Liberal blogger makes a good point about surplus under Bill Clinton

One of my liberal opponents on the Arkansas Times Blog is a person who uses the username of “Sound Policy.” He recently asserted:

Here, try some sobering facts for a change of diet:

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200
The 4th column (surplus or deficit in current dollars) is annual federal budget deficits/surpluses. The Bill Clinton years? Why, amazingly every year after Clinton took his oath of office the deficit dropped lower and lower until it completely disappeared and magically turned into a record surplus which he left as a present for W Bush.

And W’s team? They took that surplus and turned it into a record deficit of $1.4+ trillion in Fiscal Year 2009 when they left office.

I am not happy at all with the way that George Bush spent money and I am very pleased that Newt Gingrinch and President Bill Clinton were able to put in real spending cuts and balance our budget.

I really got out of this table that “Sound Policy” told me about ( http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200 ).

In Bush’s last two years there was a Democratic congress that he had to deal with. In 2009 President Obama went in and had a 60-40 margin in the Senate. Since 2009 the deficit has been in the worst condition of any nonwartime president.

Below you see an article and videos by Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute concerning Reagan and Clinton. First lets look at where we are now with Obama.

Over the last 10 presidents was have had 16.9% of GDP of deficits total from five Republican presidents and 12.7% total from Democratic presidents. However, what is most disturbing is that 8.3% of the 12.7% comes from the Obama administration who is currently in power and we are no longer in the cold war era. That is almost double the total of all the other four Democratic presidents combined under just one president. Take a look at the chart below from the Heritage Foundation:

Rob Bluey

January 1, 2012 at 9:56 am

Over the past 50 years, 10 U.S. presidents have made annual budget requests to Congress, projecting deficits both big and small. But no other president compares to Barack Obama when it comes to the size and scale of the current budget deficit facing the United States.

The country is facing an 8.3 percent estimated average national deficit of a two-term Obama administration — the biggest of the past 50 years. By comparison, the current estimate for Obama is nearly double the percentage under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — and they were fighting the Cold War.

Political party doesn’t tell the whole story, however. President Bill Clinton leads the pack of presidents since 1961, according to data from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Heritage put together this graphic as part of our Budget Chart Book.

So what does the current trajectory mean for the United States? We’re certainly no longer looking at a continuation of manageable deficits in the years to come. This is a dramatic change in the magnitude of annual shortfalls at the federal level. That’s one reason Heritage came up with a plan to fix the debt crisis.

If you have a suggestion for a chart we should feature in the future, please post a comment below, email us at scribe@heritage.org, or send me at tweet @RobertBluey.

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Here is a perspective from Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute:

To Fix the Budget, Bring Back Reagan…or Even Clinton

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

President Obama unveiled his fiscal year 2012 budget today, and there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that there’s no major initiative such as the so-called stimulus scheme or the government-run healthcare proposal. The bad news, though, is that government is far too big and Obama’s budget does nothing to address this problem.

But perhaps the folks on Capitol Hill will be more responsible and actually try to save America from becoming a big-government, European-style welfare state. The solution may not be easy, but it is simple. Lawmakers merely need to restrain the growth of government spending so that it grows slower than the private economy.

Actual spending cuts would be the best option, of course, but limiting the growth of spending is all that’s needed to slowly shrink the burden of government spending relative to gross domestic product.

Fortunately, we have two role models from recent history that show it is possible to control the federal budget. This video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity uses data from the Historical Tables of the Budget to demonstrate the fiscal policy achievements of both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Spending Restraint, Part I: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton

Uploaded by on Feb 14, 2011

Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both reduced the relative burden of government, largely because they were able to restrain the growth of domestic spending. The mini-documentary from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity uses data from the Historical Tables of the Budget to show how Reagan and Clinton succeeded and compares their record to the fiscal profligacy of the Bush-Obama years.

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Some people will want to argue about who gets credit for the good fiscal policy of the 1980s and 1990s.

Bill Clinton’s performance, for instance, may not have been so impressive if he had succeeded in pushing through his version of government-run healthcare or if he didn’t have to deal with a Republican Congress after the 1994 elections. But that’s a debate for partisans. All that matters is that the burden of government spending fell during Bill Clinton’s reign, and that was good for the budget and good for the economy. And there’s no question he did a much better job than George W. Bush.

Indeed, a major theme in this new video is that the past 10 years have been a fiscal disaster. Both Bush and Obama have dramatically boosted the burden of government spending — largely because of rapid increases in domestic spending.

This is one of the reasons why the economy is weak. For further information, this video looks at the theoretical case for small government and this video examines the empirical evidence against big government.

Another problem is that many people in Washington are fixated on deficits and debt, but that’s akin to focusing on symptoms and ignoring the underlying disease. To elaborate, this video explains that America’s fiscal problem is too much spending rather than too much debt.

Last but not least, this video reviews the theory and evidence for the “Rahn Curve,” which is the notion that there is a growth-maximizing level of government outlays. The bad news is that government already is far too big in the United States. This is undermining prosperity and reducing competitiveness.

Spending Restraint, Part II: Lessons from Canada, Ireland, Slovakia, and New Zealand

Uploaded by on Feb 22, 2011

Nations can make remarkable fiscal progress if policy makers simply limit the growth of government spending. This video, which is Part II of a series, uses examples from recent history in Canada, Ireland, Slovakia, and New Zealand to demonstrate how it is possible to achieve rapid improvements in fiscal policy by restraining the burden of government spending. Part I of the series examined how Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were successful in controlling government outlays — particularly the burden of domestic spending programs. http://www.freedomandprosperity.org

 
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