The Myth of the Clinton Surplus
10/31/07 - Craig Steiner US
This is one of multiple links that reveal these facts (Google: Clinton's Surplus). This shows how deceptive are the Democrats and big media. The Clinton Surplus is repeated endlessly as a biased and untrue talking point, in an attempt to prove the effectiveness and thriftyness of Democratic administrations.
This is a clear and interesting analysis. Here are edited excerpts:
You will often read the claim that President Clinton balanced the budget and even ran a surplus. This is then used to underline the irresponsibility of the Bush administration. [Bush ran deficits also, but he wasn't a sinner following a saint. -ag]
Clinton claimed surpluses of $69, $123, and $230 billion for FY1998-2000. Clinton claimed that the national debt had been reduced by $360 billion (interestingly, not the $422B sum of the yearly claims).
There was never a surplus. In fact, the total national debt increased by $281 billion during those years. How can this be? The Public Debt and yearly deficits were paid down by borrowing money from the Social Security fund, rather than borrowing directly from the public. Clinton did not achieve a surplus and he did not leave President Bush with a surplus. Actually, growing deficits began with a $133 billion deficit in the last Clinton budget, not in the first budget of the Bush administration.
Analogy: Dad has a college fund for the kids (accumulated money from Social Security taxes) and a credit card (Public Debt). Dad spends more than he earns, and borrows from the college fund to cover the excess. Then he goes further, and borrows $281 more from the college fund to pay off some of the credit card. Dad talks to Mom: "We're doing great dear. Look, I have paid down some of the credit card." Dad doesn't tell her that the kids aren't going to college.
Craig Steiner is evenhanded. He explains the myth as being a biased report of statistics, but not an intentional scam by Clinton.
This result most likely was not a conscious decision by Clinton. The Social Security Administration is required to buy U.S. Government securities with its surplus. This automatically borrows from Social Security, labeled "intergovernmental holdings" in the national accounts.
People were earning a lot during the dot-com bubble and paying a lot into Social Security. The government was running deficits, but the money from Social Security taxes was larger than those deficits. The amount borrowed from the public went down, while the money borrowed from Social Security went up by much more.
The Real Tax Burden
Jan 2009 - EasyOpinions by Andrew Garland
The real tax burden is what government spends, not just the deficit.