The Clinton Surplus Myth

Shooting down the claim of a Bill Clinton Surplus

I am getting tired of hearing these liberal talking heads on cable news channels talk about the Clinton surplus.

It upsets me even more that any conservative sharing the airwaves at that time fails to point out that there was no surplus following Bill Clinton's presidency.

I don't think that this is widely known, on either side of the aisle.

To disprove this false statement, you only have to go as far as the website for the U.S. Treasury, http://www.treasury.gov/. The national debt increased every year under Bill Clinton, and the lowest yearly deficit under Clinton in FY 2000 was still nearly $18 billion ($17.91 billion to be exact). The deficit was never anywhere near 0, so it never posted a positive number.

To illustrate my point, we'll look at the national debt, which consists of public debt and intragovernmental holdings. Public debt includes savings bonds, treasury bills or anything that the public can purchase from the government. Intragovernmental holdings refers to the government borrowing money from itself, much of it for Social Security.

But what Clinton did was reduce the public debt. He did this by borrowing from the intragovernmental holdings. Bill Clinton was like any other politician, using smoke and mirrors to cover up true intentions. He was not a "magical" president by any means, and the economic boom in the '90s was a result of the Internet and the effect that it had on business and sales.

This so-called surplus is used by the anti-Bush people to create the illusion that Bush came on the scene and screwed everything up. All of the numbers are on the U.S.Treasury's website. Don't take my word for it, go there and do the math for yourself.

This is a good example of why it is good to do research, and be educated on what is going on in the world. It is not acceptable anymore to take things at face value, or believe something just because someone said that it was true. If you do not
stand for "something," you will fall for anything.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jery Elliott March 04, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Very Little Humor! Yeesh ... who is your joke writer ... Donald Trump.
Scottrey March 04, 2012 at 10:15 PM
You have nothing else to do but go back to months old comments of mine? Get a life son.
Jery Elliott March 05, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I am enjoying messing with you .... you have have nothing better to do than comment on my comment to your months old comment. NOW who needs to get a life.
Justin Colletti November 27, 2012 at 10:36 PM
You are confusing the terms "national debt" and "budgetary deficit." The fact is, one can have a budgetary surplus and still collect interest on their existing debt. For instance: If you made $50,000 a year and had $30,000 in expenses (minimum debt payments), you would have a budgetary surplus, just as we did under Clinton. However, if your existing debt was say, $1,000,000,000,000 and you accrued interest greater than this $20,0000 surplus, then your debt would go up, even though you eliminated your budget deficit.
Justin Colletti November 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Some argue that the surplus somehow "doesn't count" because the government borrowed from itself under Clinton, but take a moment to think that through: If you overspent on your car maintenance and repairs due to an accident and made up for it by forgoing dinners out on the town, then you could still have a budgetary surplus in a year where you had an accident. You would in effect be "borrowing" funds earmarked for one expense and using them for another. You would still have a surplus, even with this self-borrowing. The government certainly did run budgetary surpluses under Clinton. You would be correct to say that the gross debt was not reduced, other than in FY 2000 when we did pay down dept. However, it is also worthwhile to note that the debt as a percentage of GDP was reduced significantly. It may not be perfect, but it's pretty much the best we've ever done. We should be looking to do more of this, rather than having useless semantic battles that cloud rather than inform.


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