US Representative Paul Ryan's Republican proposal supposedly balances the federal budget -- over ten years. But it does so by keeping the taxes associated with "ObamaCare" while not delivering the programs associated with "ObamaCare." That's right -- you have to pay for socialized health care and then you don't even get the socialized health care. Oh, and Ryan insists that the federal government must continue to spend 4-5 times the maximum imaginably plausible amount on "defense."
A serious 2014 budget proposal would be balanced, on the basis of 2013 revenues and tax rates. Period.
A serious longer-term budget plan would include:
1) Balancing the budget each year on the basis of the previous year's actual revenues;
2) Automatic appropriation of any end-year surplus for additional debt service;
3) An assumption, until and unless evidence to the contrary arises, that the US is smack on top of/in the middle of the Laffer Curve -- and that any proposed tax increases or decreases will therefore require corresponding spending cuts.
Anything short of the above is just middle school horseplay.