Analysis: Obama won’t try for McCain’s budget goal

Barack Obama says John McCain’s plan to balance the budget doesn’t add up. Easy for him to say: It’s not a goal he’s even trying to reach.

Not only does Obama say he won’t eliminate the deficit in his first term, as McCain aims to do, he frankly says he’s not sure he’d bring it down at all in four years, considering his own spending plans.

“I do not make a promise that we can reduce it by 2013 because I think it is important for us to make some critical investments right now in America’s families,” Obama told reporters this week when asked if he’d match McCain’s pledge.

So what is more important in tough economic times? For the government to spend more to help hard-hit Americans or to eliminate a deficit that can lead to higher borrowing costs and slow the economy?

Obama plans to raise $100 billion annually by increasing taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 a year, money that would be used to pay for health care and tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners. He has said ending the Iraq war would generate about $80 billion a year, but he’s not using that to pay down the deficit either. Instead, he said that money could help pay for more government programs like health care, education, housing and public safety.

“The problem there is that the Democrats have been very critical of President Bush for spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the war without paying for it and running up the deficit,” Bixby said. “But in effect what Obama is saying is, `I’m going to spend the same amount of money. I’m just going to spend it on something else.'”