Obama: Public Doesn’t Understand Budget

Also tells Americans, "Don't spend all your money."


The White House is mounting a new drive to reach out to online media outlets, including conservative ones, to set the story straight on how they view the nation’s fiscal crisis and current budget negotiations with Republicans. Because, according to President Obama, the public—and apparently some in Congress—just doesn’t understand how the budget works.

[Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the deficit and national debt.]

Expressing difficulty in dealing with those who think supporting Medicaid and cutting spending to slash the deficit are mutually exclusive, he told 22 online outlets this week, “What I think is absolutely true is that the general public does not have all the information they need in respect to how the federal budget is constructed.”

He added, “I don’t blame them. When I was not actively involved with the federal government, I had no idea what was taking place and what was in appropriations bills.”

Obama’s comments came during a drop by of the White House Personal Finance Online Summit attended by outlets as varied as Newsmax and AOL/Huffington Post. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the economy.]

He also offered up some advice to overspending Americans, according to those there, saying, “Don’t spend all your money.”

Obama told the journalists that Americans could learn, like he did, from his frugal Kansas grandmother, who rose from a secretary to executive level at a regional bank. “Her view was, ‘Save a little bit of what you’re earning,’” Obama said. “Having spending discipline is important.”

According to one attendee, the Consumerist, Obama talked about how his starter home was a good investment despite high payments. “[The] same goes for the nation,” he said, naming education and infrastructure as “sound investments” for the country, according to the site. Added Obama, “There is a distinction between spending on things that will increase your productivity and your wealth” and spending on things you merely want.

  • Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the deficit and national debt.
  • See political cartoons on the economy.
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