Obama: Won’t balance budget ‘just for the sake of balance’

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

President Barack Obama said this morning he does not plan to produce a balanced budget or sign onto deficit reduction that will pass with Congressional Republicans, saying the ideological differences may be “just too wide” to find agreement.

In an interview this morning with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, the president said his goal is economic growth, not a balanced budget.

Paul Ryan today put forward his budget.

Right. Right.

And he said he’s challenging you to come forward with a budget that also reaches balance. Are you gonna do that?

No. We’re not gonna balance the budget in ten years because 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. So, it’s really– you know, it– it’s a reprise of the same– legislation–

Balanced by any point?

–that he’s put before. No. I think that there is a possibility. Look, balancing the budget in part depends on how fast you grow. You remember– you were in the Clinton administration. The reason that you guys balanced it was a combination of some tax hikes, some spending cuts, and the economy grew.

And, so– you know, my goal is not to chase– 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’re gonna be bringin’ in more revenue. If we’ve controlled spending and we’ve got a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance. But it’s not balance on the backs of, you know, the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families who’ve got disabled kids. That’s not the right way to balance our budget.

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