-- Bob Collins, East Point
A: The only president to balance the federal budget was Andrew Jackson, according to John Steele Gordon, author of "Hamilton's Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt." In a 2009 piece in The Wall Street Journal, Gordon wrote: "When Jackson entered the White House [in 1829], the national debt, which had reached $125 million at the end of the War of 1812, had already been reduced to $48 million. To get it to zero he was perfectly willing to forgo what were then called 'internal improvements' and are now known as infrastructure projects." Gordon noted that Jackson, in his 1834 State of the Union address, said the country would be debt free as of Jan. 1, 1835. At that time, there was a U.S. Treasury balance of $440,000. Government revenues that year would be twice expenses, Gordon wrote.