AllPolitics - State Of The Union '97

Related Links:

  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Citizens Against Government Waste
  • Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
  • Concord Coalition's Quarterly Deficit Report: December 1996
  • U.S. Government Budget, FYI 1997
  • U.S. National Debt Clock

  • The Federal Deficit


    Both Bill Clinton and congressional Republicans have talked about reviving the budget proposals of the 104th Congress and trying to eliminate the federal deficit by 2002. So far, Clinton has offered some Medicare proposals that move in that direction, but it's not clear how much progress the president and Congress will make this year toward eliminating the deficit.

    What is clear, at least, is the deficit has fallen significantly in Clinton's first term, due somewhat to an economy that performed better than expected and due somewhat to government action.

    In a mid-1996 review of this year's federal budget, the Clinton Administration projected that the fiscal 1996 deficit would be $117 billion.

    When Clinton took office four years ago, he inherited a far larger deficit -- $290 billion for FY 1992. The administration believes the deficit, cut by more than half, "is now under control," according to its mid-year review.

    One good place to go for facts, figures and straight talk about the deficit is the Concord Coalition, the nonpartisan group whose goal is to eliminate the deficit and limit the spiraling growth of federal entitlements. That group recognizes the progress that has occurred, but isn't celebrating yet.

    The Concord Coalition says the deficit "is poised to head back up this coming year and continue to climb every year throughout the next decade and beyond. On the present course, by the time the Baby Boom generation is fully retired, entitlement programs alone will consume all federal revenue, and budget deficits will have pumped the public debt up to levels that the economy cannot sustain."

    Balancing the budget would have a significant impact on family finances. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted interest rates would fall 1.1 percent if the budget were balanced, and that would mean annual interest savings of $724 on an $80,000 home mortgage and $91 on a $15,000 auto loan.

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