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Obama Immediately Calls For Tax Code Reform: Wealthy & Corporations Must Pay 'Fair Share

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"...the equivalent of a campaign speech."

President Barack Obama says the emergency bill Congress passed to prevent a government default is just the first step to ensuring the country lives within its means.

While the bill successfully made its way through both houses of Congress, liberals and conservatives, alike, have expressed dislike for many of its tenets. The Globe and Mail perfectly captures the negativity that accompanies the bi-partisan agreement:

The compromise deal deeply angered both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats. Many Republicans contended the bill still would cut too little from federal spending; many Democrats said much too much. Still, Republican lawmakers supported the compromise, 174-66, while Democrats split, 95-95.

President Obama agrees that the bill is imperfect. He addressed the nation this afternoon shortly after the Senate passed the bill to raise the debt ceiling and avert a potentially catastrophic default.

Speaking in the Rose Garden, Obama said lawmakers still need to find a balanced approach to reducing the deficit that includes some adjustments to Medicare and reforming the tax code so the wealthy pay more. Watch his full speech, below:

In addressing his stance on the wealthy, he said:

"It also means reforming our tax code so the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share and it means getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies and tax loopholes that help billionaires pay a lower tax rate than teachers and nurses."

It is this comment -- "fair share" -- that some have begun to question. What does the president mean when he asks upper-income Americans to pay their fair share? Read The Blaze's Becket Adams' take on what this could mean. Last week, economist and political expert Thomas Sowell also weighed and took particular issue with the phrase, writing:

President Obama says that he only wants the wealthiest Americans to pay their "fair share." But he says zilch about just what that fair share is, or even how to determine it.

Is the "fair share" of the top 10 percent of income-earners 20 percent of all taxes? 40 percent? 60 percent?...

This is another blank check that Obama wants. "Fair share" in plain English means "more," regardless of how large a share of all income taxes is already being paid by a fraction of the population, while nearly half pay no income taxes at all.

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, unimpressed with Obama's address this afternoon, writes the following:

An unsmiling President Obama, alone at a podium in the Rose Garden, with only the press corps present, delivered the equivalent of a campaign speech after Senate passage of the debt-ceiling bill. He sounded, as is his wont these days, defensive...

He touted the room still left in the budget for more domestic “investment.” He insisted that he’d get his “balanced approach” with plenty of tax hits to “billionaires and oil companies.”

Preceding the Senate vote, the House easily approved the bill on Monday. Beforehand, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi captured the mixed feelings coming from both sides of the aisle when she said:

"I'm not happy with it. But I'm proud of some of the accomplishments in it. That's why I'm voting for it."

On the whole, budget experts said that the agreement was a step in the right direction. But, most also agreed that the actions being taken aren't enough to truly tackle America's fiscal mess. Regardless, the White House says Obama will sign the bill as soon as it lands on his desk.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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