Treasury Pays Down Debt for First Time Since Dubya Taxes, cuts give Treasury unexpected $35B By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Apr 30, 2013 12:59 AM CDT Updated Apr 30, 2013 7:53 AM CDT 172 comments Comments Does this clock go backwards? (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Newser) – Spending cuts and tax hikes have boosted the federal government's finances enough to actually pay off some debt for the first time since George W. Bush was president. The Treasury Department, which predicted earlier this year that it would end the second quarter another $103 billion deeper in debt, now says it will retire $35 billion in debt between April and June, reports the Wall Street Journal. "The decrease in borrowing relates primarily to higher receipts, lower outlays, and changes in cash balance assumptions," the Treasury said in a statement. Retiring some debt for the first time since 2007 buys the government a little more time before it has to haggle over raising the $16.4 trillion borrowing limit, the Hill notes. But America is still a long way from having a balanced budget, which has only happened four times since 1970, when there was a surplus in the fiscal years from 1998 to 2001, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.