Clinton Projects $1.9 Trillion Budget Surplus

President Clinton today projected that the United States will have a $1.9 trillion budget surplus over the next decade. He said the increase in the expected surplus means the government will be debt-free by 2010.

The fiscal 2001 budget surplus was projected at $256 billion, White House officials said. The fiscal 2000 surplus was $237 billion, officials said, which capped four straight years of budget surpluses.

This was the first time the country has had four straight budget surpluses since 1930, officials said.

The increase in the surplus, which does not include the Social Security or the Medicare surplus, marks the ninth consecutive year in which the government’s bottom line has improved, a first. In June, Clinton projected a 10-year surplus of $1.87 trillion. The new figure was $300 million higher.

“These are conservative numbers,” Clinton said at a White House news conference.

Surplus Source of Proposed Tax Cuts

The booming economy also will allow the country to pay off the debt by 2009 if it dedicates its entire budget surplus to debt reduction, White House budget director Jack Lew said. “America is on track to becoming debt-free,” Lew said.

Over that same 10-year period, the surplus for Social Security is expected to grow to $2.5 trillion while the Medicare surplus is expected to grow to $532 billion, Lew said.

President-elect Bush argued during his campaign that his proposal for more than $1.3 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years can be paid for by budget surpluses without eroding Social Security’s trust funds. But he has also been cautioning of a potential downturn in the economy — a forecast that the White House deplored as without basis and likely to be damaging to the economy.