Balancing the Budget by 2016 the Clinton Way
Between FY1992 and FY2000, the budget in actual dollars rose by about fifty billion dollars a year, on average. Ever since, the budget rose on average three times faster per year. In fact, even if we accept the $400 billion in fiscal cliff "cuts" offered by the Obama White House over the next decade, outlays will still rise on average by $150 billion a year through 2022.
Since Democrats are so proud of the 1990s, let's follow that model from here onward. Let us ignore that we overspent the last twelve years, which means we can make real cuts from now on and still spend hundreds of billions more per year than had we followed Clinton since he left office. But let's just look ahead: if spending rises by $50.78 billion a year over the next decade, we can balance the budget in less than three years (or within four years after adjusting for inflation)! In fact, we can have $2.774 trillion in surpluses over the next decade, if the August estimates of the CBO about revenue holds true.
But of course, Obama would rather go over the cliff than replicate the 1990s -- an era that he praised during the campaign.