The problem with campaign rhetoric is that you’re stuck with it if you win.
The danger is that people might just believe you can really do all the wondrous things you promise and if you don’t deliver, they get angry. That, in part, helps to explain what happened to President Obama and congressional Democrats last week.
Now, it’s the Republicans’ turn to see if they can live up to their campaign rhetoric. On the fiscal front, they have set a very high bar for themselves.
Republicans campaigned on a written pledge to put the nation on a path to a balanced budget by cutting spending and not raising taxes.
It is easy to see the political appeal in that promise. Most people think the deficit is too big and that the federal government spends too much. Very few want to see their taxes go up.
The problem with the Republicans’ pledge is that the numbers don’t add up.
Forget ideology and just look at the projections. Last year’s deficit came in at $1.3 trillion. This year, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects a deficit of $1.1 trillion. Beyond then, CBO projects 10-year deficits totaling $6.2 trillion.