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An op-ed by CTJ director Bob McIntyre that ran in several newspapers this week refutes Newt Gingrich’s recent claim that the government shutdown of 1995 led to a balanced budget. McIntyre writes:
In a Feb. 27 article in the Washington Post, Gingrich argues (a) that Republicans did not cause the government shutdown and (b) that the shutdown was a brilliant tactical move by Republicans. The shutdown, he says, led inexorably to the 1997 “Balanced Budget Act,” which he claims produced the federal budget surpluses we enjoyed from fiscal 1998 to 2001.
Gingrich’s insistence that he deserves none of the blame, but all of the (supposed) credit for the 1995 government shutdown is humorous, and I thank him for the laugh. Not so funny is Gingrich’s cockamamie theory that the so-called 1997 “Balanced Budget Act” and its companion bill, the “Taxpayer Relief Act,” led to the budget surpluses that began in 1998…