President Clinton pulled another rabbit out of his hat this week —
this one in the form of $1 trillion that materialized in budget
forecasting in just the last five months.
That’s right, just five months ago, the best economic prognosticators
the White House could find came up with one prediction about an
imaginary budget surplus in the year 2014. This week, the same
soothsayers found an extra trillion.
What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s
a dog-and-pony show. It’s a crystal ball act worthy of Carnak the
First of all, ask yourself this question: Even if we could accurately
predict economic conditions over the next 15 years, which we cannot, how
can we project a budget surplus or deficit for a period of time in which
budgets have not yet been drafted? The politicians who will draft them
have not yet been elected. Heck, some of them haven’t even graduated
from high school yet. You’ve heard the term “voodoo economics”? This is
This is the ultimate Clinton con job. He so desperately needs a
legacy. His poll numbers are dropping. So what does he do? He creates $1
trillion out of thin air. And then he sets out to spend it faster than
it took to manufacture the phantom dollars.
Clinton boasted in his press conference that his administration had
been responsible for bringing down the deficit. Wrong. The deficit has
increased every year since he has been in office.
In 1993, it increased $349 billion. In 1994, it increased $292
billion. In 1995, it increased $278 billion. In 1996, it increased $260
billion. In 1997, it increased $188 billion. In 1998, it increased $109
billion. In 1999, it is expected to increase by $136 billion. That’s an
overall increase, not counting the interest, of $1.61 trillion in the
national debt since Bill Clinton took office.
Am I making up these numbers? No. These are the figures provided by
the U.S. Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget, the
Council of Economic Advisers and the Joint Economic Committee of
Congress. They all say the same thing — if you know how to read a
So what is he talking about? Where is this surplus?
To see the imaginary surplus, you have to wear rose-colored glasses
and pretend that money from the Social Security Trust Fund, already
allocated for expenditure in the future, is really available right now
to be spent in the current budget.
It’s the kind of creative accounting that would land a private
businessman in jail for years — kind of like keeping two sets of books,
or spending money twice.
Unfortunately, Clinton is not the only con man in Washington using
such creative accounting methods. The entire Congress has gone along
with it, mainly because it provides an excuse for both parties to spend
more on their pet causes — even though the government is, by any honest
No matter what any of the con artists tell you, the national debt is
at an all-time high — $5.61 trillion. To find an extra $1 trillion, the
magicians in Washington would have to come up with around $6.61 trillion
to cover the debt, plus the extra funds.
Clinton expects us to believe that his economic team has been able to
predict with some degree of accuracy the state of the nation for the
next 15 years as well as the budgets that will be adopted by future
Congresses and ratified by future presidents. In doing that, they come
up with a $1 trillion surplus. Five months ago, admittedly, the number
was $1 trillion less.
What might that number be five months from now? What might it be five
years from now? What might it be five minutes from now? Your guess is
better than Clinton’s — believe me.
In the old Soviet Union and in modern China today, the Communists
were fond of coming up with five-year plans than magically reinvigorated
their corrupt economic systems. Of course, they never worked out. The
old joke was that Russia was in the 15th year of its five-year plan.
Well, Clinton has put a new spin on this old canard. He’s got a
15-year plan for economic panacea. How convenient that he delivers this
18 months prior to his term expires. The results won’t be in until four
more presidential elections are held. Who will remember Clinton’s
forecasts and promises then?
In the meantime, though, the politicians — of both parties — will
take the money and run.