As far as the glory years of Clinton, the budget wasn't balanced until the GOP won the House in 94. Clinton saw the writing on the wall and tacked to the left, because he wanted to win re-election.
I only brought up Clinton because Obama used Clinton and his term to paint himself as a centrist.
Clinton was fortunate that Reagan had lowered tax rates and that the Republicans under Newt brought spending down.
As a percent of GDP the feds spent 19.4% while Clinton was POTUS. The govt. under Obama is spending over 24% of GDP.
THAT IS ALMOST 20 PERCENT MORE!!!!
Cut spending is job 1, looking at raising taxes is job 2; but let me reiterate what a wise man once said not too long ago; "you don't raise taxes in a recession". So I guess now that the recession is over you can go full speed ahead and sock it too 'em.