Through all the discussion surrounding the fiscal cliff negotiations we have heard the relentless drumbeat of an argument that during the surplus years of President Clinton, the tax rates were higher than they are now. If it worked then, they theory goes, it can work now.
Makes sense. Kinda.
But no one is asking for a return to the Clinton-era rates. They’re asking for a return to the Clinton-era tax rates for SOME, not all.
And, of course, the idea is only to revert to the Clinton-era revenue rates. Not the spending rates.
What if we went back to the spending of that Clinton era? Why, during 1999 the federal budget was $1,701 billion. Adjusted for inflation, that comes to $2,350 billion. And what is our expected revenue for 2012? About $2,468 billion.
A surplus of $118 billion.