Obama dismisses balancing budget for 'sake of balance'
March 12th, 2013
08:16 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama dismisses balancing budget for 'sake of balance'

Washington (CNN) – The push in Washington over reducing the federal deficit and producing a balanced budget shouldn't be at the expense of vulnerable Americans, President Barack Obama said in an interview on Tuesday.

His comments came the same day Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, unveiled a plan that aims to balance the budget in 10 years.

Obama said his own plan, which the White House said should be out the week of April 8, would not include that objective.

"My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance," Obama told ABC News. "My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work, and if we do that we are going to be bringing in more revenue. If we control spending and we have a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance – but it is not balance on the backs of the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families that have disabled kids. That is not the right way to balance our budget."

In the budget presented Tuesday, Ryan proposes balancing the budget over a decade, finding savings in government spending by eliminating most of Obama's health care reforms and streamlining the federal tax code. The plan closely mimicked Ryan's previous budget plans, which have been harshly criticized by Democrats, including Obama.

The president wasn't any less biting in his assessment of Ryan's plan Tuesday, saying the cuts included in the budget were indefensible.

"We're not going to balance the budget in 10 years," Obama said. "If you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to 'voucherize' Medicare, you have to slash deeply into programs like Medicaid, you've essentially got to either tax middle class families a lot higher than you currently are, or you can't lower rates the way he's promised."

Instead, Obama pointed to measures enacted during the presidency of Bill Clinton – where his interviewer, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, served as an adviser.

"Balancing the budget depends, in part, how fast you grow. You remember, you were in the Clinton administration. The reason you guys balanced it was a combination of tax hikes, spending cuts - and the economy grew," Obama said.

Filed under: Budget • Paul Ryan • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Is Obama that stupid or that igornant? The Nation is drowning in debt ant either Obama has no clue or he is still selling that Snake Oil. The Lberal's will play but you will pay. That what you want??

    March 12, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. Catmandew

    Obama must think he is slick Willie! We will see he is again last to post a budget! No wait he never has posted a budget, no wonder we are so messed up fiscally! Anyone who has done a bankruptcy knows you have to make a budget to solve these kinda problems!

    March 12, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  3. sonnie3

    Obama is all about control and BIG government. He never held a private job that would have gave him some smarts that a budget,and that it is a good thing and uncontroled spending and tax hike leads to a Nation Going down the tubes.

    WE have a spending problem and we need to gut the fat and live within our means. And the fat is every where government get its hands one.

    March 12, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. sonnie3

    Time to get real. We have a bloated spending problems with our government leaders. They stand to get rich with the crooked system now in place. Cut the fat from the pig and balance the budget. The longer we go with the spending out of control the harder and longer the bottowm will be when we as a nation fail. Elect some common sense people next time around and get some term limits in congress will go a long way to solve the problems we face.

    March 12, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. Ed1

    Don't want to do the right thing and stop overspending do we.

    March 12, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  6. rla

    For the sake of balancing the budget??? Wow can this guy shovel it! Try this - If we don't do these things now the nation is in danger... Amazing how community organizers see the world.

    March 12, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. aicohn

    How about balancing it for the sake of not turning into Greece?

    Do you who voted for him have a clue yet what an awful mistake you made?

    March 12, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  8. jpmichigan

    Stop the spending and balancing the budget will grow the economy. To much is given out freely to those who can and won't work. Obamacare is hindering job growth therefore hindering the economy. Small companies cannot afford to hire and then must cut the hours for those who do work. Many find it is cheaper to pay the tax on Obamacare then to give employees healthcare. What is wrong with this picture, that our President refuses/ will not look at , see what is happening. 4 years have taught him nothing.

    March 12, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  9. RINO Bill

    Republicans only seem to care about balancing the budget when the president is a Democrat. It would have been nice if they pulled this crap on Bush 43 while he was spending money like a drunken sailor on leave.

    March 12, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Where were all the balanced budget screamers when Bush ran up all this debt? Yeah, they were silent. What a bunch of fools and tools!

    March 12, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. PissedOffTaxPayer

    Smart Entitlement Packages over a balance budget? Are you for real? Entitlements for who? Surely not the tax paying middle class suckers that have no choice but to pay for it. Just another Dem plan to recruit and increase their base by giving away free "entitlements". Communism and Socialism didn't work in other parts of the world so why would anyone think it would work here? I served my country for 20 years and fear it was for nothing as we will leave a country worse off for our children then when I joined. A sorry state and the politicians that allowed the US to get this way should be ashamed.

    March 12, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  12. jack878

    The story said "eliminating most of Obama's health care reforms" Obamacare is not about reform, it's a brand new entitlement.

    March 12, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  13. spanglish

    Obama and the Democrats as always they do not have an idea of mathematics, they are a bunch of hot air with no idea of governing the couuntry

    March 12, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  14. Grendel

    Yep. And then Bush became President and decimated everything Clinton did. Caligula II.

    March 12, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  15. WatrGrrl

    Well, buying 2,700 APC's and 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition kinda makes me wonder what yer up to, slick... I know you don't care about either America or the American economy as much as you care about yer "peaceful Muslim nations," so I guess a little thing like a budget doesn't count for much...

    March 12, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    Paul Ryan defends his retread budget by saying he and other heartless Repubs shouldn't abandon "their principles" of coddling the rich and trying to balance our federal budget on the backs of the more vulnerable among us.

    Fine. Whatever. I don't give a flying rat's behind if you don't "abandon" your principles.

    IT DOES NOT MATTER because President Obama was re-elected based on HIS principles of having the wealthy pay their fair share and NOT gut our social safety net.

    I am SO sick and tired of these Repubs! They LOST the popular vote in the House; they did NOT gain control in the Senate. And their flip-flopping, out-of-touch, soulless automaton did NOT win the Presidency.

    Repubs are represented – but they should NOT dictate the terms of the budget deal. PERIOD.

    March 12, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  17. Larry L

    "Lyin' Ryan's" plan to balance uses a long list of assumptions that aren't based in fact. He assumes we'll repeal Obamacare after 32 failed attempts. He is correct in that destroying Medicare and Medicaid could create the perception of a savings. In reality people will get with disasterous medical bills or low-ball healthcare Medicare is raped by Wall Street. Those now using Medicare will just use the E.R. as their HMO then pass the costs along to the consumers – like we did before Obamacare. Hiding costs or passing it along to the states is deceptive and delusional.

    March 12, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  18. Ja

    The GOP is full of it, their were in the sand during the Bush administration

    March 12, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  19. freedom

    How about for the sake of our country??? What is he talking about? Obamacare is destroying our economy and job growth. His ego is beyond belief. Hubris = downfall.

    March 12, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  20. me

    Fact is he has NO interest in balancing the buudget. If he did he would have been working on that instead oof his golf swing

    March 12, 2013 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  21. HenryMiller

    Of course "Obama dismisses balancing budget!" He's a spendthift jerk who doesn't care in the slightest if he bankrupts the country.

    March 12, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. Tony steinke

    So Obama wants to spend more to increase revenue-OK. Nancy Pelosi said UE benefits stimulate the economy. Why don't we all just go on UE and the economy will be busting at the seams. This President is so full of demagoguery it is not funny. He called Bush 2 unpatriotic in 2008. I wonder what he considers himself? I am not in full support of Ryan's Plan but I think it is a good foundation.

    March 13, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  23. J.V.Hodgson

    Here we go again its almost the same package that he and Romney lost the election on. it also guts obamacare and hello, what chance do you think any democrat will go for a budget containg that item.
    Please nore he assumes 3.4% annual GDP growth but I see nothing in his plans that will effectively achieve that growth level. The tax changes re loophole closing and tax breal elimination have been proposed by Obama on many occasions.
    I sugget therefore that this years budget cuts go ahead i.e $1.2 tr sequester with flexibility on defense and flexibility to dems on where to cut no shirking on the amount That base gets carried thru into 2013/2014 budget. and we start tax reform off with closing corporate tax loopholes and eliminating tax breaks and that gets baked into 2013/2014 starting point budget. from both sides.
    Then we need a Bi partisan commission to look at further tax reform and reforms of or cost efficiency savings in medicare and medicaid and sensible reform of social security. Please come up with a bill approved by both house and senate appropriations committees before end september 2013.
    That said we really do need some government lead funding of Infrastructure education and research spending for longer term economic growth/ competitiveness.
    The europeans have proved that in this global economic environment AUSTERITY ONLY IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION.
    Would it be life ECONOMICS were so simple!!

    March 13, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  24. Larry L

    "Lyin' Ryan" trusts the bankers, brokers and hedge fund managers on Wall Street to make healthcare decisions for our senior citizens. Do you?

    March 13, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  25. scowdie

    I can hardly believe this pres. doesn't want to balance the budget.No budget for 4yrs,his is late.Please Bill Clinton come and help this incompetent ignorant Obama.Most of the American family have a budget

    March 13, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
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