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President Clinton Announces the 1998 Budget Surplus

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The Briefing Room

October 28, 1998

Closing The Books On A Generation Of Deficits. In 1993, President Clintonput in place a three-part economic strategy to: (1) cut the deficit, helpreduce interest rates, and spur business investment; (2) invest ineducation, health care, and technology so that America was prepared to meetthe challenges of the 21st Century; and (3) open markets abroad so thatAmerican workers would have a fair chance to compete and win across theglobe. Today, America's fiscal house is in order. After three decades ofbudget deficits, fiscal year 1998 was the first year the United Statesgovernment recorded a budget surplus since 1969:

  • Instead Of A $357 Billion Deficit, We Have A $70 Billion Surplus. When President Clinton took office in 1993, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected the deficit would be $357 billion for fiscal year 1998; final numbers from the Treasury Department show that the surplus was $70 billion in fiscal year 1998;

  • A $70 billion Surplus -- The First In A Generation. In 1992, the deficit was $290 billion -- the biggest dollar deficit in American history. Last year, the surplus was $70 billion -- the first surplus since 1969, the biggest dollar surplus in history, and the largest budget surplus as a share of the Gross Domestic Product since the 1950's;

  • A Surplus Estimated To Reach $150 Billion By 2002. President Clinton promised to balance the budget by 2002. The budget is not only balanced four years ahead of schedule, but is in surplus, which will grow to $148 billion by 2002, as projected by the Administration?s mid-session review;

  • Six Years In A Row Of Fiscal Improvement -- The First Time In U.S. History. Reaching a surplus in 1998 marks the sixth consecutive year of improved fiscal balance -- the longest period in all of American history.

Expanding Critical Investments While Maintaining Fiscal Discipline.President Clinton's 1993 Economic Plan included $255 billion in spendingcuts over five years -- more than half of the total deficit reductionpackage. As a result, federal spending as a share of the economy haddeclined for each of the past six years and is now the lowest in 24 years.As spending has been cut in lower priority areas, President Clinton hasdramatically increased funding in critical areas, such as education andtraining, children, the environment, health care, and research anddevelopment.

Providing Tax Relief For America's Middle Class. Even as the President wasworking to reduce the deficit, tax cuts he signed into law have lowered thefederal tax burden on the typical American family of four to its lowestpoint since 1976. The President proposed to build on these tax cutsthrough additional, fully-paid for, tax relief for child care, education,pensions, affordable housing, and the environment.

We Have Fixed The Fiscal Deficit, Now We Must Fix The Generational Deficit.In his State of the Union speech, President Clinton called for reservingthe budget surplus until Social Security was reformed for the 21st Century.The President is determined to seize this unique opportunity to strengthenthis important program for generations to come. Protecting the surplus isa key step towards enacting Social Security reform, President Clinton hasalready fought against efforts to drain the surplus, and today, it remainsintact.

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What's New - October 1998

School Safety

Third Quarter GDP Numbers

Unemployment Numbers

Saving Social Security for the 21st Century

1998 Budget Surplus

The Budget Agreement

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Funding for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment

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Middle East Peace Signing

Discussion on Social Security

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