Obama dismisses balancing budget for 'sake of balance'
March 12th, 2013
08:16 PM ET
9 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. scowdie

    Can you imagine a company operating without a budget it would fail The same as this administration is doing to the American people.SOMEBODY HELP US.!!!!

    March 13, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  2. ak_steve

    If we balance the budget the Ryan way we may end up balanced but most of us will end up broke. You wonder why people think the GOP are heartless? Hmmm.... let's see – they want to cut medicare, cut social security, cut unemployment benefits, cut education spending and cut food stamps – BUT want to keep tax breaks for the rich.

    Nothing like balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. Why is the GOP heartless... well they prove it everyday.

    March 13, 2013 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  3. Indeigrl

    Obama is not going to cut spending, and he is still ignoring unemployment to pursue a liberal agenda.His legacy is in the dumpster.

    March 13, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  4. North Dallas Don

    When the Democrats get off their rear ends and offer a budget of their own then I'll listen. I don't care for Paul Ryan's budget either but at least he has one. The Democrats whine. The Republicans obstruct. And we wonder why our nation is going down the tubes.

    March 13, 2013 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  5. doittoya

    Ryan's budget looks the same as the one he and Romney ran on because it is. The same one-note opera conservatives always sing.

    March 13, 2013 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  6. Cepheus

    Sir!! It's your responsibility to protect the window, windowed,orphans and the down trodden from the robber barrons

    March 13, 2013 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  7. RomneyWho

    What's a republican? 🙁

    March 13, 2013 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
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