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Federal Deficit Drops Faster Than Expected

Clinton brags on lower deficit in Democratic Leadership Council speech

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WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 27) -- Thanks to vigorous economic growth and higher-than-expected tax revenues, the federal budget deficit has dropped to $22.6 billion, its lowest level in 23 years, administration officials announced today.

President Bill Clinton, who spoke to the moderate Democratic Leadership Council this afternoon, touted the good economic news, and credited Democrats for replacing Republican "trickle-down economics" with "invest-and-grow economics."

"The Democratic Party gave that [the reduced deficit] to America and I am proud of them for doing it," Clinton said to applause. (576K wav sound)

"Our economy is the healthiest in the world," the president said.

The new deficit figure is for the 1997 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. It's based on the Treasury Department's final comparison of tax receipts and government spending.

The $22.6 billion is the lowest deficit since 1974, when the figure was $6.1 billion, and it represents just 0.3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. The record-high federal deficit was $290.4 billion in 1992.

Federal officials began the year expecting a deficit of $128 billion.

In his talk, Clinton also lobbied again for fast-track negotiating authority for international trade and for national educational standards, to make sure that people have the skills for a new and fast-changing economy.

Clinton said the nation needs to invest more in workers who lose their jobs, and better use the experience it has gained in closing military bases.

"We can't turn back and our party can't turn back," Clinton said. "We need an economy for the 21st century."


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