American lawmakers are reelected in part because citizens know those senior lawmakers who sit on powerful comittees can steer federal money to there respective states for transportation, defence etc. thus creating jobs. It happens in every state, and is done equally by lawmakers from both parties (regardless of what they say at election time). This is a system gone wrong, and until it's changed, balancing the federal budget will be nearly impossible. Lawmakers use earmarks, backroom deals, and other accounting trickery to bloat the federal budget, and bring home the bacon to the local folks, so they can get reelected. I can't claim to have all the answers, but doing away with these silly earmarks, and greater publicity concerning what deals lawmakers are agreeing to (and what each deal will cost) would minimize excess spending, and make lawmakers more accountable. Now...this won't happen of course, but I'm bringing this up so people will realize that changing lawmakers won't stop this budget mess.