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FOX NEWS "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript - The President's Budget


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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Good news and bad news tonight. For weeks, we've been hammering President Obama for not doing his job. The good news is we finally have the president's budget. The bad news is you might not like what's in it, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan tweeting, "Good news, Barack Obama finally released his budget. Bad news, it includes a nearly $1 trillion spending increase, a $1 trillion tax hike and record debt."

Congressman Paul Ryan joins us from the great state of Wisconsin. Night to see you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so what's wrong -- well, let's take this bit by bit -- nearly $1 trillion in spending.

RYAN: So we have a trillion-dollar deficit. We've got a debt crisis on the horizon, and it's-spending driven. And so what does the president propose? About a $1 trillion spending increase, only to be eclipsed by a $1.1 trillion tax increase. So the total deficit reduction in this 10-year budget, spending $46.5 trillion, is $119 billion. Oh, and the deficit reduction he proposes will start beginning of the year 2020, four years after he's left office.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you think this is just a...


VAN SUSTEREN: Is this a budget or a political document, in your mind?

RYAN: It's more of the same, take more from families, spend more in Washington, ignore the deficit and the debt. So it's just not a very serious attempt to get ahold of our fiscal problems. That's what we see.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, do you see any part of it that -- for instance, the chained CPI -- and if you could explain it for the viewers (INAUDIBLE) you see that as sort of an olive branch or at least reaching out to...

RYAN: That's what I interpret that as. So chained CPI -- this is another way of saying the Consumer Price Index. Economists claim that it is overstated. And so this is an attempt to make it more accurate. And what that does is it ends up saving money throughout the federal government on various programs that are tied to spending to the Consumer Price Index.

The president puts this proposal in there, in his budget. First time he's done something like that. It does affect the spending on things like Social Security and Medicare and lots of different programs.

And so we interpret this as more or less an olive branch, meaning a good thing from the perspective that he's willing to put something on the table that's controversial. We've never proposed it before. Our proposals have always been don't deal or touch current seniors, reform these programs for younger generations so that they can have these programs when they retire, so they don't go bankrupt, while making sure that current seniors don't have any changes.

This changes current seniors and rejects reforms to the next generation, like what we've proposed on Medicare, which we think saves Medicare. So it's a different approach, but at the very least, he's putting something on the table that I think he's -- he intends to be an olive branch. And so I see that as a good thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You know, and just the -- for the chained CPI, that doesn't really -- I mean, we sort of shorthand oftentimes sort of almost a little bit sloppy call it cutting Social Security benefits.

RYAN: No, it's not. That's not...

VAN SUSTEREN: You're not proposing cutting, and neither is the president.

RYAN: No, I wouldn't...

VAN SUSTEREN: It's really -- it's really how much does it grow...

RYAN: That's right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... and how -- how does it -- so that you keep the same sort of buying power for the...

RYAN: That's right. So it's a more accurate measurement of inflation, according to statisticians and economists. It slows the growth of spending. It's not a cut in spending. And it's a proposal that has been around for a number of years. President Clinton proposed something like this in the 1990s. It's not a new idea. It's new from the White House.

It saves about $230 billion. There are different iterations of this idea. But it's really the only thing in here that I would say is a serious attempt at budgeting, but it's outdone or washed out by the massive spending increases. It's outdone and washed out by the fact that he's proposing $1.1 trillion in higher taxes after he just raised taxes $.6 trillion, and a $1 trillion spending increase.

I mean, look, he says that we need to deal with this deficit. He's proposing we start reducing the deficit in 2020.

VAN SUSTEREN: After he's gone.

RYAN: After he's gone. Four years after he's gone.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think he does that? Do you think that's a political reason or you just think that that's sort of a smart way to do it, sort of ease us into trying to do this?

RYAN: Ease us into trying to do it?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I mean, like -- I mean, like -- it's a slow...

RYAN: Maybe waiting a year is easing us in...


RYAN: ... but waiting until 2020?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he -- he believes that -- that by spending money to stimulate the economy -- if you stimulate the economy, there'll be more revenues, more revenues (INAUDIBLE) the government. I mean, that -- that happens the way he thinks the...

RYAN: So that was his thinking behind the stimulus package.


RYAN: It obviously hasn't worked, but that is the way he thinks about economics, I think that's fair to say. But this is 2013. He's saying we should start deficit reduction in 2020? The debt crisis will have come and gone by then if we don't get this situation under control.

Look, we proposed a budget that balances the budget in the House. We balance the budget not just because we want numbers to add up, because we know it's the right thing to do to grow the economy, to improve people's lives. Look, if we want to restore opportunity in this country, if we want to fight poverty and get people back on their feet again, if we want to get out of this malaise we're in, this slow economy, shrinking paychecks, we've got to have a break with the politics of the past.
The president is proposing more of the same. That's the problem as we see it. And so this is one of those status quo budgets, much like the Senate budget. And that's why there's a big difference between what we propose -- he proposes to never to balance the budget ever. We propose not only to balance the budget but to save these incredibly important programs like Medicare so they're solvent without changing current seniors.


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