That is the so-called “balanced” result of January’s “fiscal cliff agreement” between Congressional Republicans and the White House, according to a column by Stanford professor Michael Boskin in the Wall Street Journal this week.

Boskin writes, “An economically ‘balanced’ deficit-reduction program today would mean $5 of actual, not hypothetical, spending cuts per dollar of tax hikes.”

The hypothetical spending cuts to which Boskin refers are those that took effect last Friday as a result of the “sequester.” You’ll remember the $85 billion in “cuts” for 2013 are actually only cuts in the rate of spending increase. The ratchet effect continues.

Boskin continues:

Since World War II, OECD countries that stabilized their budgets without recession averaged $5-$6 of actual spending cuts per dollar of tax hikes. Examples include the Netherlands in the mid-1990s and Sweden in the mid-2000s. In a paper last year for the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford’s John Cogan and John Taylor, with Volker Wieland and Maik Wolters of Frankfurt, Germany’s Goethe University, show that a reduction in federal spending over several years amounting to 3% of GDP—bringing noninterest spending down to pre-financial-crisis levels—will increase short-term GDP.

If this is an example of a “balanced approach,” it is no serious approach at all.