama told an audience of about 400 in Mountain View in California's Silicon Valley.

"So they are going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world and they are trying to take responsible actions but those actions haven't been quite as quick as they need to be," Obama said.

His latest criticism of the European response followed an IMF meeting in Washington where the United States and China piled pressure on Europe to get to grips with its debt crisis.

But Obama faces fiscal woes of his own. Moody's Investors Service said his deficit reduction plan would be positive for America's credit ratings but chances of its implementation are "extremely low."

TOUTS JOB PLAN

Obama, on the West Coast to raise funds for his campaign and tout his jobs-creation proposals, has seen his approval ratings hit by worries over persistently high unemployment above 9 percent.

The Democratic president, who pushed through an $800 billion economic stimulus plan in 2009, has set out a new plan of new spending and tax breaks aimed at creating jobs.

Republicans, who have accused him of wasteful spending in the past, have given his package a cool reception because it would be paid for with tax increases on high income earners, but say they are willing to consider some of his ideas.

At his appearance in Silicon Valley, Obama chided Republicans on Monday for what he depicted as an effort to shield the wealthy from taxes at the expense of middle class Americans.

But he was not as strident in his criticism of his political foes as he was on a Sunday night California fundraiser where he mocked Texas Governor Rick Perry, a top contender to win the Republican presidential nomination, for questioning the human causes behind global climate change.

Obama has deliberately hardened his attack against Republicans in recent weeks, sharpening differences between the two parties before next year's election in a bid to energize his core supporters, who he needs to win in 2012.

At Monday's event, Obama faced mostly gentle questioning from the audience. One middle-aged man, who said he was unemployed by choice after having profited well from an Internet start-up, asked the president to raise his taxes to support programs like education.

The call echoed billionaire investor Warren Buffet, who urged the rich to pay more in tax, prompting Obama to propose a Buffett Rule that people earning $1 million a year pay at least the same tax rate as less wealthy Americans.

Republicans have insisted that raising taxes on higher-income Americans would hurt job creation.

"The income of folks at the top has gone up exponentially over the last couple of decades while the incomes of the middle class have flatlined over the last 15 years," Obama said.

The townhall meeting at the Computer History Museum, hosted by professional networking site LinkedIn Corp (LNKD.N) in the heart of Silicon Valley, is the latest in a string of Obama events to press Congress to pass his $447 billion jobs bill. (Additional reporting by Laura MacInnis; Writing by Matt Spetalnick and John O'Callaghan; Editing by Jackie Frank)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
Duffminster wrote:
The Problem is that the Tea Party and the Republicans have been stuck on TRICKLE DOWN/UP ECONOMICS and their slogan NO NEW TAXES, ESPECIALLY ON THE RICH for 40 years and its a complete failure, just as the 40 year experiment in currency backed only by debt and poor government policy has resulted in a massive transfer of wealth to the rich and super rich from the vast majority of America as US policies reward those who move their jobs and factories to Communist Authoritarian Capitalist China and third world nations where slave labor conditions and wages provide lower costs of production.

Thanks to GATT, WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA and other progams, the US has pretty much embarked on a path in which it selling democracy and US sovereignty and US citizens down the road for the short term gain of nationaless, heartless multinational corporations who have no loyalty to US workers and citizens but which are given “super citizen” status by the radical right wing activist supreme court that believes that money=free speech, hence allowing those with the most money by far, the giant multinational corporations to influence campaign finance and the policies that US government passes into law than the citizens of the United States.

Corruption has moved into a point of a near end game where there is only a vestige of true Democracy remaining and the US people have been dumbed down by TV and have lost their revolutionary spirit that has always been the bench mark of true freedom, representative government and the American way.

Bing Duffminster

Sep 26, 2011 7:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.