In 1997, President Clinton and the U.S. Congress agreed to a lie. They pledged to abide by a series of annual budget caps designed to cut domestic spending by one-fifth. They enacted the caps into law in a balanced-budget act. That allowed them to tell the American public they had finally eliminated running federal budget deficits. It allowed them to talk about surpluses and tax cuts. But almost everyone in Washington knew from the start that the caps were unrealistic. They were ...


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