With the Senate’s failure to pass health care legislation in last week’s votes, Congress should turn to a bipartisan approach. This is needed both to fix the serious, short-term problems with health care marketplaces around the country and to propel health care cost-control initiatives over the longer term.
When The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992, the national debt was on a sharp upward trajectory. Yet just five years later, Democratic President Bill Clinton signed legislation passed by a Republican Congress that implemented the first balanced budget in decades. By the time Clinton left the White House, the Congressional Budget Office was projecting a 10-year surplus of over $5 trillion and there was even discussion about whether the national debt could be paid off entirely.
This past Saturday marked 20 years since President Bill Clinton signed the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA). The act was the result of an agreement with the Republican-controlled Congress designed to balance the budget by 2002.
Not all deficits are created equal.
In designing policy responses, it is important to distinguish between “cyclical” and “structural” deficits.
Cyclical deficits are caused by a weak economy. Recessions drive down government revenue because many workers and businesses are no longer earning as much taxable income. At the same time, government spending rises because more people need assistance through programs such as Medicaid, unemployment benefits and food stamps.