To balance the budget that quickly with no tax increases and without touching Medicare, Social Security and the defense budget, virtually everything else in the federal budget would have to be slashed between 40 and 50 percent, said Joshua B. Gordon, policy director of the Concord Coalition. . . .
Balancing the budget in a decade poses a host of difficulties, said Gordon, one of Washington’s foremost advocates of fiscal discipline.
“If you are not wanting to raise revenues and if you’re trying to protect these programs [such as Social Security and Medicare], it really becomes mathematically impossible to balance the budget that quickly,” Gordon said. “If you try, you’re almost certain to slow the economy, which will mean less revenue, which will make it even harder to balance the budget.”
Beyond that, cutting federal spending that quickly would inevitably push many costs down to the state level. Budget experts said that’s particularly true of Medicaid, which Romney has proposed turning into a block grant program in which states would get limited federal funds to run their health care programs for the poor.
“The states are going to have an even harder time” under Romney-Ryan plans to reform Medicaid, Gordon said.