the current plan to cut back to 2008 levels is a start... but it is a poor start, not a good one... we have to cut back to a yearly SURPLUS, rather than deficit... you will never pay off a credit card when you keep using it and only pay the minimum and/or interest... you have to pay it down... that means spending less... saving more.
in the US economy, that also means encouraging business growth... and you don't encourage growth by taxing those who operate businesses... you don't encourage growth by making it difficult to do business in the US... you don't encourage growth by making it financially better to operate outside the US... so, yes, you have to give businesses a REASON to grow... you have two choices... one, government owned businesses (also known as fascism) where corporations are nationalized... two, regulate market forces through tax breaks and incentives, thus creating a demand for US business growth.
but, what spending do you cut?... well, there is little to choose from... however, no previous Congress may bind future Congresses (U.S. v. Winstar Corp. and Manigault v. Spings by proxy)... so those programs which have been legislated to mandantory may be re-legislated non-mandantory... it just takes the will to do so... however, of the current discretionary spending, difficult cuts must be made... the difficulty is made easier when you look at what is available... the 2012 mandantory spending is around $2.1 trillion... the 2008 total budget was more than $2.9 trillion... that gives you (approximately) $800 billion of discresionary spending... that is less than the projected discresionary for security... that means, everything MUST get cut to some degree... you have no choice.
Steven... you have spent a lifetime understanding the principles of accounting and taxes... it's time to use that knowledge and teach the rest of Congress how to do their jobs... don't let us down.