THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Wednesday, September 30, 1998
THE FIRST BUDGET SURPLUS IN A GENERATION
By balancing the budget, we have done more than renew our economy; we have sparked new confidence and renewed faith that progressive government can act in the national interest.
President Bill Clinton
September 30, 1998
Today, at a White House event, President Clinton announces that the federal budget, which had run at a deficit for 29 years, has been balanced, and will run a surplus of roughly $70 billion for the fiscal year that ends today.
Closing The Book On A Generation Of Deficits. In 1992, the budget deficit was $290 billion. When elected, President Clinton put in place a three-part economic strategy to: (1) cut the deficit to lower interest rates and spur business investment; (2) make critical investments in our people, from health care to education; and (3) open foreign markets to American products so that America would be prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Today, America's fiscal house is in order, after three decades of budget deficits, today marks the final day of fiscal year 1998 -- the first year the United States government will record a budget surplus since 1969. Under President Clinton:
- Instead of a $357 billion deficit, we will have roughly $70 billion in surplus this year. When President Clinton took office, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected the deficit would be $357 billion this year. Using preliminary information, the Administration expects the surplus to be about $70 billion when final numbers are released in October;
- Lowering The Deficit Has Led To The Highest Home Ownership Rate In American History. Lower mortgage rates -- along with higher family incomes, faster job growth, and the President's National Home Ownership Strategy -- have helped raise the national home ownership rate to its highest level in American history;
- Lowering The Deficit Has Resulted In A Lower National Debt -- $17,000 Less Debt For A Family Of Four. The national debt is $1.2 trillion lower than projected by the CBO in 1993 -- that's $17,000 less debt for a family of four;
- Federal Spending Has Been Cut, But Investments In Our Future Have Grown. President Clinton's 1993 Economic Plan included $255 billion in spending cuts over five years -- more than half of the total deficit reduction package. As a result, federal spending as a share of the economy has declined each of the last 6 years and is now the lowest it has been in 24 years. As spending has been reduced in low priority areas, President Clinton has dramatically increased funding in critical areas such as education and training, the environment, health care, and research and development.
Maintaining Strong Economic Growth And Fiscal Discipline. Achieving the first budget surplus in a generation is an accomplishment all Americans can be proud of; however, to ensure that opportunity is extended to all, and that the economic policies that have led to this remarkable expansion continue, we must maintain our fiscal discipline:
- Saving Social Security First. Fiscal discipline begins with setting aside every penny of any surplus until we save Social Security. The President has proposed targeted tax cuts that are fully paid for, but opposes plans to drain the surplus to pay for new tax cuts;
- Continuing Investments In Our People. The President has called for critical education investments that will reduce class size, hire 100,000 teachers, modernize and build thousands of schools, and give our children access to powerful education technology. Unfortunately, the Congress has failed to act on these important initiatives. The President is once again calling on Congress to help give our children a world-class education to ensure our economic competitiveness in the 21st Century.
Budget Deficits, 1969-1998
The White House Briefing Room
The White House at Work Archives