This was only nine years ago:
Republicans said the surplus provided more than enough room for a tax cut and other needs…[….]
[Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan] said, there is a greater likelihood that the government will run surpluses for years to come — and that the government will soon confront the welcome but tricky question of what to do with surplus revenue when the debt is zero.
Lacking anything else to do with the money, Mr. Greenspan said, the government might eventually end up buying stocks and corporate bonds on Wall Street, involving Washington heavily in private enterprise.
To avoid that outcome, he said, the government should act now to put fiscal policy on a ”glide path” that pays off the debt and leaves little or nothing in the way of additional surpluses once the debt reaches zero.
There’s some old saying about addiction, that an addict gets high to celebrate something good, to take the edge off something bad, to ward off the boredom of the in-between. It’s pretty much the same with conservatives and tax cuts. Economy’s good? The surplus creates a need for tax cuts. Economy’s bad? Cut taxes to stimulate it. Economy’s in-between? Cutting taxes will make it better.
You don’t need to know the question to know what the answer is.