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Friday, March 5, 2010

Guest Post-The Screw You Politics Of The 2000-2001 Balanced Budgets

By: Brian Bollmann

In the 2008 election, both the Democrat and Republican candidates were touting the balanced budgets of the late 1990’s Clinton Presidency and Republican Congress. Over and over we heard how bad the Bush Presidency and Republican Congressed handled their fiscal responsibility and how all this would change with either Democrat or Republican option for President. Republicans and Democrats in 2000 – 2001: Good. Republicans and Democrats in 2002 – 2008: Bad. Everyone seemed to agree.

They say any time the Democrats and Republicans are in agreement – you know one thing – Americans are getting screwed.

I’ve seen this 1st graph many times showing that in 2000 and 2001 there was a budget surplus, and with the 9/11 attacks, the Bush wars, and the Bush economic policy, we went to hell in a hand basket and had to elect a Democrat Congress and the chosen one. Now we see that Obama has double-doubled-down on the debt and we will race to a debt greater than 100% of our GDP.

But there’s that nagging budget surplus in 2000 and 2001. There are the Republicans and Democrats in agreement. And, it still bugs me, tests credulity, and bothers me down to the cockles of my heart.

Out here in the real world, you know that your budget must stay within the amount of money you make. Let’s say you make $48,000, owe $75,000 on a house, and owe $15,000 on a car. At the beginning of the year, you owe, $80,000. Throughout the year you receive income of $4000 per month, you pay for food, utilities, clothing, entertainment, taxes and all the things you need throughout the year. You make payments on your house and your car. At the end of the year, let’s say you now owe $82,000. Did you budget properly? Did you spend more than you should have? Did you have a balanced budget? The answer is clearly no.

However, our elected officials and bureaucrats have been telling us for 10 years that the 2000 and 2001 budgets were balanced.

The next graph was created from data readily available on the White House web site at:


A table “Table 7.1—Federal Debt at the End of Year: 1940–2015” lists the year-by-year Gross National Debt from 1940 – 2009 with estimates through 2015. A simple calculation determining whether debt went up or down for a given year shows that GROSS NATIONAL DEBT HAS RISEN EVERY YEAR SINCE 1968.

In 2008 and 2009, we added an incredible $1.9 Trillion to the national debt each year. But look back to 1999 - 2001; as you can see we also added to our Gross National Debt. In 1999, only a miniscule (by Federal Government standards) $23 Billion was added to the debt, but the bottom line, there WAS an increase in the Gross National Debt. The last year that the Gross National Debt went down was 1968.

In the real world where you and I live, this means the budget WAS NOT balanced. This means that the elected officials and bureaucrats are playing games with the numbers. This means that your Federal Representatives and Presidents are continuing to perpetuate this lie!

Surprised? I doubt it; I wasn’t.

So, now you know the facts. Now you are armed with information. The next time one of your elected liars tries to tell you that our wonderful Federal Government balanced the budget in 1999-2001, tell them they are perpetuating a lie and that you won’t stand for it.

And, to me, if the Tea Party wants to get active, the place to start is with a Balanced Budget Amendment.


  1. Brian,

    Was the increase from from interest on the national debt?

    Great point about a balanced budget meaning not increasing the national debt not just covering the bills for that year....

  2. Can't read the chart. It's too small. And you're splitting hairs. But nice try.