Bill Clinton’s Surplus vs. George W. Bush’s deficit – Obama got stuck with the Bush Deficit

When President Barack Obam walked into the oval office a 1.2 TRILLION deficit was waiting for him there, a gift and legacy from President George W. Bush.  The lie and challenge by a certain Texas Congressman that Obama’s deficit is ten times Bush’s deficit was blown to smithereens by FactCheck

What president had the largest surplus and best record in reducing the deficit?  Why, President William Jefferson Clinton, his presidency had a 230 BILLION surplus in 2000 , which was Bill Clinton’s third year of paying down the federal deficit.  THAT probably goes a long way to explain Bill Clinton’s enduring popularity.  

Looking at Federal Debt by U.S. Presidential Term, it is Republicans who ensure that their friends in the elite continue to amass wealth who have ballooned the deficit.  Billionaires kids don’t care about the deficit; they will remain living the life of the NeoGilded age.  My kids won’t.

The underlying data for this elegant table does appear to validate the figures.  If anyone can use the federally published figures to debunk this, let me know.  I cannot.

To reverse these trends, and pay down the deficit what is needed is productivity in the United States, including a rebuilt and protected manufacturing sector.  To the extent that we import finished products, and have to import more manufactured items than we export, the deficit will not go down.

And that is even without accounting for the impact of over seas ownership and remittences. These remittences prop up many countries. Remittences are the real driver of economic immigration.  Once example is that Mexican workers sent 23 BILLION dollars to Mexico in 2006 and that money is not available to pay down the deficit, fund social security, etc.  Several countries are dependent on remittences from their workers in other countries, not just the United States, but analyzing that in full is beyond the scope of this post.

One reason for not supporting casinos is similar.  The major players are Malaysian and the profits will go overseas, not be reinvested in the USA, not pay down the deficit, and not lead to sustainable jobs.

So Congressman Tierney and Governor Patrick are right about MassMEP and it is the country and state where value is added where there will be jobs and reduced deficits, not countries  and states who basically just consume.

About AmberPaw

  • Does the left ever get tired of blaming GW Bush for everything?  

  • Amber, Nick Gillespie has a good article over at reason. GWB wasn’t a conservative, he was a big spender. Of course President Obama is an even bigger spender.

    “What I showed in the post is that in fact federal revenue increased nicely under Bush, despite the tax cuts. Revenues tailed off at the end of his reign of error, because of the recession and the financial crisis”


  • Ken Pittman

    Amber, how could you get so much wrong in such a short blurb?

    1) Clinton came in to $4.3T debt and left the nation with $5.7T. So please stop confusing debt and deficit.

    2) Clinton only began to balance budgets after the 1994 "Republican Revolution" which saw 54 seats go to the GOP in the House of Represetatives and 8 seats go to the GOP in the senate, swiging power to Republicans in both houses. Granted Clinton did balance budgets once that happened.

    3) Clinton was also the president when CA Governor Reagan’s tax breaks for “Silicon Valley” finally paid off. The companies there were able to use their lowered tax burdens throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s to pay for research and development and discovered the wondrous computer break throughs we enjoy today. Clinton the recipient of the internet and software boom which generated trillions to the American econmy and the governemnt coffers so when you give Bill credit, think more about Gates than Clinton.

    4) No one said Bush ran a conservative White House fiscally but his hand prevented him from ever having a chance to do this. Between 9/11, the Tsunami, Katrina, two combat theatres, $15B to africa to combat AIDs and the Medicaid fix, Bush never had a great hand for surplus opportunity. He came in at $-5.7T and left with – $10.2T after eight years.

    Obama didn’t enjoy the best of hands either but he threw napalm on a burning house by going through with the ‘Smash n Grab’ you call a stimulus. He entered with the nation’s debt level at – $10.2T and in just two years will near – $15T.

    You really should educate yourself if you feel that you should be heard.

    Chart of deficits:


  • predicted and/or projected defecits mean squat.  Too bad Bill had a recession hut in March 2000.

    Yet, while useful idiots bicker about Republicans….Democrats…..spending remains out of control with nobody willing to curtail it.