WASHINGTON — Flush with tax revenues from a booming economy, the federal government posted a record $237 billion surplus for the budget year that ended in September, the Clinton administration announced Tuesday.
It marked the third straight year of surpluses, something that hasn’t happened since the late 1940s.
Social Security taxes provided nearly $150 billion of the surplus.
"This is the third surplus in a row — the first time our nation has done that in 51 years, since 1949 when Harry Truman was president," Clinton said on the South Lawn during an event to push his education initiatives.
Clinton said that in 1993, the federal deficit was $290 billion, the national debt had quadrupled in 12 years and economists predicted that this year, instead of a $237 billion surplus, we would have a $455 billion deficit.
The government’s 2000 surplus surpassed the previous record of $124.4 billion for fiscal year 1999 and came on top of a $69.2 billion surplus in fiscal year 1998. The 1998 surplus marked the first time the government had managed to finish in the black since 1969.
The last time the government reported three consecutive years of surpluses was in 1947, 1948 and 1949.
The record-breaking economy is in its longest-ever streak of uninterrupted growth. Americans are enjoying plentiful jobs, low inflation — outside of the recent burst of energy prices — and rising incomes. The prosperity also is helping to generate more tax revenues.
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