ALL ON THE TABLE

Obama Eyes Big Cuts in Debt Plan

It's not billions we're talking about, it's trillions: After the budget showdown with Republicans last week, President Obama is preparing to announce a new plan to address the looming federal deficit. In shifting his focus to the national debt, Obama is conceding the agenda to the debt-obsessed Republican Party, but his plan will offer a radically different vision than the $5 trillion in cuts the GOP has proposed. The details of Obama's upcoming plan are a closely guarded secret, but some are leaking out: The new plan will probably propose cuts between the $1.1 trillion he proposed in his 2012 budget and the $4 trillion recommended by the fiscal commission he appointed to study the deficit. The president has until now avoided discussing the need to reduce spending for Medicare and Medicaid, but his plan will broach those topics and, unlike Republican proposals, propose new taxes on the wealthy and tackle the country's runaway defense spending. The Republican plan, proposed last week by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would privatize Medicare and Medicaid, gut benefits for lower-income Americans, and cut taxes on top earners.