This always irritates me. When the MSM doesn’t like how things happen they resort to to the practice of simply imagining things the way it suits them and writing that as news. It’s a tactic as old as history. But with the advent of the Internet it’s getting harder.
Not that it stops them from trying.
In Mr. Clinton’s day, the economic team, asserting that a credible commitment to fiscal responsibility would reassure financial markets and lead to greater long-term growth, won the argument in favor of deficit reduction, helped by moderate Democrats in Congress. These days, the Obama political team has the edge, again in the cause of emphasizing deficit reduction and with an assist from Congressional Democrats nervous about the midterm elections.
But if you want to go and look at what was written contemporaneously you get an entirely different view.
Published by the Cato Institute in 1998 remembers the budget battles of just 3 years earlier and long before the G W Bush administration.
No, Bill Clinton Didn’t Balance the Budget Stephen Moore is director of fiscal policy studies at the Cato Institute.
And 1993 — the year of the giant Clinton tax hike — was not the turning point in the deficit wars, either. In fact, in 1995, two years after that tax hike, the budget baseline submitted by the president’s own Office of Management and Budget and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted $200 billion deficits for as far as the eye could see. The figure shows the Clinton deficit baseline. What changed this bleak outlook?
Newt Gingrich and company — for all their faults — have received virtually no credit for balancing the budget. Yet today’s surplus is, in part, a byproduct of the GOP’s single-minded crusade to end 30 years of red ink. Arguably, Gingrich’s finest hour as Speaker came in March 1995 when he rallied the entire Republican House caucus behind the idea of eliminating the deficit within seven years.
Skeptics said it could not be done in seven years. The GOP did it in four.
Now let us contrast this with the Clinton fiscal record. Recall that it was the Clinton White House that fought Republicans every inch of the way in balancing the budget in 1995. When Republicans proposed their own balanced-budget plan, the White House waged a shameless Mediscare campaign to torpedo the plan — a campaign that the Washington Post slammed as “pure demagoguery.” It was Bill Clinton who, during the big budget fight in 1995, had to submit not one, not two, but five budgets until he begrudgingly matched the GOP’s balanced-budget plan. In fact, during the height of the budget wars in the summer of 1995, the Clinton administration admitted that “balancing the budget is not one of our top priorities.”
The Cato article is not completely complimentary about the Republican Congress. But on the budget they were correct.
Unlike the MSM I provide links to my sources. It also helps that I was alive and paying attention during the 1990s. I personally remember the budget battles, including some very dirty backroom dealing by the White House to get around the fact that there was no budget or continuing resolution. In other words a government shutdown like the Democrats successfully blamed on Reagan and Bush in 1981, 1984, and 1990 under similar circumstances.
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