Clinton budget aims at rapid cut in deficit: As US economic recovery continues, Washington avoids any sweeping tax increases

WITH a reinvigorated economy filling his sails, President Bill Clinton yesterday unveiled a 1995 budget proposal that, without any sweeping new tax increases, would reduce the federal deficit to its lowest level in six years.

With an eye on conservatives in his own party as well as the Republican opposition, the President is arguing for cuts in an array of government services, including the elimination of over 100 federal programmes. A portion of the savings, however, would be directed to areas considered as priorities, including job training and research.

As it stands, his budget draft would see next year's annual deficit fall to dollars 176.1bn ( pounds 117.4bn), the narrowest it will have been since a gap of dollars 152.5bn in 1989. This is dollars 126bn less than even the Clinton administration was forecasting a year ago.

The proposal helps give the lie to Republican caricatures of Mr Clinton as a tax-and-spend Democrat. But the President has been forced anyway to stay in line with the controversial budget package passed last year, which demands a dollars 500bn cut in the accumulated federal budget over five years.

The deficit picture has meanwhile been improved considerably by the economic recovery, which appears still to be gathering strength. Last week, the administration recorded an economic growth rate for the last quarter of 1993 of 5.9 per cent, a more than respectable level at any time.

While the presentation of the annual budget by the White House has become an important ritual in Washington's political calendar, sceptics might note that what finally emerges from Congress later this year is certain to look very different. Debate over the budget is likely to be fierce and highly partisan, with Republicans attempting to cut spending still further and liberals defending programmes important to them.

Among the victims in the Clinton draft is a weather forecasting station in Samoa and federal funds for construction of subsidised housing. The President is also attempting to keep defence spending in check, increasing the Pentagon's budget by only about dollars 3bn, not enough to keep up with the effects of inflation. The Pentagon itself is slated to lose part of its workforce.

At the same time, however, increased funds will be switched to programmes most dear to the President. They include pre-school opportunities for poor children, job training, money for super-information technology as well as for programmes aimed at converting defence-related jobs into civilian ones.

Already, however, there have been cries of disappointment from the liberal wing of the Democrat Party, which believes the improved economy and deficit scenario means the President should begin to relax the tourniquet for some social welfare services and infrastructure investment.

'We have gone too far over toward deficit reduction,' Jeff Faux, president of the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute in Washington, argued. 'It is time for Clinton to get back to the investment agenda that he talked about during the campaign.'

The only significant new tax in the proposal is designed to help fund the President's proposals for universal health care for Americans, which he hopes Congress will pass before the end of the year. Targeted at smokers, it would increase the tax on a packet of cigarettes from 24 cents to 99 cents. For two- pack-a-day smokers it means paying an extra dollars 550 a year.

Delivering his proposals, the President declared yesterday: 'We have ended drift and broken the gridlock of the past.'

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
Sport
Wayne Rooney talks to the media during a press conference
sport
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (infrastructure, upgrades, rollouts)

£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

MI Analyst and SQL Developer (SQL, SSAS, SSRS)

£28000 - £32500 Per Annum + 28 days holiday, pension, discounts and more: Clea...

Creative Content Executive (writer, social media, website)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...

Reception Teachers needed for September 2014

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Re...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?