The Budget: Rolling In Dough

After decades of deficits, the Federal Government is starting to generate mountains of surplus cash. So what do we do with it?

The turnaround has been so staggering as to defy belief. For as far back as anyone can remember--since 1969, in fact--the Federal Government has been spending money and every year leaving behind a prodigious pile of ious. As recently as 1992, the government spent a record $290 billion more than it took in, and the deficit would have been much larger without a big Social Security surplus. That was before the 1997 budget deal that began winding down the deficit, however. Now the payoff is here. In the fiscal year just ended, Uncle Sam rolled up a $123 billion surplus, by...

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