Obama: time to start governing

US President Barack Obama warned warring politicians Monday it was time to start governing as Washington headed into another manufactured crisis threatening the fragile economy.

Obama told an annual meeting of state governors at the White House that huge budget cuts due to hit on March 1 would "slow our economy, eliminate good jobs" and leave Americans with "thinly stretched" budgets wondering what to do.

The president is demanding that congressional Republicans stave off a set of arbitrary, automatic spending cuts known as the sequester by closing tax loopholes that benefit the rich and corporations.

"We can't just cut our way to prosperity. Cutting alone is not an economic policy," Obama told Democratic and Republican governors in the State Dining Room of the White House.

Many Republicans agree that the sequester, which imposes across the board cuts of $85 billion this year from government programs, is a bad way to cut spending and reduce the deficit.

But they argue that Obama is not serious about reining in spending and warn the president that his success in getting higher income tax rates on the rich late last year is the last time they will permit him to raise more revenue.

Obama, who no longer has to worry about answering to voters, warned Washington had to "get past its obsession with focusing on the next election instead of the next generation."

"All of us are concerned about our politics, both in our own party as well as the other party. But at some point we've got to do some governing.

"What we can't do is keep careening from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis.

"The American people have worked hard and long to dig themselves out of one crisis. They don't need us creating another one."

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