President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he would not “chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance” over the next 10 years but would rather work to expand the nation’s economy.
“My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance,” Obama told ABC News
in an interview. “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.”
The president attacked Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s fiscal proposal introduced earlier on Tuesday. The plan would balance the budget in a decade — but Obama said it would “slash deeply” into entitlement programs.
“We’re not gonna balance the budget in 10 years, because if you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucher-ize 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,” Obama told ABC.
“So it’s really, you know, it’s a reprise of the same legislation that he’s put before,” the president added.
“If we controlled spending and we have a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance — but it is not balance to, on the backs of the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families that have disabled kids,” Obama said. “That is not the right way to balance.”
In response to Obama’s remarks, Ryan said if the president and Senate Democrats do not balance the budget, the United States will face similar financial woes as in Europe.
“He’s never balancing the budget. That’s the point they’re making,” Ryan told Fox’s Sean Hannity. “Never, meaning, we have a debt crisis — and what happens is if we never balance the budget, if we keep on adding deficit upon deficit, we have a debt crisis like Europe has.
“That means, seniors lose their healthcare benefits,” Ryan added. “That means people in the safety net, get the safety net cut and they go on the streets. That means you have a recession.
“These things we prevent from happening by balancing the budget. Balancing the budget is but a means to an end: It’s growing the economy,” Ryan told Hannity. “It’s creating opportunity. It’s getting government to live within its means. It’s doing what all families and businesses do, which is making sure you don’t live beyond your means. Make sure you give your kids a debt-free nation.
“That’s what we’re proposing — and so when you see the president and the Senate say they never, ever want to balance the budget, I just don’t think that’s leadership.”
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