It's far from obvious why people care about balancing the budget. So what are the most common reasons given?
Deficit hawks make the case that taxes can go much lower than recent analysis suggests if you get rid of enough loopholes and deductions. But their argument also is a reminder of just how hard it would be.
Simpson-Bowles is often advertised as a plan that would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion, through a 3-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases. But this doesn't always give an accurate picture of the plan.
The reigning deficit hawks have a new plan: Get Congress to "fast-track" a big fiscal package that would allow individual members and committees to work out the details of a budget deal, but prohibit the filibuster to avoid gridlock. But would it work?