Paul Ryan Promises a Balanced Budget

| Wed Jan. 23, 2013 10:54 AM EST

Robert Costa reports:

Speaker John Boehner told House Republicans this afternoon that the GOP’s upcoming budget will balance the federal books in a decade....According to sources in the room, Boehner made the pledge at a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement. The speaker said that Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the budget committee chairman, will lead the effort.

Well, I suppose this is possible. Paul Ryan's previous budget was out of balance by about 1 percent of GDP in 2023, and as I recall, it included several tax breaks for rich people and corporations. If Ryan simply agrees to stay revenue neutral at the level set by the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, the next iteration of his budget might theoretically be in balance in ten years.

Of course, that seems unlikely, since tax cuts for the rich have always been Ryan's primary target, not deficit reduction. But Ryan's other primary target has been spending cuts on the poor, and there's always room to nick the poor even more, isn't there?

Alternatively, he could simply offer no details at all on where spending will be cut. That's the usual wheeze. I guess we'll have to wait and see.