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Commentary: Recalling the lost paradise of budget surpluses

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Hard to believe, but once upon a time, economists worried that the U.S. government would pay off all its debt. Also hard to believe, once upon a time was only 11 years ago.

President Clinton had bequeathed his successor budget surpluses "as far as the eye could see." He wanted some of them used to speed up repayment of the remaining $3.6 trillion still owed the public in Treasury bonds. He said it could all be paid off by 2013.

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