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We really ought to put one myth to rest once and for all.

That myth is that Bush spent the surplus.

He didn't, because there was no surplus to spend.

In no year of the Clinton administration did the national government's receipts exceed its expenditures. This pattern was expected to continue as far in the future as the economic forecasters cared to look.

The MYTHICAL budget surpluses, achieved by explicitly choosing not to include planned expenditures in the budget, are a much different matter. There were proposals in Congress, mostly from Democrats, to spend more than $1.50 (in new programs and raised funding) for each dollar of this mythical surplus. Bush managed to push through a tax cut and restrain enough of the other proposals, that between revenue lost to the tax cut (in static analysis) and new/increased spending only about 75 cents out of each mythical dollar was disposed of.

The remainder of the mythical dollars were lost to decreased tax revenues and increased welfare expenditures caused by the recession which began in early 2000 - before Bush was elected. (But I am not blaming Clinton for it. Presidents don't have that much effect on the economy.)
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