The only way to balance the budget and start to cover our obligations is 1) To manage spending and its growth 1) To have a reasonable tax policy that provides for a reliable income stream 3) To develop a positive immigration policy that allows broad latitude to accepting newcomers and those who are presently here 4) have reasonable but not onerous regulation and 4) To have the economy grow a 4-5%/year for the forseeable future. The first three conditions set the stage for the real driver, a strong economy. History has 2 recent examples here and a great one overseas. First Reagan and his congress cut what were then too high taxes resolve social security problems for 25 years and modified immigration policy. The economy exploded in growth and government revenues shot up. Unfortuneatly he wasn't able to control spending and between defense build up and social spending the deficit increased. Bill Clinton and his congress also revised the tax code (some went up some went down) and made other deals. This time at the Rs insistance they controlled spending. Both Reagan and Clinton streamlined regulation. Again the economy exploded government revenues went up and because we had controlled spending the deficit dissapeared. Finally at the same time Reagan was in office Maggy Thacher did the same in England. When W Bush took office he loosed the control on spending and cut taxes and fought 2 wars without paying for them and the surplus dissapeared. BHO continues to spend more and has shown no inclination to slow down and his continuing drive to over regulate the economy supresses growth. The key lesson is from these examples is that one leg of the solution tree isn't enough to do what is needed. At sometime both sides are going to need to grow up and do what is right. Frankly neither side seems willing or able. BTW this broad coverage is easy to posit and I realize the devil is in the details but if you don't lay out the problems and goals and solutions/requirements to achieve them you will never get started.