|WHY BALANCE THE BUDGET?|
August 8, 1997
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What's the difference between the deficit and the national debt? Should domestic spending be considered as "investments?" How does the deficit relate to the $300 million interest payment? Is balancing the budget short-sighted? Will a balanced budget reduce interest rates? Does the budget deal include a plan to reduce the national debt? Viewer comments on a federal balanced budget
July 29, 1997:
A background report and debate on the budget deal struck by Congress and the White House.
June 26, 1997:
The Senate works on finishing touches for the budget reconciliation.
June 10, 1997:
Rep. Bill Archer and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin discuss the budget negotiations.
May 22, 1997:
The Senate works through numerous amendments on its way to a balanced budget deal.
May 2, 1997:
Congress and the President make a deal to balance the budget by 2002.
February 26, 1997:
The Republican Balanced Budget bill is rejected by the Senate, overturned by one vote.
February 7, 1997:
Office of Management and Budget Director, Franklin Raines, and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), debate President Clinton's budget proposal.
January 30, 1997:
The NewsHour historians look at the history of bipartisanship.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of the Budget
Browse past Shields and Gigot debates.
The Office of Management and Budget has placed President Clinton's FY 1998 Federal Budget request on the Internet.
Lamont Hamilton of Carrollton, TX, asks:
The budget debate focuses on revenue and expenses, which tends to be short-sighted. When I want an accurate picture of my family's expenses, I consider not only income and expenses, but also investments and long-term debt. I will borrow money for a house or car and at some time in the future, I might borrow money to start my own business. Why doesn't government concern itself more with the overall long-term effect of an expenditure on its net worth? Investments in infrastructure and budding technologies would look more appealing in that light.
Paul Solman of WGBH-Boston responds:
Mr. Hamilton, you make the capital budgeting point better than I do (see my response to Mr. Loges, above). Yes, government ought to create such a budget item or category. But no, it won't be easy to decide what should be included and what shouldn't be, because of the difficulty of pinning down just what an "investment" IS.
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