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Obama: It's Time To Make Tough Choices

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President Barack Obama mentioned health care and retirement benefits today during his inaugural address.

Obama gave the address after taking the oath of office before a crowd that stretched for about 2 miles in the National Mall.


Obama, who talked this weekend about what he believes to be the need to reform the finances of Social Security and Medicare, said during his inaugural address that Americans share responsibility for strengthening the economy.

“Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age,” Obama said.

In addition to the foreclosure crisis and a high unemployment rate, the country continues to face the challenge that health care is too costly, Obama said.

“Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed,” Obama said. “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

Economic recovery work should include efforts to “wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost,” Obama said.

When Americans are evaluating a government program, considerations should include “whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified,” Obama said. “Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.”