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Announcing the Largest Budget Surplus in History

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September 27, 2000

"These results today – paying off $360 billion of the national debt, continuing the longest economic expansion in history – knowing that we can get this done, that we can actually get the country out of debt, ought to be an inspiration for all of us to stay on the path that got us here, now and in the years ahead."

President Bill Clinton
September 27, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton announced figures released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), showing that this year's budget surplus will be at least $230 billion, the largest surplus ever. This third-consecutive surplus will lead to a total debt pay-down of more than $360 billion – the largest three-year debt pay-down in American history – and keep us on track to pay off the entire debt by 2012. The President stressed that the key to these results is fiscal discipline, and urged Congress to stay on the path that got us here by passing fiscally responsible budget bills that invest in our nation's future instead of special interests.

THE LARGEST UNIFIED SURPLUS EVER. In 1992, the federal budget deficit was $290 billion – the largest dollar deficit in American history. In January 1993, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the deficit would grow to $455 billion by 2000. But the Clinton-Gore Administration embarked on a new economic strategy of fiscal discipline, greater investment in people, and opening foreign markets to trade. Now, instead of a $455 billion deficit, OMB estimates a surplus this year of at least $230 billion – the third consecutive surplus and the largest surplus ever, even after adjusting for inflation. Today's announcements show:

  • The largest unified surplus as a share of the economy since 1948;
  • The 3rd consecutive year with a surplus—for the first time in over 50 years;
  • The 8th consecutive year of fiscal improvement for the first time in American history; and
  • The first surplus excluding Social Security and Medicare, making it the only on-budget surplus since Medicare was established in 1965.

THE LARGEST DEBT REDUCTION EVER. As a result of the budget surplus:

  • The President's plan to eliminate the debt by 2012 remains on track;
  • The 12 cents of every federal dollar we currently spend on interest payments would be eliminated;
  • The U.S. is on track to pay down more than $360 billion in debt over three years, the largest 3-year debt pay-down in our history. Under the 12 years of Presidents Reagan and Bush, the debt held by the public quadrupled.

REDUCING SPENDING AND CUTTING TAXES FOR WORKING FAMILIES. While balancing the budget, achieving large surpluses and paying down the debt, the Clinton-Gore Administration has provided tax relief for working families:

  • Federal spending as a share of the economy is the lowest since 1966;
  • Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the federal workforce has been cut by 377,000, resulting in the smallest federal civilian workforce in 40 years;
  • The total federal tax rate for middle-income families has dropped from 24.5% in 1992 to 22.8% in 1999 –the lowest tax rate since 1978. For families at one-half the median income, the effective federal tax rate has been slashed from 19.8% in 1992 to 14.1% in 1999 –the lowest tax rate since 1968.

URGING CONGRESS TO PASS RESPONSIBLE BUDGET LEGISLATION. President Clinton urged Congress to stop loading up spending bills with election-year porkbarrel projects, and instead invest in the American people by raising the minimum wage; passing a real patient's bill of rights; creating a voluntary, affordable Medicare prescription drug benefit; enacting tax cuts for long-term care, child care, and college education; and making critical investments in education.

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Urging Congress to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act

Highlighting Record Gains for Working Families Across America

Announcing the Largest Budget Surplus in History

Working to Ensure Health Insurance Coverage for Children

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