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January 8, 1998

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We have followed a policy of investing in our people, expanding the sales of American goods and services overseas, and practicing fiscal discipline...We have taken a different course, and thanks to the hard work and productivity of the American people, it is working...Now, we have to build on that success: first, with the balanced budget to keep interest rates down and keep the economy growing, and second, with other policies I will be outlining in the State of the Union.

President Bill Clinton
January 5, 1998

In 1992, the deficit was $290 billion, job growth was weak, and the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. When President Clinton took office, he put in place a bold three-part economic strategy of fiscal responsibility, investing in our people, and opening foreign markets to American goods. Experts agree that this strategy has helped create the strongest American economy in a generation.

Fiscal discipline: balancing the budget and reducing the deficit. President Clinton's 1993 Economic Plan helped cut the deficit more than 90%, to its lowest level in more than two decades. The resulting drop in long-term interest rates has helped build the strongest economy in a generation. Today, unemployment and crime are at their lowest levels in 24 years. Welfare rolls have dropped by a record 3.8 million people. And nearly 14 million new jobs have been created since 1993.

The balanced budget: building on our success. In 1998 the budget deficit is expected to be less than $22 billion, lower by tens of billions of dollars than previously projected. Building on this success, President Clinton is proposing -- three years earlier than expected -- a balanced budget for fiscal year 1999. The balanced budget is the first proposed in nearly three decades. President Clinton is pushing for a balanced budget, because it is right for America and ends the high deficits that paralyzed our government and many Americans' potential when he came to office.

Creating opportunity for the future. President Clinton's balanced budget proposal invests in America's families and ensures them the tools and support they need to make the most of their opportunities. This balanced budget will:

  • Invest in working families: providing accessible, affordable, quality child care, after-school programs and early learning opportunities;
  • Provide health security in the 21st century: by giving Americans ages 55-65 new options to buy-in to Medicare and other medical coverage;
  • Increase investment in education: to ensure that every 8 year-old can read; every 12 year-old can access the Internet; every 18 year-old can go to college; and every adult can keep on learning for a life time.

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