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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:55 PM

CHART: How The Clinton Surplus Turned Into A $6 Trillion Deficit

At the Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton famously opined that 'arithmetic' was the magic trick that enabled him to be the last President to provide a budget surplus.

In 2001, the CBO projected that the Clinton surplus of about $280 billion would balloon to $5.9 trillion surplus by 2011, when in reality the deficit reached $6 trillion at the end of that time period.

That's pretty bad arithmetic. So what happened?

The U.S. Treasury Department recently tweeted this chart, which breaks down the major drivers that turned a small surplus into a massive deficit:


http://www.businessinsider.com/how-clinton-surplus-became-a-6t-deficit-2013-1

74 replies, 4915 views

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Reply CHART: How The Clinton Surplus Turned Into A $6 Trillion Deficit (Original post)
FarCenter Jan 2013 OP
dkf Jan 2013 #1
blm Jan 2013 #2
dkf Jan 2013 #3
blm Jan 2013 #6
dkf Jan 2013 #30
blm Jan 2013 #39
dkf Jan 2013 #41
blm Jan 2013 #48
dkf Jan 2013 #52
blm Jan 2013 #57
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #29
dkf Jan 2013 #31
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #73
dkf Jan 2013 #74
Cary Jan 2013 #51
dkf Jan 2013 #54
Cary Jan 2013 #58
dkf Jan 2013 #61
Cary Jan 2013 #62
dkf Jan 2013 #63
Cary Jan 2013 #68
dkf Jan 2013 #69
Cary Jan 2013 #70
dkf Jan 2013 #71
Cary Jan 2013 #72
OnlinePoker Jan 2013 #50
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #4
dkf Jan 2013 #5
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #7
dkf Jan 2013 #10
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #12
dkf Jan 2013 #15
FarCenter Jan 2013 #17
dkf Jan 2013 #23
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #20
dkf Jan 2013 #24
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #27
ProSense Jan 2013 #37
RC Jan 2013 #47
ProSense Jan 2013 #8
dkf Jan 2013 #11
FarCenter Jan 2013 #16
ProSense Jan 2013 #18
FarCenter Jan 2013 #34
ProSense Jan 2013 #35
FarCenter Jan 2013 #40
ProSense Jan 2013 #42
FarCenter Jan 2013 #43
ProSense Jan 2013 #45
Ganja Ninja Jan 2013 #64
Drunken Irishman Jan 2013 #13
dkf Jan 2013 #21
Drunken Irishman Jan 2013 #25
dkf Jan 2013 #26
Drunken Irishman Jan 2013 #32
dkf Jan 2013 #36
Drunken Irishman Jan 2013 #38
FarCenter Jan 2013 #28
Drunken Irishman Jan 2013 #33
FarCenter Jan 2013 #44
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #9
LondonReign2 Jan 2013 #14
BlueCheese Jan 2013 #65
Coyotl Jan 2013 #19
michigandem58 Jan 2013 #22
BlueCheese Jan 2013 #66
hughee99 Jan 2013 #46
santamargarita Jan 2013 #49
2naSalit Jan 2013 #53
Indydem Jan 2013 #55
TheTruth2016 Jan 2013 #56
ProfessionalLeftist Jan 2013 #59
OccupyManny Jan 2013 #60
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #67

Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:59 PM

1. I hate to see what that chart looks like 5 years from now based on the 2009 policies on.

 

All the attribution from W goes away. This is Obama's baby now.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:04 PM

2. Really? When did GOP congress allow Bush's tax and economic policies to be replaced by Obama's?

They certainly wasted no time in replacing Clinton's tax and economic policies with Bush's, though, did they?

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Response to blm (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:06 PM

3. Extending the Bush tax cuts. That's all I need to say.

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:12 PM

6. Because unemployment checks for millions of outofwork citizens were held hostage.

Why do you need to pretend it was crafted policy?

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Response to blm (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:53 PM

30. You must have missed the campaign if you think that's Republican policy.

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #30)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:12 PM

39. You must have missed the FACT that GOP was protecting ALL the Bush tax cuts since 2009.

So, I ask you again in reply to YOUR claim that everything after 2009 is due to Obama's policies - WHEN in 2009-10-11 did GOP allow the replacing of Bush's tax and economic policies with Obama's tax and economic policies?

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Response to blm (Reply #39)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:23 PM

41. Okay so other than taxing at $250,000 vs $450,000 what is Obama's tax policy?

 

What didn't he get that he wanted from taxes? Or spending cuts? I know he wanted to increase spending and he got what he wanted earlier.

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Response to dkf (Reply #41)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:58 PM

48. Waiting for answer....WHEN did Obama's tax and economic policies REPLACE Bush's

tax and economic policies in 2009? Pretty sure that Bush's tax cuts weren't even expiring till last day of 2010.

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Response to blm (Reply #48)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:20 PM

52. What are you talking about? Well 2011 then.

 

But it's not like he wanted it changed.

Like I said I have no idea what he would want to change it to because he pretty much got what he wanted from what I see

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Response to dkf (Reply #52)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 06:49 PM

57. So you'll backtrack your claim? For the economy to BE Obama's it would have had to pass at least

of what Obama proposed and/or signed.

Bush got EVERYTHING he wanted, and it was the Democrats in congress who pushed tax breaks for the working poor and middle class into the bill. Guess most people FORGET those negotiations.

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:51 PM

29. That was the Republican Congress's, not Obama's idea.

Republicans in Congress are very happy to take "credit" for extending the tax cuts. That's what their donors pay them to do.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #29)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:54 PM

31. Goodness so that was a Republican win?

 

All this time I thought the Democrats were claiming victory. Too funny.

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Response to dkf (Reply #31)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:37 PM

73. I do not consider the extension of the Bush tax cuts or the continuation of the war or

maintaining troops in Iraq to be Democratic victories. They are failures.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #73)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:48 PM

74. Yeah I am actually with you there.

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:20 PM

51. You would have preferred a double dip recession.

I don't think you understand.

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Response to Cary (Reply #51)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:24 PM

54. If it was a double dip recession with a positive future vs extending all the bush cuts then yes.

 

6 months of recession is worth a fixed fiscal picture as compared to a future with extended Bush tax cuts and deficits as far as the eye can see.

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Response to dkf (Reply #54)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 06:55 PM

58. I am even more convinced that you don't understand. n/t

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Response to Cary (Reply #58)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:05 AM

61. That is the CBOs projection. Are you saying they don't know what they are doing?

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #61)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 10:29 AM

62. What "is the CBOs projection?"

I don't think you understand what a double dip recession would have meant. I don't think you appreciate how bad that would have been. That has nothing to do with "the CBOs projection." It has to do with relative costs and benefits, and the fact of the matter is that the people who would have suffered were not the wealthy.

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Response to Cary (Reply #62)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:33 PM

63. CBO projected 2 quarters of negative growth.

 

What more is there to understand?

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Response to dkf (Reply #63)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:34 PM

68. How about the problems of the actual people who end up paying that price?

Is that worth understanding?

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Response to Cary (Reply #68)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 05:09 PM

69. It's coming sooner or later.

 

Putting it off just means a wider problem later, possibly more of a systemic risk too.

We are healthier now than we will be if the debt gets totally out of hand.

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Response to dkf (Reply #69)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 05:34 PM

70. Wrong

You don't understand economics. Where to begin explaining it to you?

The debt is not a current problem. Ultimately the debt has to be paid primarily through economic growth. You're advocating a recession which would actually end up adding to the debt.

Why on earth would you do that? The business cycle hasn't been repealed dkf. We will ultimately be in a sustainable recovery. That's when you start paying down debt--not when you're going to cause a recession.

Austerity, when you're not in a sustainable recovery, is a really, really bad idea.

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Response to Cary (Reply #70)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 05:39 PM

71. What scares me more are failed treasury auctions.

 

That's when the crap hits the fan.

How does an economy survive volatile and escalating interest rates?

Do we expect the Fed to ramp up their balance sheet? How far can they take it?

Bill Gross is advising to keep treasuries under 5 years. Not good.

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Response to dkf (Reply #71)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 06:57 PM

72. We have never had a failed treasury auction.

We only had Mitt Romney's prediction of a failed treasury auction.

Likewise the hyperinflation that "conservatives" have been predicting for years now has never managed to be anything more than scareware.

We are still in a liquidity trap. These things you fear don't happen in a.liquidity trap.

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Response to blm (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:12 PM

50. I asked a question in another thread about congressional make-up vis-a-vis deficits

Where the chart showed spending by president:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1017&pid=90501

Basically, I was told that since it's the president that signs the bills congress gives him, deficits are his responsibility as he has the power of veto.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:07 PM

4. Except Obama didn't blow a surplus, he inherited a disaster.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:09 PM

5. And he permanently extended a disaster instead of planning to phase it out.

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:12 PM

7. That's only what people who don't know how Govt works will believe.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:20 PM

10. Because congress has the guts to raise taxes? Too funny.

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:22 PM

12. Because the enemy of the people control the House of Representatives.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:27 PM

15. But it's the Democrats who are now against raising taxes on anyone who isn't mega wealthy.

 

That won't work to pay for expenses.

I honestly have no idea what Obama believes in regard to taxation vs spending. What is his optimum? Lower taxes and lower spending? Lower taxes, higher spending funded by a debt powered by MMT economics in perpetuity?

You can't get to higher taxes that equal our level of spending by taxing only the mega wealthy.

I don't get it.

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Response to dkf (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:31 PM

17. Which is why he should have let the Bush tax cuts expire and sequestration take hold

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:40 PM

23. Seriously right?

 

Eventually level headed Democrats will start walking us back to sanity and then most here will feel betrayed and want to hurl.

We may not be Greece but we sure do have a Greek mentality.

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Response to dkf (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:34 PM

20. Higher tax rates should start at $150,000.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:44 PM

24. Still not enough.

 

You have to understand that getting back to Clinton rates doesn't get us back to Clinton condition. We've created so much more debt that we have to pay for. Now it's a much steeper hill than we had back then.

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Response to dkf (Reply #24)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:49 PM

27. Oh I'm not talking about the Clinton rates, I'm thinking more Reagan rates, 50%.

And I'm not even talking about zero deficits, especially during recession. During recessions what must be done is the opposite of deficit reduction. But we can also slow the growth of the deficit during periods of recession with higher tax rates so during periods of prosperity we can concentrate on deficit reduction.

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Response to dkf (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:10 PM

37. This is nonsense.

"But it's the Democrats who are now against raising taxes on anyone who isn't mega wealthy"

The tax cuts kick in in some cases at $250,000 and fully at $400,000. That is not "mega wealthy."

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Response to ProSense (Reply #37)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:57 PM

47. No, but it is the 20%

 

That still leaves 80% of us in various states of lurches. The average income is only $60,000 or so.

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Response to dkf (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:13 PM

8. Nonsense.

You know damn well that the President planned on making the cuts below $250,000 permanent. That he increased the threshold cut into the revenue, but there were a number of other things this President did to rein in deficits.

Given that he inherited a disaster that required a massive stimulus, and now has another four years to continue working at it, your concern amounts to no more than deficit hawk fear mongering.

The economy is still recovering, and still needs billions in stimulus to strengthen it.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:21 PM

11. You know I didn't realize he meant that permanently.

 

I thought it was just for now. Stupid me.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:28 PM

16. The problem with "stimulus" is that most does nothing for long-term economic health

Hair of the dog to lessen the hangover, but it won't sober us up.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:32 PM

18. "The problem with 'stimulus'"

There is no "problem with 'stimulus'" in the middle of a severe recession. None!

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Response to ProSense (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:58 PM

34. Spending on stimulating consumption just increases the long-term debt

Stimulus spending needs to create new infrastructure, hard assets, businesses, and other investments that will generate taxes in the future. Each $1 of government spending needs to bring in $1.50 in new tax revenues a few years from now.

Straight Keynesian economics doesn't work because --

- the government is not a small sector that can increase/decreas spending to act as a "governor" on the speed of the economy. The government is 1/3 of the economy, and it is tightly coupled to the economy.

- politicians don't have the guts to actually run a significant surplus when times are good in order to pay back the debt incurred by "stimulus" spending during bad times.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #34)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:06 PM

35. Here's

"Stimulus spending needs to create new infrastructure, hard assets, businesses, and other investments that will generate taxes in the future. Each $1 of government spending needs to bring in $1.50 in new tax revenues a few years from now."

...stimulus:



The Stimulus included many of the best programs (expanded unemployment benefits with the supplement and increase in Food Stamps, state aid, infrastructure spending) and the Making Work Pay credit, which was a lot more stimulative than the payroll tax credit.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:12 PM

40. Nice graph - it shows that making the Bush tax cuts permanent was the fourth worst policy

The problem with the graph is that it doesn't distinguish which options increase GDP permanently or temporarily.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #40)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:24 PM

42. The tax cuts for the rich. n/t

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Response to ProSense (Reply #42)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:28 PM

43. No, that graph is showing the effect of the across the board Bush tax cuts.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:31 PM

45. The tax cuts for low- and middle-income families

are considered stimulative. The tax cuts for the rich drag down the effects.

That is the point.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #43)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 01:43 PM

64. I'm confused, where does the graph show the positive stimulus of the Bush tax cuts.

Where's all that economic growth?

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Response to dkf (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:24 PM

13. So, you would have rather Obama came into office and just cut, cut, cut?

Even if he got rid of the Bush era tax cuts, it wouldn't solve much of our now crippling deficit problem. Under your argument, he shouldn't have spent anything on a stimulus program or anything to reform healthcare. I guess he could have ended the Iraq & Afghanistan wars on Day One, but anyone with the slightest amount of military knowledge understands that any 'ending' would have to be a phaseout similar to what we saw in Iraq - for both wars.

The only way Obama could have phased out this deficit is if he froze ALL spending at the beginning of his term, cut programs left & right and that includes medicare and other health expenditures that are a big reason behind our deficit. But had he done that, we'd be readying for a Pres. Romney because the economy would have slid into an even worse depression and it would have sunk his entire term.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:35 PM

21. No I prefer he plan a phase in back to Clinton tax rates.

 

Address rampant health costs which are driving debts in the private and public sector, and revamp social security bend points to be more progressive while phasing in chained CPI.

Then Reorganize federal government to eliminate duplicate services.

Ramp up spending in the NIH, do a true Apollo type mission to convert to renewables to keep money here, revamp the tax code to get rid of most very specific special interest perks that aren't specifically tied to investment, eliminate carried interest and on and on and on.

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Response to dkf (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:45 PM

25. Oh boy. Chained CPI. That'll go over well...

The thing is, much of what you present still doesn't do much in the way of the deficit. That's the problem with the cards Obama was dealt because he had to manage both an increase in spending to help fuel the economy and not make cuts that stalled that recovery.

Much of what you say doesn't do anything to help the deficit, unfortunately. Even doing away with all the Bush tax cuts only cuts $550 billion - and that's letting 'em all expire. Everything else listed is mostly window dressing outside healthcare costs, which I actually agree with you ... and I think Obama agrees with you and will probably address this during the next debate.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:49 PM

26. Doing away with the Bush tax cuts raises $4 trillion.

 

And Keeping them incurs an additional $500 billion for interest costs

Chained CPI extends the life of the trust fund upon which a cut in benefits of 25% is seen.

It keeps the fund intact longer so more people will get a piece.

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Response to dkf (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:54 PM

32. That does nothing for our current deficit...

So, no, it does not save us $4 trillion off the current deficit.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #32)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:07 PM

36. Oh you mean the what...$16 trillion in debt we currently have?

 

Yes it doesn't but we stop digging the hole somewhat. We can't even balance the damned budget and we refuse to pay more taxes.

This country is crazy and ridiculously irresponsible.

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Response to dkf (Reply #36)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:12 PM

38. To be fair, we've only balanced our budget a handful of times...

And if you really, really want to get technical, we haven't had a 'balanced' budget since the 1950s - when you account for all debt held by the public and intragovernmental holdings. I do agree we need to get a grip on spending, but I also don't think balancing the budget means much of anything in the long run.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:50 PM

28. The Bush tax cuts are about $690 billion per year

By 2000, however, total federal tax receipts had reached 20.9 percent of GDP, their highest level since 1970 and matched only in 1944, when the federal government collected 20.9 percent of GDP in taxes at the height of fighting World War II. By 2004, however, federal tax receipts had fallen to 16.3 percent of GDP, which is not only the lowest level since 1970, but the lowest since 1959.


http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/bush-tax-cuts/revenue.cfm

4.6% of a $15 trillion / year economy is $690 billion per year in "missing" tax revenues due to the Bush tax cuts.

On a 10 year budget basis, lets round it to $7 trillion in revenue.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:58 PM

33. And had Obama let the tax cuts all expire in 2010, today's deficit still would be massive.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #33)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:29 PM

44. It would be less massive than it is; We're spending $350 billion / year in interest on the debt

That is a huge wealth transfer to the rentier class.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:19 PM

9. Why we should always refer to the 'Republican Federal Debt".

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:26 PM

14. Wait, what?


"This chart paints a pretty poor picture of the CBO's forecasting abilities, which account for well over half of the missing surplus."

Uh, no it doesn't. Unless I'm reading the chart wrong, forecasting errors (i.e., too optomistic) account for 29% of the difference. SHRUB's POLICIES account for 59%

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Response to LondonReign2 (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:11 PM

65. Yes, not sure what that line is about. Seems wrong to me too. /nt

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:33 PM

19. In one word: BUSH!

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:36 PM

22. Don't understand the 6.0 trillion figure at the end

 

The cumulative debt is 16 trillion, annual deficits are about a trillion. What is the 6 trillion?

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Response to michigandem58 (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:12 PM

66. The text is written confusingly.

It says that cumulative deficits since 2001 are $6 trillion.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:37 PM

46. Just curious, I see 1.4 Trillion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan during the * years.

Does that include the money spent in the last 4 years in those countries?

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:07 PM

49. Those bastards started stealing the minute after...

they stole the election. I remember President Clinton's surplus was gone in less than week.

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Response to santamargarita (Reply #49)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:22 PM

53. I remember that too.

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Response to santamargarita (Reply #49)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:37 PM

55. That's because it was based on a projection

And the projection went to shit after the election.

The economy started to tank after that fucker stole it.

There was no actual surplus, just one on paper.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)


Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:38 PM

59. How GEORGE BUSH Turned The Clinton Surplus Into A $6 Trillion Deficit

The appropriate title is above. Programs that ballooned our debt the absolute most were all initiated and carried out under bu$h. The big tax cuts, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and that dumbass big pharma welfare program called "Medicare Part D".

Just look at the chart. No idea why they avoided the proper title. This isn't the CBO's fault. It isn't Obama's fault. It's the bu$h admin's fault. Yes still.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:44 PM

60. Who cares about the debt?

It's all funny money. We need a massive stimulus to get people working again. Start up the WPA.

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Response to FarCenter (Original post)

Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:50 PM

67. CHART

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