In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Obama rejected calls to balance the federal budget in the next ten years and instead argued that his primary economic concern was not balancing the budget, but rather growing the economy.
"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 are going to be bringing in more revenue," he said.
Obama rejected a proposal put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan today that would balance the budget in ten years, saying the Republican House member's plan "slashes deeply" at programs like Medicaid.
"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 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," the president told me.
"So it's really, you know, it's a reprise of the same legislation that he's put before."
"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. That is not the right way to balance," he said.
The President is in the midst of busy week, during which he will meet with groups of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Earlier today he met with Senate Democrats, tomorrow he meets with House Republicans, and Thursday he will cap off his meetings with a visit with Senate Republicans.