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A squandered legacy

Bill Clinton's former chief economic adviser revisits the 1990s debates on deficits and balanced budgets

By Laura Tyson   April 2004

Four years ago at the beginning of the last American presidential campaign, the US economy was enjoying a nine-year expansion: strong growth, low unemployment and inflation, rising incomes, a soaring stock market, and large federal budget surpluses. At the time, many observers from both left and right accorded the policies of the Clinton administration – in particular its support for significant deficit reduction – at least partial credit for the economy’s strong performance.

Today, the US economy appears poised for another period of high growth following a spectacular stock market correction, a painful recession, and an anaemic recovery characterised by…

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