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Fact check: Will Romney balance the budget?

October 16, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro

Mitt Romney said President Obama failed to keep his promise to cut annual deficits in half, which is true, but the Republican nominee's suggestion he would balance the budget requires another look.

Even the austerity budget put forward by Romney's running mate, Paul D. Ryan, does not balance the budget in four years. Or eight. The budget would turn from deficit to surplus by 2040, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, as cited in Ryan's budget blueprint, the Path to Prosperity. 

"I'm going to get us to a balanced budget," Romney said, when asked how he differed from former Republican President George W. Bush. "President Bush didn't."

Romney dinged Obama for failing to keep his pledge to cut annual deficits, saying the nation's debt load had risen from $10 trillion to $16 trillion during his administration, which is true.  

A combination of lower tax revenues during the recession and higher spending to spur the economy -- along with continued rising healthcare costs, particularly with the aging of baby boomers -- have pushed annual deficits to at least $1 trillion each of the last four years under Obama. 

At the same time, the nation's debt load doubled during the Bush administration, from more than $5 trillion in 2001 to more than $10 trillion when he left office in 2009. Annual deficits have pushed the debt load to to $16.1 trillion, as of Monday.

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lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

@LisaMascaroinDC

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