Silly me. I thought a "balanced budget" was defined as one where receipts equal outlays and there is no surplus or deficit during the period involved.
Not to David Espo, who is chief congressional correspondent at the Associated Press. In an "analysis" piece which looks more like a tool to begin reframing the language of "balance" to mean what Barack Obama and his Democratic Party really want it to mean -- namely to describe a "budget" containing deficits as far as the eye can see that has lots of tax increases and "spending cuts" which based on the historical record never materialize -- Espo showed once again why it's more than fair to call his employer and its journalists "the Administration's Press" (bolds are mine):
ANALYSIS: BUDGET BALANCE IS IN EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
When it comes to budgets, balance is in the eye of the congressional beholder.
To House Republicans, it means a balanced budget in a decade, achieved by $4.6 trillion in spending cuts and without any tax increases.
To Senate Democrats, it means a balanced plan, about $975 billion in higher taxes and a spending reduction of about $875 billion, not counting cancellation of $1.2 trillion in existing across-the-board-cuts.
That makes the two plans polar opposites as President Barack Obama and the two political parties begin maneuvering toward yet another round of deficit-reduction negotiations.
"Ultimately the key to this lock is in their (Republican) hands and they've got to decide if they want to turn it, and that means taking a balanced approach," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat who is his party's chief budget strategist in the House.
Across the Capitol, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky offered a rebuttal.
He said that under the plan Democrats favor, "We won't get more jobs or a better economy or sensible reforms to prevent Medicare or Social Security from going bankrupt. And we certainly won't get a balanced budget."
Of course, the "spending reduction" Espo claims isn't really a spending reduction at all. It's a reduction in the amount of growth in spending -- a smaller reduction than the one agreed on in 2011 because of the cancellation of the sequestration cuts. There's still plenty of spending growth even after the so-called "spending reduction."
I wonder how far you might get if you tried to apply the Democrats' new definition of "balance" in the real world to a your checking account.
Here's how you would try. If you overdraw your account, you tell the bank that your account is really "balanced" and that you shouldn't be charged any fees or have any checks returned, even though you're in the red. All you have to do is show your friendly banker that you deposited a little more money during the month than you did during the previous month. The fact that you increased your spending by even more than the increase in your deposits shouldn't matter, because you used a "balanced approach" to your finances. After all, "balance is in the eyes of the beholder," and since you're the customer, your eyes are the ones that count.
Readers are warned that if they try this, the risk is on them. But if anyone does, I'd appreciate seeing a full report of the results of their attempt to apply the AP's and Democrats' (but I repeat myself) new definition of "balance."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.