Budget Special Report
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More recent Washington Post editorials, opinion pieces and letters about the budget.

A selection of recent opinion pieces and editorials on the federal budget from The Washington Post.

The 'Surplus' Surplus
May 20, 1998
Common sense and basic fairness suggest that the best use for the emerging surpluses is to pay down the federal debt. Yet the president and Congress are busily crafting new spending commitments and tax cuts, while professing not to be endangering the surpluses. – Robert J. Samuelson

Budget Progress
February 24, 1998
The Senate Republican leadership has apparently settled on the outline of an alternative budget that would be at least equally disciplined as President Clinton's in the face of even greater political pressure to the contrary. – Editorial

Clinton's Budget Sleight-of-Hand
February 13, 1998
Clinton has flummoxed his opposition by declaring that every penny of the surplus would go to "save Social Security first." Of course, as with everything Clintonian, this is not exactly true. – Charles Krauthammer

Reading Between the Budget Lines
February 10, 1998
How, exactly, does the president's budget propose to use the surplus to "save" Social Security? With accounting hocus-pocus. – Allan Sloan

What Surplus?
February 5, 1998
With the present surplus fever, the people think the government is finally on a pay-as-you-go basis. But in reality, the politicians continue to spend, running huge deficits in government trust funds. – Ernest F. Hollings

A Good Idea on Social Security
January 27, 1998
Paying down the debt would help solve the long-term Social Security problem. The added, political, virtue of the idea is that it should help avert a tax cut. – Editorial

Despite a Surplus of Talk, The Deficit Remains a Reality
January 13, 1998
There is no surplus. If you do the math the normal way instead of Uncle Sam's way, there's nothing resembling a budget surplus on the horizon. – Allan Sloan

Forgotten but Not Paid
January 7, 1998
The prospect of a surplus has unleashed a cascade of talk about new tax cuts or more spending (or "investments," as the White House prefers to say). Suddenly forgotten is the fact that we have amassed $5.5 trillion in debt, almost four-fifths of it in the 1980s and 1990s, and the last trillion during the supposedly frugal Clinton years. – David S. Broder

Beware the Year of the Surplus
December 30, 1997
Washington is about to become a very different place – possibly a more dangerous one. The deficit applied constraints that made major policy changes almost impossible, and that's been a good thing. – James K. Glassman

Line-Item Furor
November 7, 1997
The appearance of politicization of the line-item veto authority jeopardizes the future of this important deficit-reduction tool and severely damages the credibility of the president's efforts to balance the federal budget. – John McCain

Those Surpluses: Proceed With Caution
September 21, 1997
Before the promised surpluses burn a hole in the congressional pocketbook, lawmakers should remember that these surpluses are not yet in hand and that there are benefits from sustaining rather than spending them. – Robert D. Reischauer

Our Political Budget
August 10, 1997
This is legislation that will ultimately add to the deficit it pretends to reduce, and benefit the rich far more than the middle class and poor. But the bill contains enough else to obscure these long-term effects. That's the political genius of it. – Editorial

A Republican Budget Triumph
August 3, 1997
The five-year "bipartisan" budget deal is really a stunning ratification of Republican values, goals and politics. Barring a massive recession, the deal promotes a political era of prolonged Republican dominance. – Robert Kuttner

Budget Deal Is a Political Classic
August 1, 1997
The budget deal itself is not as objectionable as the high-fiving, chest-thumping, boy-are-we-great triumphalism of Democratic and Republican politicians acting as if they had just won the NBA playoffs. – E. J. Dionne Jr.

Budget Week
July 29, 1997
This is a lost opportunity that, on balance and in the long run, will likely do a fairly large amount of harm – the tax cuts – for relatively little good. – Editorial

Budget Euphoria
July 23, 1997
This timid budget deal deserves only lukewarm support. Absent strong enforcement provisions, this deal is not really a balanced-budget agreement. – Bill Frenzel and Tim Penny

The Budget: A Model of Muddling
July 16, 1997
It is a close call whether the present federal budget package would be good or bad for the country. – Robert J. Samuelson

Why Pay Off the National Debt?
July 15, 1997
The argument about the evil of the federal debt is based on a fallacy, which is that it's a burden on future generations of Americans. Our children won't merely inherit debt, they'll inherit bonds. – James K. Glassman

Bogus Facts About the Budget
June 9, 1997
The favorite new game in town is finding fault with a budget agreement that brings the deficit from $290 billion in 1992 to zero in 2002. But the commentary is all too often built on myths that just ain't so. – Gene Sperling and Franklin D. Raines

The Budget Deal: Bad for Everyone
May 20, 1997
The budget that Congress is set to pass may succeed in showing a zero deficit on paper in the year 2002, but it fails miserably in its most important function -- holding down federal spending. – James K. Glassman

A Definition of 'Balanced Budget' No Business Could Get Away With
May 13, 1997
Even if all the good things assumed in the budget agreement actually come to pass – no recession, buoyant employment, declining interest rates – the budget still wouldn't be close to balanced if Uncle Sam kept his books in the conventional way. – Allan Sloan

The Phony War Over the Budget
May 11, 1997
Democrats and Republicans pretend to be brandishing clenched fists at each other, but they really are shaking hands across the barricades. – George F. Will

Deceptive Budget Deal
May 9, 1997
If it all seems too good to be true, that's because it is. – Phil Gramm

The Budget Deal: Kill It
May 6, 1997
There are two separate, opposing public philosophies in America today. To obscure that fact in a bipartisan bargain amounts to an antitrust violation. – James K. Glassman

The CPI Cowards
May 2, 1997
Welcome to the great consumer price index (CPI) debacle, the single worst example of political cravenness in this decade. – Charles Krauthammer

Budget Gimmick
May 1, 1997
Washington policymakers have hit upon the ultimate fiscal gimmick. They want to balance the federal budget by pretending that working Americans aren't having an even harder time balancing their family budgets. – Richard A. Gephardt

Caving on the Consumer Price Index
March 19, 1997
President Clinton may have blown a historic opportunity by not endorsing the recalculation of the consumer price index. – David S. Broder

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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