In addition, per Steiner, the only debt that matters is the total national debt. You can have a surplus and a debt at the same time, but you can't have a surplus if the amount of debt is going up each year. And the national debt went up every single year under Clinton. Had Clinton really had a surplus the national debt would have gone down. It didn't go down precisely because Clinton had a deficit every single year. The U.S. Treasury's historical record of the national debt verifies this. A balanced budget or a budget surplus is a great thing, but it's only relevant if the budget surplus turns into a real surplus at the end of the fiscal year. In Clinton's case, it never did.