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May 26, 1998

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"Today, our economy is the envy of the world. But this progress was not predestined. We must not abandon the strategy of fiscal discipline and investments in the future that is now expanding opportunity for American families. Let us work together to maintain fiscal responsibility, save Social Security, and prepare for an even brighter future for our people."

- President Bill Clinton
May 26, 1998

Today, at a Rose Garden event, President Clinton will be presented with the Mid-Session Review by acting OMB Director Jack Lew. The review shows that the federal budget is in balance, and is projected to run a $39 billion surplus by the end of the fiscal year.

The First Balanced Budget Since 1969. When President Clinton took office, the annual federal budget deficit was $290 billion. Now, six years later, the President's three-part economic strategy of balancing the budget, investing in our people, and opening new markets to America's goods and services, has produced the first balanced budget since 1969. The budget surplus for fiscal year 1998 is projected to be $39 billion, the highest dollar surplus in American history and the highest surplus as a share of the gross domestic product since 1957.

Saving Social Security First. The balanced budget gives us a unique opportunity to ensure that all Americans who work hard are guaranteed that Social Security remains vital for years to come. That is why the President strongly supports setting aside all budget surplus money until the long-term solvency and strength of the Social Security program is guaranteed.

A Strong, Vital National Economy. Today's economic figures build on the economic progress made under President Clinton's leadership, including:

  • Eliminating the budget deficit. When President Clinton took office, the budget deficit was $290 billion and climbing. Today, the deficit has been eliminated, and the federal government is projected to have a surplus of $39 billion by the end of this fiscal year.
  • The lowest unemployment level in 28 years. In 1992, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. In April 1998, the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent -- its lowest level since 1970;
  • Over 15 million new jobs. Since President Clinton took office, the economy has added over 15 million new jobs -- with nearly two million new jobs in manufacturing and construction combined;
  • An increase in family income of nearly $2,200. Real wages are rising at their fastest pace in 20 years and a typical family's income is up nearly $2,200 since 1993, when adjusted for inflation;
  • An historic home ownership rate of nearly 66 percent. 67 million Americans own their homes --5.6 million more than when President Clinton came to office.

The Balanced Budget: Building On Success. The President's agenda builds on this record. While the President's plan calls for projected budget surpluses to be reserved pending Social Security reform, he is also calling for targeted tax relief for child care, education, and the environment -- all fully paid for. These targeted tax relief efforts would:

  • Make child care more affordable, increasing the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for 3 million working families;
  • Increase energy efficiency and improve the environment, investing $3.6 billion over the next 5 years in tax cuts for energy efficient purchases and renewable energy;
  • Promote expanded retirement savings, making contributions of up to $2,000 to an IRA through a payroll deduction excluded from the employee's income for tax purposes;
  • Expand education incentives, helping modernize and build over 5,000 public schools;
  • Help develop more affordable housing, expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 40 percent, helping lead to an additional 150,000 to 180,000 units of affordable housing over five years.

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