A balanced budget is essential, but when the budget can't be balanced, social programs should not be targeted as a way to balance that budget. There are many programs in the US that could be cut first and the wages of politicians and government employees should also be put into consideration, not to mention the much hated tax hikes that more than likely need to happen.
A balanced budget is making the amount of money going out equal to the amount of money coming in. There is some expectation of debt that is already expected in a 'balanced' budget. Social services are important, but spending money that no one has is not a viable answer to the problem. Some social services should be sacrificed.
The government picking up the social service function that use to belong to states and private entities is in part the problem with the budget. It has become an overly bureaucratic task to attempt to help so many people that need these social services and continues to swell as time goes on.
You obviously cannot have an infinite amount of social services provided to the population, because there needs to be some way to pay for them all. Millionaires don't qualify for Medicaid, for example. It is equally true that you cannot slash all social services to get a budget balanced. It would be preferable for the government to take on debt and provide Medicaid to the poor as opposed to letting the poor die in the street with a balanced budget. There must be some compromise between the two positions, and it is not fair to say that one is more important than the other.