'This Week' Transcript: Jack Lew, Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum

LEW: Well, you know, insurance plans are like that. All preventive care costs money upfront to prevent other costs over time. So this is not any different than any other form of preventive health care. You don't look at a health care plan based on each incremental cost. You look at it what they call actuarial cost. And on that basis, we think that this is something that's totally consistent. If anything, it could save money over time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: On the broader economy, the president's new budget is coming out tomorrow, and I want to begin by sharing what the president said about tackling the deficit when he took office back in 2009. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Today, I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, tomorrow's budget's going to make it clear that that promise will not be kept, not even close, really. The deficit will be well over $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row. Why?

LEW: You know, George, as I think you know, when we took office, the economy was falling so fast that the first thing we had to do was put a bottom in. That cost money in the Recovery Act. It cost money in terms of lost revenue and slower economic growth. We're on track now. We've seen several months of sustained economic growth and job creation, but we're not out of the woods yet. That's one of the reasons that we still need even this month for Congress to take action and pass the extension of the payroll tax cut.

The president's budget is a plan for 10 years, and over the 10 years, what it would do is bring the deficit down to below 3 percent of the economy, which means that we won't be adding to the deficit based on current spending. Secondly, it'll bring the debt as a percentage of the economy down to a point that all international financial organizations look at and say is what you need to do to have stability.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But not even as quickly as you were projecting several months ago.

LEW: Well, look, the economic projections in a time of -- of recovery from the deepest recession in a generation are going to fluctuate. Frankly, in the last three months, we've had better news than we expected in terms of job growth. That's a good thing.

I think that what we have to do is focus on the long term and the short term at the same time. In the short term, we need to keep the economy growing. In the long term, we need to get the deficit under control in a way that builds the economy that can last for the future, where we build a manufacturing base, we have Americans with the skills to do the work for the future, we have energy so that we can provide for more of our energy needs, and we do it in a way that's consistent with American values so that everyone pays a fair share.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Our next guest is Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Here's what he had to say the other day about the budget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: His proposals have three things in common. They load massive tax increases on small businesses and hard-working families. They require bureaucratic rationing in government health care programs. And they hollow out our national security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your response?

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