Candidates promise to balance the budget because it sounds good and gets them votes. To imagine that they would say it for any other reason is probably a bit naive. However, I will consider the possibility that a candidate who is a bit naive himself might make such a promise and actually believe it for a little while...till political reality sets in, and his handlers tell him it can't be done. Maybe Reagan actually believed he was going to do it. Who knows? If Bill the Cat believed it, why not Reagan?