Tea party founder Michael Johns nailed things honestly back in 1997, when he spoke and published at Warren Mosler's Epic Coalition consortium.
"... the balanced-budget debate, rather than seeking the advancement of any specific macroeconomic goal is more a convenient means by advocates for accomplishing other political objectives that otherwise might be less sellable"
That text was published in several places, back in 1996, and recently reposted.
And was even discussed in Turkish (crude translation here)
So far, I haven't found a link to a copy supposedly re-posted to the Washington Post in 1996.
See also, "Balanced budget legislation or bad budget legislation? John Loxley http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-17891126.html
In addition, note several articles positing the same theme, by William Vickrey, plus much more, at the Columbia University Archives.
13 199 Balanced Budget is Not the Answer, Paper, 2 June 1992
13 200 Balancing the Budget is a Recipe for Economic Disaster, Paper, Feb-May 1995
13 201 Budget Balancing: A Cruel, Pious Fraud, letter to editor, undated