Obama’s budget director Shaun Donovan is too scared to commit.
It depends on what the definition of “balanced” is. What normal, everyday working people think of as balanced is not at all what Washington bureaucrats mean.
Washington bureaucrats don’t care about a budget balancing out numerically. They want it crafted in a “balanced” way. That is, they want to make sure that all their spending “cuts” are “balanced out” with enough taxes. Sure, it’ll still create a massive deficit, and it’ll still have the effect of adding substantially to the national debt, but at least it’s “balanced.”
Obama’s budget director Shaun Donovan won’t even say whether he supports the idea of a balanced budget. At the recent House Budget Committee hearing, he was questioned by representatives Marsha Blackburn and Rod Blum. As with most politicians, he used many words to say practically nothing:
“Do you support balancing the budget within 10 years?” Blackburn asked.
“We support making sure we meet the most important tasks of fiscal—” Donovan said.
“No, that’s not the question. The question is, do you support balancing the budget within 10 years, yes or no?” Blackburn asked again.
“Again, we think the most important test for a budget is does it meet the–” Donovan responded.
Blackburn cut in saying, “I will take that as a no. Let me ask you this. Do you think President Clinton made a mistake in working with congressional Republicans to balance the budget?”
“I think what we’re proposing in this budget is that we work in a bipartisan way to build on the recent success we’ve had in Murray Ryan to increase discretionary spending but more than fully offset it as our budget does, with reductions on the mandatory side, and with revenues,” Donovan said.
“But it doesn’t come into balance,” Blackburn responded.
“Again, the budget produces $1.8 trillion of deficit reduction,” the director said.
“I’m going to take that as a no,” Blackburn said. “Let me ask you this. Talking about that deficit, deficit of under three percent of GDP may be a substantial improvement. We will agree with that when you look at the amount of spending that took place early in this administration, but it will still add to the national debt, will it not?”
“Our budget reduces spending overall, compared to current law,” said Donovan.
“But it’s still adding to the debt – the debt is still growing,” Blackburn said. “Let’s see, your estimate is $22 trillion by 2025. That would be the amount of debt. Are you okay with that number? Do you think that’s healthy for the economy and the American taxpayer?”
“The key test is, compared to current law, where our debt and deficits would continue to grow as a share of our economy, this budget brings them below three percent of GDP on the deficit side and stabilizes and reduces the debt as a share of our economy,” said Donovan.
Their doublespeak with the word “balance” is just like how they define spending cuts. Cuts in proposed increases still result in increased spending, but they call them “spending cuts.”