Beware Of Accounting Magic Tricks, Mr. Clinton

For Bill Clinton, it's going to be a neat trick: Cut the deficit and step up federal spending on infrastructure at the same time. But there just might be a way to accomplish that, say some economists who have dusted off an old idea. The federal government, they say, should adopt a capital budget separate from an operating budget, an accounting method not unlike that used by businesses, states, and local governments. In this manner, worthwhile long-term investments can receive the financing they require and deserve, while spending for day-to-day activities can be brought into line. Presto! Two birds are killed with one stone.

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