Clinton to slash costs of the state

IN A second symbolic dose of the deficit-cutting therapy he is preparing for his country, President Clinton yesterday announced plans to eliminate 100,000 jobs from central government, slash administrative costs and abolish some of the more egregious perks and privileges enjoyed by senior federal employees.

Just a day after unveiling proposals for a 25 per cent reduction in the White House staff, Mr Clinton appeared live on national television before the assembled members of his Cabinet to fulfil his campaign pledge to 'cut the cost of government' with a series of executive orders and presidential memoranda designed to save some dollars 9bn ( pounds 6.29bn) over his four-year term of office.

The moment was picked for maximum effect, a few hours before he left for Detroit for his first 'electronic town hall' meeting since the election. There, in the person-to-person format at which he excels, he was due to explain the sacrifices he would demand in the economic programme he will present in next week's State of the Union address.

Apart from the 100,000 reduction in the 2.1 million strong federal workforce, a cut of almost 5 per cent, Mr Clinton wants all government agencies to trim administrative costs by 3 per cent a year. Washington's forest of commissions and quangos is also to be thinned; two examples cited by White House aides yesterday were the Board of Tea Experts and the Advisory Panel for the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

But even indispensable top officials will see some of their fringe benefits disappear. Federal executive dining rooms will have to cover their costs or shut down, while all but Cabinet secretaries will lose their chauffeur-driven limousines, except where required by national security.

Like most exercises smacking of public relations, there is less to the cuts than meets the eye. In the White House, for example, the 25 per cent reduction will not take effect until October; staff will be added temporarily to help through the first hectic months.

And Mr Clinton told his Cabinet members that the elimination of 100,000 jobs, which was 'just a beginning', would be achieved by attrition not redundancies. But the overall message is clear. 'The federal bureaucracy went up under Reagan and went up under Bush,' said his domestic policy adviser, Bruce Reed. 'Under Clinton it's going to go down.'

Above all, the President wants to set an example from above on the eve of an economic package which now looks as though it will bear more directly on the deficit than seemed likely even a month ago. Middle-class voters, courted by promises of tax cuts during the campaign, seem bound to find life more expensive if Mr Clinton goes ahead with mooted energy and consumption taxes.

Hence the trumpeted new austerity and egalitarianism at the White House. Quite apart from 'limo-loss' many senior officials will be paid between 6 and 10 per cent less than their predecessors.

The measures should lop dollars 10m from the White House annual budget of dollars 140m. The true cost of the presidency is of course far higher. Much transport and communication spending is covered by other departments. Air Force One, for example, which Mr Clinton will board for the first time to go to Detroit, is paid for by the Air Force. It costs dollars 59m a year.

DENVER - The Transportation Secretary, Federico Pena, says he failed to pay social security taxes on a household employee, becoming the second member of President Clinton's Cabinet to acknowledge breaking the tax law, AFP reports. Mr Pena said he would pay more than dollars 100 ( pounds 70) in taxes owed on wages paid to a babysitter in 1991.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam