Clinton laments the loss of the nation's budget surplus from the 1990's, and aims to establish a balanced budget again.
HILLARY CLINTON: “Yes we did, we had a balanced budget and a surplus when my husband left the White House, and we had the opportunity – and I, I really, you know, I know there are not only Democrats here, there are a lot of independents in New Hampshire, a lot of Republicans, and I hope you're here too because I think the conversation we need in this campaign and election, I hope gets beyond sort of the usual partisanship and really looks at what we can do together as a nation. And with respect to the balanced budget and the surplus, we were on track had we stayed on that fiscal course, to paying off our national debt. Not just eliminating deficits, which is what a balanced budget and a surplus means, but really paying down our national debt. I went to the Senate from New York in January of 2001, and I remember very well that, you know, President Bush and his administration had a very different philosophy. And the first thing they wanted to do that Spring was to really cut taxes very deeply. I said, 'Look, I can support a moderate tax cut, you know, because we do have a balanced budget and a surplus, but let's not do it to the extent that we lose the advantage we now have to control our own fiscal destiny.' I lost that argument. I voted for an alternative, but I lost. Then 9/11 happened, and as a Senator from New York, I knew it was going to cost many billions of dollars to rebuild New York, to rebuild the Pentagon, to start doing what we needed to do to protect ourselves. And the administration asked for another big tax cut. Then we had two wars. And I think it was, if not the only time, certainly among the very few times we waged war and did not pay for them. So by the course of that eight years, we basically saw huge expenses going into Homeland Security, going into our military, and we saw our balanced budget once again turn into big deficits. Certainly no surplus. And we had the economic crash. So I would hope, with sensible economic policy, we could get back moving toward balance.”