Why the U.S. may never have a balanced budget again
March 29th, 2012
01:42 PM ET
11 years ago

Why the U.S. may never have a balanced budget again

Washington (CNN) - As Congress prepares to vote on the Republican budget plan submitted by Rep. Paul Ryan, some budget experts believe that he federal government is so far in the red that it may not balance the budget again in our lifetime.

"We may never, as a country, have a balanced budget again," said Marc Goldwein, policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "And you know what? We don't have to."


Filed under: Budget • Congress • Republicans
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. GonzoinHouston

    They were saying the same thing near the end of the HW Bush administration. Then along came Clinton, some tax hikes, and guess what? Economic growth and a surplus at the same time! Who'd a thunk it?

    One thing's for sure, though, we won't have a balanced budget while the GOP is so focused on stopping anything that Obama attempts. Maybe it would be different with a different democrat as president. I don't know.

    And finally, we made the Bush tax cuts on the assumption that they would accomplish certain economic goals. They didn't. Let them expire and start over.

    March 29, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. RealityBites

    No doubt its going to be real hard to balance a future buget that has to spend 60% of its income on interest payments for the last 5 years of printing money. Thanks alot Obama and Bush. Clearly the worst presidents this country has ever seen.

    March 29, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. demwit

    Of course their right. Progressive socialism RULES!!

    March 29, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Dave

    Yo Gonzinhouston, you hit the nail right on the head.

    March 29, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Anthony

    Cutting taxes is inconsistent with higher revenue if no jobs are created. You need the additional taxpayers to make up for the revenue loss when existing taxpayers are paying lower taxes. Eleven years of Bush tax cuts show that cutting taxes does not mean more jobs. Tax cuts without more jobs simply means a big deficit. Republicans need to understand math before we can balance the budget.

    March 29, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. RealityBites

    Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released new budget projections for it over the next 10 years. In March 2010, the CBO estimated the gross cost at $940 billion for 10 years. Now it forecasts the cost to be $1.76 trillion, nearly double. For the eight years (2012 through 2019) included in both estimates, the CBO now says costs will run $90 billion more than originally forecast. The law's coverage provisions (such as premium subsidies and Medicaid outlays), which cost $66 billion in 2014 when implemented, will cost $265 billion in 2022, according to the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation. These higher costs will add to the national debt since taxes cover well less than half of ObamaCare's existing price tag.

    March 29, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |

    "But ... it's just not realistic to look at balancing the budget right now. Right now, what we need to look at is bringing the debt down relative to the economy."
    When the federal government is on a spending spree for a decade and drives up the debt and almost slips the country back into a depression, how in the world do you expect to a balance a budget? It doesn't even sound like a matter of discussion at this point. The President offered republicans 4 trillion in cuts and they refused. Ultimately leading to our credit downgrade. Shame on you GOBP.

    March 29, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. The Greedy Old PIgs declared class war on US!

    Until the GOBP stops obstructing ideas that have been proven to succeed, and until the GOBP stops doubling down on its own policy failures, like deregulation and tax cuts for the filthy rich, then the US will definitely not have a balanced budget again.

    March 29, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. rightytighty

    It was Newt's contract with America that balanced the budget..., right after Clinton's big government spnding help dems lose the house and senate in 1996..., just like Obama did in 2010.

    March 29, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    Keep digging your graves. We are already throwing dirt of your political careers!

    March 29, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Follow the history of trickle-down economics and you'll see the root of our trouble. Making the rich even richer is a popular theme by politicians dedicated to supporting their fat-cat contriburo – but it never works. We've run the experiment many times now and it's failed every time. This process hammers the working class and prevents economic growth across our entire society. When the uber-rich send their money offshore and simply live off the investments they lose the drive and spirit that originally generated the fortunes – usually in a previous generation. Look at today's "job creators". The recession didn't substantially hurt them yet when a great opportunity to re-invest in America surfaced they simply sat on their money. Where are those jobs the "job creators" were supposed to create? They still have the great tax benefits of the Bush tax cuts. They still have the money. Where are the jobs?

    March 29, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. vic , nashville ,tn

    Simple Lawmakers think they are above the law
    Don’t pay bills on time
    Don’t balance budget
    But they expect us to do the right if not live in the street

    March 29, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. JOHN

    Because of people like Paul Ryan and Republicans. They rather let this country burn before they agreed with the President!

    March 29, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. cali girl

    Thanks to the Bush's and their quick decisions to fight wars has led us to the brink of disaster. I agree with Anthony and until people get back to work it will be a struggle to get the taxes straightend out. I would love to see the fatcats give their fair share, but the GnOP will see the demise of any such plan.

    March 29, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. SilverHair

    Where are the trickle down jobs promised by the tea party?

    March 29, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Kevin Z

    15 or 16 trillion national debt. Add in business and consumer debt and we are talking 30 to 40 trillion total in debt. Add in the things that will come due over the next generation and we are talking 60 trillion plus. Do people honestly believe that it is possible to get those type of numbers under control? If you look at a time line graph of the past 70 years where the "year" is the bottom horizontal part of the graph and the "amount of ALL debt" is the vertical part of the graph you will realize that the debt has rounded the curve and is growing at an exponential rate. Under the present debt based / fractional reserve monetary system there is nothing that can stop it or even slow it down!

    For all you economics majors who think "velocity of money" allows our debt based / fractional reserve system to work fine you are sadly mistaken. Velocity of money works ok to a certain point BUT once the amount of ALL debt "rounds the curve" and takes off exponentially there is no hope. Let me re-phrase – There is no hope unless you look at totally out of the box solutions.

    March 29, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Logic N LA

    This claim is preposterous! Cut spending, put our tax rate back where it needs to be and get out of debt. As the economy improves, revenues will increas and there by giving us the needed funds to get out of debt. Math is math.
    Stop voting in lawyers to do accounting!

    March 29, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Larry L


    "Where are the trickle down jobs promised by the tea party?"
    They are in China and in the overseas banking industry where fat-cats keep their money!

    March 29, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. Data Driven

    A balanced federal budget is an amusing obsession with some people, comparable to the way some men get all excited about women's shoes. It's a sad and silly fetish.

    The world's economic engine has run on debt since Sumerian times. Want a lousy credit score? Get a bunch of credit cards and never use them. A little debt is not a bad thing, but too much debt is. We can fix that by putting people to work. Increased spending by consumers means more tax revenue for the government. It would be nice if our so-called job creators would actually hire people rather than continue to sit on record profits. We can also create revenue by letting the Bush tax cuts expire - maybe some of that revenue can go toward paying for our unfunded wars. A prosperous middle-class has been the key to our past successes, so we shouldn't burden America's working people with unaffordable healthcare. Social Security also keeps the middle-class in the middle.

    The wealthy in this country have had wealth redistributed to them over the course of the past few decades by reactionary policymakers. Time to reverse course.

    March 29, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. John

    "We may never, as a country, have a balanced budget again," after the 2012 election, come January with the Republican take over in Congress and the White house, there won't be enought Democrats left to call it a party.

    March 29, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Pete

    Like other bloggers,probleby intelligent Democrates and Independents have said ,the US deficet was repaired by Pres.Clinton with also a surplus before he left office.But leave it to those hypocrital republicans who do live in a bubble and another Bush,we had another exploding deficet,with a bonus recession at no cost .It's funny to see grown men,the republicans, continually saying ,we didn't do that,not us,it was them Democrates that did it.It gets REAL OLD,the same old finger pointing from the guilty party ,mind you the republicans,the PARTY OF NO, to say they're going to fix something they actually broke for once.These hypocrites can't cope with the idea that they created this mess,no one else,no one other than them..When you were a kid you were taught to clean up after yourselves,I'd like to have a talk with Ryan,Bush and Company on the virtues on keeping your house in a clean,organized state of affairs.Maybe,that's too much to ask of spoiled little rich KIDS,who probably never had to clean up after themselves,they had maids do it,LOL....

    March 29, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Romney is not My Hero

    As long as we have "imbalanced" people voting down everything that will help this country succeed, we won't have a balanced budget. The Reichwing Circus Monkeys don't care about trying to better this country. They only want their own pockets full of money and to he!! with everyone else.

    March 29, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    Paul Ryan and That Brown Senator from Mass are the wall street pretty-boys.

    Vote the republicans OUT in 2012.

    March 29, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    @ Gonzo –

    Perhaps the one single event that caused the economic boom in the Clinton years was the opening up the internet to the public, creating an entirely new sector of the economy (eCommerce) alonf with the dot-com boom that supported it.

    March 29, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. rs

    As long as the Republicans are in their "must support Grover Norquist at all costs" mode well, sure. The rich HAVE to pay their faire share. If Willard Romney has a lower tax rate than I do something is really wrong.

    March 29, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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