Ryan explains 'why' of balancing budget in weekly address
March 16th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
9 years ago

Ryan explains 'why' of balancing budget in weekly address

Washington (CNN) – As Washington continues its haggling over spending cuts and tax increases, Rep. Paul Ryan sought to explain to Americans on Saturday why eliminating the federal deficit was a worthwhile goal.

The House Budget Committee chairman unveiled a plan earlier this week that aims to balance the budget in a decade, a much quicker goal than in previous plans.

Ryan's proposal includes the repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law, and makes dramatic changes to Medicare, though they wouldn't affect current enrollees.

Selling those measures to Americans has already proved a difficult fight for Ryan, who ran alongside Mitt Romney is last year's presidential election. Romney's economic plan closely mirrored the budgets Ryan has proposed, and was the subject of ruthless attacks from Democrats.

But Ryan said in the weekly GOP address on Saturday that "the crucial question isn't how we balance the budget. It's why."

"The budget is a means to an end," he continued. "We're not balancing the budget as an accounting exercise. We're not trying to simply make numbers add up. We're trying to improve people's lives."

He went on to explain how his budget would revamp the tax code, approve the construction of the controversial Keystone oil pipeline, and cut what he calls wasteful government spending.

"If we take these steps, our economy will grow," Ryan said. "Our country will regain confidence. And we will reignite the American Dream. All we need is leadership. We owe the American people a responsible, balanced budget. It's not fair to take more from families just to spend more in Washington."

Not everyone in Washington shares Ryan's fervor for balancing the budget. On Tuesday, Obama said in an interview that he wasn't interested in "a balanced budget just for the sake of balance."

"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," he told ABC News. "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."

And on Friday, a fellow Republican questioned the single-minded focus on budgets, telling a crowd of conservative activists the attention on number crunching was a "sideshow."

"Today's conservatism is in love with zeroes," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping. I'm here to tell you, it's a rigged game. It's the wrong game for us to be playing."

Filed under: Budget • Paul Ryan
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. andrew

    Ryan is playing the old 3 cups and a pea shell game. He wants to balance the budget?? Only way we can do that is to cut spending across the board starting with the military by over 50%..all foreign aid by 100%, all SS, Medicare and medicaid, all goverment salaries by 50% and infrastructure by 30%. Post office..gone, foreign oil and all border security. So, lets see..Ryan is really Bull squatting with his 'plan' because as a PHD in Macro and micro economics his proposal is based on pure fiction...which stands to reason..he really has NO plan.

    March 16, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  2. Joseph B

    "The crucial question is not how we balance the budget" – really? So Ryan would now be supportive of revenue-increasing tax increases? Hmm.... I think that is not the case but rather Ryan has produced a wish list for his financial backers.

    March 16, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Yet he is the same financial genius who voted for two unfunded wars, unfunded tax cuts, and unfunded drug programs. He now wants the poor and middle class to pay for republican stupidity, while his rich puppet masters get another tax cut.

    March 16, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  4. GI Joe

    Why balance a budget that kills so many people? Is he more worried about money than the people of this country?

    March 16, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. James Bond

    So, the real goal is to make peoples (normal people)lives worse, they are the masters of transference and absolute liars

    March 16, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  6. tammyk tammy

    President Obama is correct, the focus needs to be on job creation. As a 47 year old who has worked consistently my entire adult life, I have found myself unemployed for more than a year for the first time ever thanks to outsourcing. That means I have contributed nothing toward my state or my local community in taxes even though I continue to use the resources they provide. For the first time ever I had to apply for heating assistance as I faced no other way to pay the bill. I am also unable to save anything toward retirement which will only increase my future dependency on government. Republicans tout economic growth, but ignore job growth which would truly bring in the revenue needed to reduce the deficits at not only the federal level, but at the state and local level. I along with millions of other Americans would love to find decent paying jobs which will allow us to start contributing toward that goal of reducing America's deficit problem, but we can't when our own house is running a deficit.

    March 16, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  7. Pk duster

    I can not believe that the gop and ryan can not under stand if most workers miss one pay check they can not eat or pay for medicine if ryan passes his budget a whole lot of us will be on the street

    March 16, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Fiscal Responsibility is severly needed in the Government. How much longer will some pass the buck? Somewhere down the line the string runs out. The Liberal's thought they could force the banks to make housing loans to anyone without any visual means of support. It didn't work. The Auto Unions got big absurd pay raises. It didn't work. The old Soviet Union had a Five Year Plan. It didn't work. Obama says we don't have a fiscal problem. Tell that to 23 Million looking for work. Tell the 50 million on food stamps. Some people are going to have to take up the slack.

    March 16, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. tammyk tammy

    To all the GOP/Teatards out there whining about taxes I ask this question: Why do I as a childless adult have to pay school taxes for YOUR kids? I have three answers: 1. Everyone else paid my way via public educ. when I was a kid. 2. Todays kids are tomorrows workers who will contribute toward keeping the programs I will need eventually like SS and Medicare. 3. It is a basic choice of what kind of society we want to live in i.e. do we encourage and support the American dream for the many or just the few. You call taxes Socialism, but I call taxes an investment in my past, present, and future. Therefore I will be happy to keep on paying for the education of YOUR kids. Like Hillary said, it takes a village to raise a child. And you tax dodgers and cheaters either need to step up to the plate or take your seat on the back benches of American history.

    March 16, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. Larry L

    Make no mistake – "Lyin' Ryan's" plans for Medicare and Social Security will destroy both programs. The wealthy have no use for those programs and have worked to get rid of them for many years. He continues to promote the "trickle-down economics" idea supported by the rich, although it's never been shown to work. His job-creators sat on their money,often in offshore accounts, while America suffered through the recessioon. Throughout the whole process Republicans blocked progress and did nothing to create jobs. Throw them out in 2014 & 2016!

    March 16, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    Ryan is wrong about how we balance the budget. Ryan's budget plan benefits the 1% at the expense of the elderly, students, sick, and poor. It is about moral justice and fairness...both missing in Ryan's plan.

    March 16, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Gurgyl

    This man is a twenty year lid kid that lack experience in life and congress–ignore.

    March 16, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Thomas

    He went on to explain how his budget would revamp the tax code, approve the construction of the controversial Keystone oil pipeline, and cut what he calls wasteful government spending.

    "If we take these steps, our economy will grow," Ryan said. "Our country will regain confidence..


    This is why the GOP is out of touch . The economy is growing , and not from any help from them. They would rather have the country fail to prove they are right.

    Paul Ryan is like Michael Bachman with out the meds !

    As GW Bush once said , " You are either with us or you are against us, Fool .me once, shame on – shame on you

    March 16, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |