In his Dec. 1 op-ed column about Bill Clinton's successes, David Broder said that the 1993 budget "unleashed market forces" without really saying how. I assume he means that because the budget put us on the road to a balanced budget (debatable), lower interest rates became possible. But interest rates are approximately the same now as when Mr. Clinton became president.
In January 1993, the federal funds rate -- the interest rate financial institutions charge one another on overnight loans -- was 3 1/2 percent; it is now 5 1/2 percent. In 1993, before the budget had an effect, 30-year bond yields hit 6 percent; they closed on Nov. 30 at 6.288 percent.
Compare this with the Reagan-Bush years, when we were running deficits: When Ronald Reagan took office, the federal fund rate was 13 percent; by the time George Bush left office, it was down to 3 1/2 percent. And 30-year bonds had yields of 15 percent in 1981.
Where is the correlation? This economy was growing long before Mr. Clinton's 1993 budget.
In his op-ed column "Clinton's Two Triumphs," David Broder says that President Clinton will be remembered for two political victories: the raising of taxes on upper-income Americans and lowering them for those in lower-income brackets, and achieving approval for the North American Free Trade Agreement. He claims that these measures contributed greatly to our prosperity this decade.
Nowhere in his column does Mr. Broder acknowledge that the end of the Cold War (achieved under the Reagan and Bush administrations) allowed the United States to reconfigure itself from a largely military-related economy to better compete with the rest of the world on a more peaceful basis.
The 1991 recession occurred largely because of the changes the U.S. economy was undergoing. Businesses and industries were downsizing and redirecting their efforts. By the time Mr. Bush's administration was ending, recovery from this adjustment was underway. The economy improved steadily, so more taxes were collected.
Even Mr. Clinton was surprised. He had predicted that it might take eight to 15 years to achieve a balanced budget; however, in typical fashion, he has taken credit for the improvements.
Mr. Broder should set his political bias aside and recognize that American scientific and technical ingenuity, management capabilities and worker effectiveness are the real engines of our prosperity.
DONALD J. MOE