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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Filling Gaps in the White House Website, Part 72

From an interview with NPR's Michel Martin:

MARTIN: ...and you're willing to give up on some things that are important to other Democrats, to progressives. But what about — what is your message to Democrats — and perhaps I should say progressives — who say that the most vulnerable people in this country have already suffered too much in recent years and gotten too little?

OBAMA: Well, I think what's absolutely true is, is that core commitments that we make to the most vulnerable have to be maintained. And so a lot of the spending cuts that we're making should be around areas like defense spending, as opposed to food stamps. I do think that when it comes to entitlements, when we're talking about Social Security and Medicare, that those aren't entitlement programs where people aren't contributing; it would be that they are social insurance programs that people have been making contributions to, and they are the most important part of our social safety net so that when people retire, they can retire with dignity and respect.

What is true is that given the rising number of seniors, and given the huge escalation in health-care costs, that if we don't structure those programs so that they are sustainable, then it's going to be hard for the next generation to enjoy those kinds — same kinds of benefits. And so we are going to have to make some modest changes that retain the integrity of the program, but make sure that they're there for years to come. And that's not even just a deficit problem, that's a — a step that even if we were all Democrats up here on Capitol Hill, we'd have to start making, to make sure that the integrity of those programs are preserved.