Skip to comments.The Myth of the Clinton Surplus
Posted on 11/26/2012 4:14:39 PM PST by all the best
Time and time again, anyone reading the mainstream news or reading articles on the Internet will read the claim that President Clinton not only balanced the budget, but had a surplus. This is then used as an argument to further highlight the fiscal irresponsibility of the federal government under the Bush administration.
The claim is generally made that Clinton had a surplus of $69 billion in FY1998, $123 billion in FY1999 and $230 billion in FY2000 . In that same link, Clinton claimed that the national debt had been reduced by $360 billion in the last three years, presumably FY1998, FY1999, and FY2000--though, interestingly, $360 billion is not the sum of the alleged surpluses of the three years in question ($69B + $123B + $230B = $422B, not $360B).
While not defending the increase of the federal debt under President Bush, it's curious to see Clinton's record promoted as having generated a surplus. It never happened. There was never a surplus and the facts support that position. In fact, far from a $360 billion reduction in the national debt in FY1998-FY2000, there was an increase of $281 billion.
Verifying this is as simple as accessing the U.S. Treasury (see note about this link below) website where the national debt is updated daily and a history of the debt since January 1993 can be obtained. Considering the government's fiscal year ends on the last day of September each year, and considering Clinton's budget proposal in 1993 took effect in October 1993 and concluded September 1994 (FY1994), here's the national debt at the end of each year of Clinton Budgets:
(Excerpt) Read more at craigsteiner.us ...
I’ve been told by a couple of liberal friends that private governmental debt doesn’t count. Of course that’s only possible if you acknowledge that there is no social security trust fund.
Proof that some guys can play golf and find time to do their job.
Clintons = LAIRS
“Man Made Disaster”; “Workplace Violence”: ‘th nation is going over the cliff....” “Romney’s rich and doesn’t care....” “Obama not racist”.....it was a video that caused the deaths of four Americans.....whatever trash the MSM repeats and repeats becomes fact when it is really fallacy and it makes no difference that America’s credit rating is no longer respected that her word is no longer respected, that her products are no longer 1st or 2nd, third is fine with the idiots public school, and colleges/universities graduates produced...the MSM is anti-American...they love Obama and he can do no wrong regardless how reckless or almost treacherous to our nation and her Constitution this man is....the Socialist/Communist Obama is their man in the White House.
That’s probably insulting to cavepeople. I’m sure they have nice homes.
People listening to Noot Gingrich several months back would have heard the same thing. Unfortunately, the last year this nation saw a surplus was in 1957.
The national debt increased by 1.3 Trillion under Clinton, although by today’s standard that’s not so bad and we can thank the Gingrich/Kasich Congress for at least keeping it somewhat in check. Still, the Clinton surplus is a myth.
Wow, goes to show you how much the media, and Billy Jeff, love to lie about how things were, much less are. I wonder what Billy is spending his time doing nowadays, hope he’s actually working, for a change!!!
None the less the fiscal situation at the end of the Clinton/Republican partnership was INFINITELY better than it’s been in the 12 years since.
If we survive the Obama years, the left will try to tell us how great it was. We can’t let them.
I’m pretty sure that Bush41 and Bush43 used the same accounting methods (essentially, treating the Social Security System’s excess of revenues over expenditures as an offset to the deficit of the non-Social-Security portion of the government).
The linked article says “While not defending the increase of the federal debt under President Bush....” but doesn’t elaborate. The answer is that the deficits reported under both Bushes would have been even higher if Social Security had been accounted for separately.
I understand the author’s focus on the claims about Clinton. It’s misleading, though, if it gives the impression that this accounting method is solely a Democratic subterfuge. It was pioneered by Republicans.
It was pioneered by none other than LBJ, who was responsible for merging the "government operations budget" with the "Social Security budget".
It was his way of funding two wars: The War on Poverty and Viet Nam. Both of which he botched...badly.
Those books he cooked were so delicious demRATS ate every bit of it.
That plot ends in 2007 — the peak is now twice that height.
I used that one because it shows this Clintoon myth. I posted the full graph on a couple of other threads...
A few trillion here, a few trillion there... well, we know!
I've had similar conversations. I usually have to do Rush's "for the folks in Rio Linda" deal and explain that they are saying that the government's debt to them doesn't matter - how will they feel if they don't get their Social Security and other paid-for benefits when the time comes. . .
I think you’re correct that Social Security was put “on-budget” under LBJ. I don’t think that played a significant role in funding Vietnam or the War on Poverty, though.
Back then, Social Security was essentially a pay-as-you-go system. It didn’t accumulate significant surpluses that could be borrowed for other purposes. That change came in 1983. At that time the FICA tax rate was increased for the specific purpose of building up a huge surplus that could be used to fund Baby Boomer retirements decades later.
It was only after 1983 that putting Social Security “on-budget” had a significant effect on the government’s annual reported surplus/deficit.
Of course, we’re nearing the point when, even in economic boom times, Social Security will show a net deficit, as it draws down the Trust Fund so as to maintain benefits. When that happens, the President, whether a Democrat or a Republican, will be strongly tempted to separate out the Social Security budget, because that’s what will make the “official” figure for the federal budget look better.