Obama targets wealthy in budget pitch

President Obama on Tuesday touted his $3.9 trillion budget as a "balanced and responsible" way to create jobs and drive down the deficit during an event at a Washington, D.C., elementary school.

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"Our budget is about choices. It's about our values," Obama said. "As a country, we've got to make a decision if we're going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, or if we're going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American."

The president's proposal includes $56 billion in new stimulus spending, $302 billion in infrastructure improvements over the next four years and tax breaks for low-income workers, paid for by increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

"Right now, our tax system provides benefits to wealthy individuals who save, even after they've amassed multimillion dollar retirement accounts," Obama said. "By closing that loophole, we can help create jobs and grow the economy and expand opportunity without adding a dime to the deficit."

The president argued that his spending initiatives — including 45 high-tech manufacturing hubs and universal pre-K — would generate new jobs and higher salaries.

"We know that the country that wins the race for new technologies will win the race for new jobs," Obama said.

And Obama said his proposal would help future generations as they "continue to deal with the effects of a warming planet."

"This budget proposes a smarter way to address the costs of wildfires, and it includes over $1 billion in new funding for new technologies to help communities prepare for a changing climate today and set up incentives to build smarter and more resilient infrastructure," Obama said.

Republicans have blasted the proposal, with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declaring it the president's "most irresponsible budget yet."

"Spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much, it would hurt our economy and cost jobs," Boehner said. "And it offers no solutions to save the safety net and retirement security programs that are critical to millions of Americans but are also driving our fiscal imbalance."

The president's budget proposal has virtually no chance of enactment, and the proposal did not include concessions — including cuts to entailment programs lie Social Security — that had been included in prior versions in order to entice Republican support.

In his remarks, Obama vowed to fight for his approach "this year and in the years to come as president."

"At a time when our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years, we've got to decide if we're going to keep squeezing the middle class, or if we're going to continue to reduce the deficits responsibly while taking steps to grow and strengthen the middle class," Obama said. "The American people have made clear time and again which approach they prefer."