Jeff Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, recently wrote an op-ed that appeared in newspapers around the country, and was also reproduced on the White House blog. Zients touts the 2014 budget belated released last week by President Obama:
The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget is a concrete plan to create jobs and cut the deficit. We do not need to choose between these two priorities. The President’s balanced, compromise plan proves we can do both.
Much of Zients's article focuses on what the president and Congress have done to reduce the deficit in past few years, and that President Obama's leadership has already put "us more than halfway toward the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say is needed to put us on a fiscally sustainable path." After calling on Congress to compromise and for all sides to give up their "sacred cows," Zients closes with this sanguine observation:
The President’s Budget provides a specific and responsible plan for continuing this progress. It shows how we can live within our means while further growing the economy, strengthening the middle class, and securing the nation’s future.
"Live within our means" would seem to imply not spending more than one is taking in. However, according to the White House's own budget tables, the 2014 budget alone has a $744 billion deficit. The smallest deficit in the 10-year projection is $439 billion, and that does not come until 2023. Over those 10 years, a total of $5.27 trillion would be added to the nation's debt. This gives "live within our means" a whole new meaning.