Many mainstream media pundits are undoubtedly displeased that a good portion of the public doesn’t approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance. But today’s nomination of Janet Yellen for Federal Reserve chairman gave some of them a chance to wax nostalgic for another Democratic president and the time Yellen worked in the Clinton White House. On today’s 3:30 pm segment of CNN Newsroom, anchor Wolf Blitzer reminisced with chief political analyst Gloria Borger and international business correspondent Richard Quest:
BORGER: Jack Lew, who is now treasury secretary, was there as a budget director. Those were the good old days.
BLITZER: Budget surpluses are good. We haven't seen those budget surpluses in a long time.
BORGER: We haven't seen them.
BLITZER: But she knows how to do that, and she was giving then- President Bill Clinton good economic advice.
BROGER: Right, but don't forget, what they did when Bill Clinton was president is they cut the budget, and there was a lot of controversy within the Democratic Party at that time about whether the president was, in fact, turning into a Republican because he was cutting the budget so much.
Cutting the budget so much? According to the Office of Management and Budget’s historical table (Table 1.1), total Federal outlays in 1994, Bill Clinton’s first full year in office, were $1.46 trillion. When he left in 2001, they were $1.82 trillion. So outlays under Clinton increased by over $360 billion, an amount greater than what the entire government spent as recently as 1975. We can only imagine what his budgets would have been were it not for the constraining influence of Speaker Newt Gingrich and the GOP House.
Ah, yes, the good old days. Made even better with a little rewriting of history.