WH: Obama 'Does Not Believe That Reducing Deficits and Debt Are Values Unto Themselves'

November 14, 2012 - 7:52 AM

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President Obama "does not believe that reducing deficits and debt are values unto themselves," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Plugging a "truly balanced approach to our fiscal challenges," White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday said President Obama does not view the issue of deficits and debt in a vacuum:

"He does not believe that reducing deficits and debt are values unto themselves. He believes that they are part of an approach that is driven by his number-one priority, which is economic growth and job creation."

Also on Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced a $120-billion deficit for October, the first month of fiscal 2013. That puts the nation on track to its fifth straight trillion-dollar-plus deficit.

At Tuesday's briefing Carney said Obama insists on raising taxes on the wealthy,  because the revenue (from higher taxes) is needed to "invest (spend) in crucial areas" of the economy.

"And one of the reasons why you need to have balance (tax hikes) in the approach you take is to ensure that you can continue to do the things that help the economy grow -- that invest in education...that lead to people being hired to work on building our infrastructure, that ensure that we're having investments in innovation and aspects of the economy that will be so important in the 21st century. Because if you don't, you’ve lost sense of your overall purpose here, which is a vibrant American economy that enables Americans to find work, work that enables them to live a good life and send their kids to school and take care of their parents.

"That's the approach the president takes," Carney said. "It’s not a pinched view of deficits and debt; it’s a broad view of how we need to move forward with the economy."

Carney said Obama wants to work with Congress to find savings both in discretionary spending and in entitlement programs as well as additional revenue from tax hikes on the wealthy.

"The president’s plan, which I know you all have read in detail, contains within it additional savings in health care programs -- $340 billion over 10 years," Carney said. "And as a whole, the plan demonstrates that we can take a balanced approach -- that if we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more, we can continue to invest in areas of the economy that need investment and we don't have to ask seniors, or parents of disabled children, or the least fortunate among us to bear the burden of getting our fiscal house in order.  That was in many ways the essence of the debate that we've been having this past year."

Carney repeated that while Obama seeks compromise, he will not sign a bill that extends the Bush-era tax rates for wealthy Americans: "That has long been his position; it has not changed.  He will not sign such a bill.  That bill would never pass the Senate.  But if somehow miraculously it did, he would not sign it."

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the federal government has accumulated more debt since Election Day 2008 than it did under all presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton, according to official debt numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.

And according to the U.S. Treasury, the fiscal 2012 federal budget deficit was $1.1 trillion -- the fourth consecutive year of trillion-dollar deficits.