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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press NPR Doesn't Know How They Balanced the Budget in the 1990s

NPR Doesn't Know How They Balanced the Budget in the 1990s

Wednesday, 06 July 2011 15:14

That's the problem when you have young reporters. They can't remember back to the 1990s.

If NPR did have reporters who remembered back to the 1990s they would not be telling listeners that Ohio Governor John Kasich was "chairman of the House Budget Committee when he balanced the budget with President Clinton in the 1990s."

Actually, neither John Kasich nor President Clinton balanced the budget in the 1990s. The 1996 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections for the fiscal year 2000 budget showed a deficit in that year of $244 billion. Instead, the government ran a surplus of $232 billion. According to CBO the legislated changes put in place by Mr. Kasich and Mr. Clinton over this four year period added $10 billion to the deficit. 

This background information might have given listeners a somewhat different perspective on Mr. Kasich's quote:

"At the end of the day, you look yourself in the mirror, and you say to yourself, 'Did I do what was right for families and for children, and if I paid a political price, so what?"

Source: Congressional Budget Office and author's calculations.

Comments (5)Add Comment
Convential Wisdom Rubbish
written by leo, July 06, 2011 3:47
Thanks for mentioning this. The reporting was so one-sided and ill-informed.

According to Andrea Seabrook there are no unemployed, there are no concerns other than the deficit, and there are no Democrats with any other possible approach or view.

You're An Idiot
written by izzatzo, July 06, 2011 6:39
Kasich speech is heavily laden with condescending beration because he regards the solution to all issues as obvious and anyone who hasn't already grasped that is an idiot.

Police officers who issue speeding tickets are idiots.

Anyone who believes Kasich had anything to do with the $400 million lost in Ohio pension funds to his former employer Lehman Brothers is an idiot.

Anyone who believes Kasich did not balance the budget under Clinton is an idiot.

If you idiots were aware of calculators or computers you could figure these things out for yourself.

written by skeptonomist, July 06, 2011 7:03
Give a lot of the credit for the surplus of "232 billion" to boomers paying SS taxes and to the accounting trick of the "unified" budget - $150B of that "surplus" was actually adding to the gross deficit. Unless you are not planning to pay future scheduled SS benefits, the 2000 surplus was actually $86B and the 1999 surplus was less than $2B. A significant part of the larger unified-budget deficits currently is due to the drop-off of payroll-tax income.
Warmed Over CW
written by Sirius_TheStarDog, July 06, 2011 7:20
Andrea Seabrook commits atrocious acts of journalistic malpractice with each and every report. Ari Shapiro is a close 2nd.

NPR's political reporting leaves an awful...and I mean awful...lot to be desired.
Seabrook is Right: There is No Involuntary Unemployment
written by Paul, July 06, 2011 7:27
In Classical Economic Theory, involuntary unemployment is a logical impossibility. Anyone who is "involuntarily" unemployed is actually a slacker who refuses to work for whatever wage is available.

Of course Keynes disproved Classical Economics 75 years ago, but nobody reasonably expects anyone at NPR to understand Keynes. NPR follows the Chicago School of Classical Economics.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.