ederal spending is out of control. The stated 1981 budget deficit is $60
billion; however, I'd bet on $70 billion or higher rather than $50 billion or
lower--no matter what President Reagan does. In January 1980, President Carter
first proposed federal spending for 1981 to be $616 billion. In March 1980, the
estimate was revised to $612 billion. And in January of this year, President
Carter's last budget forecast it to be about $664 billion. It will end up
higher at the end of President Reagan's first fiscal year despite his
enthusiastic post-election declarations about cutting it by $40 billion to $620
billion. And this leaves out the roughly $20 billion of spending that, for
various preposterous reasons, is kept off-budget.
This predicament was not caused by President Carter, or by any one president.
It will not be corrected by one president. It took fifty years to reach this
Five years from now the deficit, counted honestly, could range between $100
billion and $150 billion. Federal spending could rise to 25 percent of GNP from
the present 22.5 percent, tax burdens to almost 24 percent from about 21
percent at the end of 1980. These may seem to be small changes; they are not. A
one-point increase in spending or taxes as percentage of GNP represents--in
five years--a shift of $50 billion from the private to the public sector. Such
shifts could well mean the difference between an economy beginning to recover
from the shocks of the 1970s and one spiraling through an experience of
alternating high interest rates, high unemployment, and low growth--with
double-digit inflation as a constant.
Ronald Reagan is caught in the same trap that snared Jimmy Carter. The federal
budget's basic structure was established in the twenty-five years immediately
after World War II, a period of extraordinary performance on the part of the
U.S. economy. In such a period of sustained real growth, low unemployment, and
low inflation, the public sector could steadily expand without any apparent
harm to the private sector. Between 1950 and 1980, the budget grew by over 1000
percent, and in the course of that growth established a momentum inconsistent
with the limits posed by today's economy. Moreover, despite the budget's huge
size, there is no obvious "room." The programs in the budget are extremely hard
to reduce or even slow down. But without such reductions, the impending
deficits will not allow the tax cuts or the defense increases Ronald Reagan
promised, and which he believes the country needs.
The fact is we are overcommitted. Fifty years of automatic resort to the public
purse--indulged in with equal enthusiasm by Democrats and Republicans--have led
to a budget with an almost unstoppable momentum whose premises were set in
better times. We have an emerging structural deficit (one that persists in good
and bad times) the nation cannot afford. We spend too much on income
transfers--or at least we spend it without sufficient thought. Believe it or
not, we underspend in significant areas. And no party to the process by which
we decide on public spending has sufficient power to initiate and sustain a
purposeful long-term policy of change.
THE SAD STORY OF THE FISCAL 1980 BUDGET
In early 1978, barely one year into his presidency, Jimmy Carter and his
principal advisers were deeply concerned about the rising level of inflation
and the force of its momentum. At the same time, the managers of the federal
budget had become worried about a surge in spending and an impending deficit
that was much too large. By March of 1978, my OMB (Office of Management and
Budget) staff had predicted that the 1980 deficit would be at least $55 billion
if we did not act, approximately the same level as the deficit forecast for the
1979 budget. To allow another deficit in the neighborhood of $60 billion in a
time of accelerating inflation seemed profoundly wrong--wrong in strictly
economic terms, wrong politically, wrong given the President's public
commitments to budget control.
In a long set of discussions in May and June 1978, the President was told in
detail what a substantial reduction in the deficit would entail. We would have
to reduce the tax cut the administration had already proposed--requiring
immediate discussions with congressional leaders. His promise to provide growth
above the rate of inflation for the defense budget had to mean even worse
prospects for the domestic budget. No new programs of any significant size
could be proposed. Existing programs for the cities, for transportation, for
the environment--programs that already provided benefits, and had clients and
constituents (most of them Democrats)--had to be held down or cut back. Legal
changes would have to be proposed to Congress to permit reductions in such
untouchables as Social Security and Medicare. Federal operating costs would be
reduced, federal salary increases would be limited, federal hiring would be
No one was under any illusions about the difficulty of this effort for this
President. In June 1978, Jimmy Carter was not particularly popular. But any
President would have had an extremely tough sale on his hands. Conservatives
would be pleased with the direction the President was taking, but displeased
with its moderate quality, its necessary concessions to other points of view.
On the other hand, much of the Democratic party--where the President had to
look for support--would despise the entire effort. The President had to
convince one set of skeptics that a policy of restraint was acceptable and
appropriate while he persuaded another that too much restraint was inequitable
and unfair to those who depended upon federal programs. Despite the obstacles,
the President decided at the end of these spring discussions upon a major turn
A policy of restraint, even if applied absolutely evenly, would have been
difficult enough. But as President, Jimmy Carter had to make choices between
programs, and the choices he felt compelled to make ran against the grain of
his party. He was in the process of concluding that the defense budget had to
The President's evolving attitude toward defense spending had been a source of
muted displeasure among many Democrats for more than a year. In his 1976
campaign, he had argued that the defense budget could be reduced by more
efficient management. But within six months of taking office, in June 1977, he
had permitted Secretary of Defense Harold Brown to announce an administration
decision to increase defense by 3 percent in real terms, 3 percent above the
rate of inflation. Now it was obvious he was considering extending that defense
commitment for a second budget year. A defense spending increase would, of
course, mean disproportionate pressure on the rest of the budget; the "rest of
the budget" consisted largely of domestic, "Democratic" programs.
For the remainder of 1978, planning for the 1980 budget was a central aspect of
the President's domestic policy. By late fall, the 1980 budget had become an
issue of considerable prominence. Its general direction was widely known. The
standard Washington game of leaking the OMB's budget "marks" prior to budget
publication flourished with more than normal intenseness. Meetings with the
President were requested by the leadership of every group that felt its
programs were threatened.
In December the Democratic party's second midterm convention was held in
Memphis, Tennessee. Midterm conventions are always tough on incumbent
Democratic presidents. The party believes deeply in a positive government--one
that searches out social problems and defines programmatic solutions. But a
president has to balance problems, solutions, resources, and opportunities.
This convention had not only the normal, built-in dissatisfactions but also the
issue of President Carter's budget directions and priorities to chew on. In his
speech to the convention on December 9, 1978, Senator Edward Kennedy tore into
President Carter's budget policies.
"I support the fight against inflation. But no such fight can be effective or
successful unless the fight is fair. The party that tore itself apart over
Vietnam in the 1960's cannot afford to tear itself apart today over budget cuts
in basic social programs.
"There could be few more divisive issues for America and for our party than a
Democratic policy for drastic slashes in the federal budget at the expense of
the elderly, the poor, the black, the sick, the cities, and the unemployed."
In commenting on the speech, Adam Clymer of the New York Times wrote, "Senator
Edward M. Kennedy today confronted President Carter over the spirit that should
guide the Democratic party.
"In a ringing speech to a cheering audience of 2,500, the Massachusetts
Democrat seized a building mood at the conference, where unhappiness about
budget proposals was heard again and again at workshops on the cities,
inflation, arms control and health insurance."
If it accomplished nothing else, the convention made clear that if President
Carter continued to pursue his stated budget policies, he was risking major
problems with an important part of the Democratic party. The party was not
ready to embrace budget restraint.
But President Carter's 1980 budget was tougher than that of any other
Democratic president in modern history. In January 1979, he announced a budget
for fiscal year 1980 of $532 billion in spending and $503 billion in receipts.
The deficit of $29 billion hit the mark he had set publicly the previous
November. The domestic budget fell in real terms; grants to state and local
governments fell in real terms. Reductions of $600 million in Medicare and
Social Security were recommended. Defense spending was proposed to grow 3
percent in real terms. The President had made his choice.
BUT WAS IT REALLY? AND WHAT DID IT GET HIM?
Much federal spending is tied directly to economic conditions: if conditions
change, federal spending changes. Therefore, when a president proposes a
budget, he is also providing, explicitly, an economic forecast upon which that
President Carter's 1980 budget had forecast economic growth of 3.2 percent,
inflation of 6.3 percent, and unemployment of 6.2 percent. A year later, in
January 1980, the new forecast for 1980 was dramatically different: economic
growth of -1.0 percent, inflation of 10.4 percent, unemployment of 7.5 percent.
Jimmy Carter was hit at the same time with three of the four factors that force
spending up automatically: lower economic growth, higher inflation, higher
unemployment. (The fourth factor is high interest rates; in two months he'd
have those also.) This time, his 1980 budget was for $564 billion in
spending--an increase of $32 billion. The predicted deficit had grown from $30
billion to $40 billion.
The financial community went crazy. In the intervening year, times and needs
had changed. The fall of the shah had precipitated another oil shortage; oil
prices had doubled. Inflation had risen to a markedly high level and, more
important, had become a matter of national concern and anxiety. It was a
fact--but clearly a politically trivial one--that virtually all of the $32
billion spending increase now forecast was due either to drastically changed
economic circumstances--which no president can control--or to defense
increases--which the financial world by and large approved of. The 1980 budget
no longer represented a policy of restraint; rather, it now seemed symptomatic
of the uncontrolled appetite of the federal monster.
After a period of intense turmoil in the markets, the President announced that
officials of his administration would begin immediate meetings with the
Democratic congressional leadership about the budgets he had proposed only six
weeks earlier. In effect, events had forced the President to withdraw and
reconsider his budgets. After an eleven-day series of all-day meetings with
members of Congress, President Carter at the end of March 1980 presented
revised and reduced 1980 and 1981 budgets.
But events continued to grind on. In late October 1980, shortly after the end
of fiscal year 1980 and approximately one week before the presidential
elections, final federal spending figures for the fiscal year were released.
Fiscal year 1980 spending was $579 billion and the deficit was $59 billion.
Spending had grown by $47 billion from the time the budget was proposed to the
end of the fiscal year; it had grown by $85 billion over the previous year; the
deficit had doubled from the limit President Carter had publicly established.
The restrained budget of 1980, upon which Jimmy Carter had spent so much
political capital, ended up as a symbol of his profligacy and loss of
THE "REAL" BUDGET
One of the small cruelties of American politics is the peculiar requirement
that defeated presidents must prepare and propose a budget for a time beginning
well after their departure from office. The requirement imposes an enormous
amount of melancholy, largely useless work. A defeated president has to review
his past dreams; decide upon the course of a defense policy he can influence
for, at most, thirty more days; consider with his economic advisers fiscal
policy for a future he will not affect; adjudicate disputes between his OMB and
his Cabinet, knowing that no one will care. It is bitter medicine, but
President Carter carried out this painful responsibility with grace, dignity,
I spent those months working the normal awful hours budget-making requires, but
this time there was a difference. From my northeast corner office in the Old
Executive Office Building--that magnificent baroque structure next to the White
House that once housed all of the State, War, and Navy departments--I could see
the excited, intense movement across the street at Blair House when Ronald
Reagan came or left, and down the street a bit I could watch the construction
of the Inaugural review stands. They were forming a government. We were
carrying out the required forms of one that had been dissolved. It was not a
task that held much joy, but it forced a great deal of thought about the nature
of my work for the past four years.
If, at least in part, politics is about who gets what, then a budget is a
statement of a given year's results in that competition. But it is also an
explicit or implicit statement about a number of other, more fundamental
questions--the appropriate size of government, the value and impact of federal
programs, the role of government vis-a-vis the private sector.
The budget process encompasses every major actor in the political system. The
budget that emerges annually from this process is an extraordinarily complex
crystallization of agreements among institutions, competitors, interests, and
philosophies. I believe that its current size and built-in rate of growth raise
serious problems; its structure is inappropriate; its allocations of resources
are increasingly wrong; and the process that determines it yields
self-canceling decisions. But having managed the preparation of five budgets,
I'm disturbed by a tendency to underestimate its complexity and to depict
changing it as relatively easy. To listen to most political discussions of
economics or the budget is to come away with the sense that the federal budget
can be changed easily by cutting fraud, waste, and bureaucrats, and that our
current situation is one a malevolent government created against the will of
the American people.
Reality is different. The budget represents commitments made over decades.
Those commitments will not be changed without significant conflict. Of course,
some fraud and waste occur in federal spending. But normally the term "waste"
denotes someone else's program. As a senior Defense Department official once
said about the defense budget, "At least we don't piss it away on welfare." And
finally, despite public mythology, the budget achieved its present state with
the knowledge and active connivance of the American people.
Every federal program has numerous supporters, is passed by Congress, and is
signed by a president. Very few are repealed. The OMB and the Treasury do not
work overtime receiving remittances from citizens giving back federal
The very scale of the federal budget ($740 billion in the recently introduced
1982 budget--almost one quarter of the GNP--with 2000 to 4000 programs,
depending on definitions, and 1.9 million civilian employees) allows the
presumption that change is easy to achieve. Candidates, presidents, and
presidents-elect always believe that the "base"--that part of the budget they
do not understand--can be cut. Jimmy Carter ran for office on the claim that a
new technique--zerobased budgeting--would provide a means to cut that mythical
base, make room for new programs, and still allow budget restraint. For four
years he was puzzled and irritated by the fact that the choices were so brutal.
He grew to hate the budget process.
Even Ronald Reagan--who ran against the federal government--followed the same
pattern. During his campaign he committed himself to expenditures and tax cuts
as if he were a liberal Democrat. He supported bilingual education, guaranteed
loans for the Chrysler Corporation and New York City, increased Social
Security, federal employee pensions indexed to inflation twice a year,
increased support for the National Maritime Administration, and the largest tax
cuts in history. But he chose, predictably, not to identify the programs he
would cut, relying instead on the familiar promise to cut waste.
In fact, most general discussions of the budget proceed with virtually no
understanding of the structure of the budget. Political leaders, senior
business executives, the press, even most public officials intuitively think of
a budget structure in a way something like the following:
Table 1: 1980 Budget
Defense $135.9 billion
Education 13.8 billion
Energy 6.3 billion
Health & Human Services 194.7 billion
NASA 4.8 billion
Treasury--interest 74.8 billion
The Rest 149.3 billion
Total $579.6 billion
This budget (the actual figures from the 1980 fiscal year, which ended
September 30, 1980) shows what the nation buys with its money and suggests,
implicitly, how these funding decisions could be changed. A budget organized
this way virtually demands certain questions: Why not add $10 billion to
Defense and take it from Health & Human Services (a 5 percent reduction)?
or reduce the entire total by $25 billion (only 4 percent)? This is the budget
new presidents believe they face, the one Congress must have in mind when it
periodically tries to reduce every agency by 2 percent or 5 percent. This is
the budget business leaders think of when they demand austerity. But this is
not the budget that has developed over the past thirty years; it is not the
budget that drives presidents crazy.
The "real" budget looks like this:
Table II: 1980 Budget
A. Required spending
Payments for individuals $255.7
Military pensions 11.9
Other (interest on the national
debt, long-term contracts) 172.0
B. Personnel (largely discretionary)
Military 30 3
C. Discretionary spending
About 45 percent of the total budget consists of required payments to
individuals--Social Security, Medicare, military pensions; 30 percent consists
of interest payments and long-term contract commitments--water projects, naval
ships, solar energy demonstrations or public buildings; and all annual
discretionary spending--funds that could actually be reduced in any particular
year--makes up the final 24 percent. Salaries for government workers, the
Beekeepers Indemnity Fund, public service jobs, foreign aid, the urban
gardening program, mass transit subsidies, solvent-refined coal demonstration
plants, consulting contracts good and bad, the homeownership assistance
program, production costs for nuclear bombs, the Edward Hebert Medical College
of the Armed Forces, and anything else one can imagine fit into one quarter of
This structure means that many intuitive judgments about federal budget policy
are wrong. Programs and dollars are not interchangeable or fungible. In the
"real" budget, Medicaid expenditures, federal salaries, and HUD planning funds
are authorized by different laws; they have different histories and legal
bases; and they occur over different time periods. In practice, a president
finds that a dollar in one program is different from a dollar in another
In 1978, HEW Secretary Joseph Califano offered Jimmy Carter a deal. If the
President would increase certain discretionary programs in the "restrained"
1980 budget by a few hundred million dollars, he would return to the President
more than that amount in savings--by proposing a number of sensible and small
reductions in Social Security. Secretary Califano's offer, in the larger scheme
of things, made a great deal of sense. But he was offering to trade
uncontrollables for discretionary dollars. The President agreed. Secretary
Califano got his budget increases for 1980. Congress never gave the President
Over time, this structure virtually forces the wrong allocative decisions on
presidents and Congress. That part of the budget now taken up by direct
payments of income--income transfers--is so large a percentage of the total
that it virtually determines the entire budget. Income transfers have a
momentum of their own, unrelated to the limits of the economy or the needs of
other programs. First, these programs are entitlements: they are assured by law
to qualifying individuals; they do not pass through the appropriations process.
It is much harder procedurally and vastly harder politically to constrain these
programs than it is to constrain any others. Second, income transfers compose a
structure of programs erected over fifty years with little attention paid to
its internal cohesion. Today, we have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food
stamps, supplementary security income (SSI), and aid to families with dependent
children. We also have housing programs, training and employment programs,
education programs, energy grants, low-income weatherization programs, and
nutrition programs. These programs were conceived, passed, and implemented at
different times and they are not changed as new programs are established. I'm
glad we have them. But I believe that the taxpayer deserves a more cohesive
structure, a rationalization, a careful trimming of overlaps and redundancies.
Finally, these programs are virtually all indexed to the Consumer Price Index.
That is why spending surged so much in the 1980 budget. That's wonderful for
the beneficiary, terrible for the budget, and probably unfair to the taxpayer.
For the past two or three years, increases in the Consumer Price Index have run
far ahead of wage increases. In effect, indexation--in the form we have it
now--requires wage earners to pay taxes funding a larger annual increase in
income than they themselves receive.
The effect of this structure of programs is either to force increases in
spending that will not always be consistent with sound economic policy or to
force other, equally valuable programs out of the budget. Both consequences
occur. The truly discretionary spending in the budget is steadily squeezed
because it is not legally required. We underfund the investment programs in the
budget. We do not sufficiently maintain the government's own facilities and
capital investments. I believe, totally contrary to current notions, that we
spend too little on federal operations--on such functions as program oversight,
or debt management. At the same time, because cuts in these discretionary
expenditures cannot compensate for increases in less discretionary areas, the
budget grows in an unacceptable manner. It has become increasingly obvious that
if we cannot take a long and searching look at the current structure of
uncontrollable income-transfer programs, we cannot solve the problems of the
Last fall, in the middle of a long and difficult discussion of one agency with
an entirely discretionary budget, the agency head finally hit the table with
his fist and said, "When are you sons of bitches in OMB going to do something
about Wilbur Cohen's money machine? It's killing the rest of us."[See
Between 1980 and 1981, the federal budget will increase by $86 billion, or 15
percent. It is commonplace to observe that budget restraint could be easily
achieved by limiting these multibillion annual increases. But this completely
ignores the real structure of the budget and the source of most of the
Table III: 1980-1981
Source of Changes
1. Total change 86.7 100
2. Required non-defense
spending 61.1 7
3. Defense spending 20.0 23
4. Discretionary non-defense 5.8 7
5. Salaries 6.8 8
6. Asset sales and other
revenues --7.0 --8
As the table shows, virtually all of the year-to-year increases in the budget
are either mandatory or the result of policy commitments with which most of the
nation agrees. Of the total increase from 1980 to 1981, 93 percent goes either
for payments that are required by law--Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid--or
to meet President Carter's pledge to increase defense spending by 5 percent
annually: a commitment that the new administration believes to be
If all the rest of the budget were held constant, the nation could save $12.6
billion, not enough to fund President Reagan's defense commitment or his tax
cut promises. But in fact, the budget is even less flexible. Much of the $5.8
billion non-defense increase, for example, consists of projects under
construction. To avoid the increase, if we legally could, we would have to
leave highways, bridges, dams, and major energy projects partially constructed.
Denying the almost $7 billion in salary increases may, at first, seem
reasonable, even attractive--after all, who likes bureaucrats?--until it is
recognized that almost 50 percent of these pay increases are for the military.
They are intended to improve our forces by increasing recruitment and by
slowing the loss of trained men and women. Moreover, I believe it is unfair to
deny salary increases to men and women who have made the government civil
service their career because we cannot cope with the difficulties posed by
other possible forms of constraint.
Nonetheless, if we (1) funded all required programs, (2) continued defense
budget increases, and (3) held every other program in the federal budget
constant--no pay increases for civilian federal employees, no budget increases
of any kind for energy, or veterans' programs, or highways, or parks--we could
save $9.4 billion, or 1.4 percent of the federal budget.
It is a simple but rarely understood fact that the basic structure of the
federal budget allows for very little change. To achieve even marginal
restraint in its rate of growth requires a president to take on important
interests who have good cases to make. It is almost impossible to explain to a
columnist or an angry constituent why a $10 million reduction matters in a $700
billion budget. Such a reduction seems nonpresidential, shortsighted,
arbitrary. Moreover, this same budget structure guarantees high rates of
increase--rates the nation cannot sustain--into the indefinite future.
THE BUDGET PROCESS AND THE PRESIDENT
President Reagan will quickly discover that for truly important issues, such as
the budget, his power is extraordinarily limited. I believe that presidential
power is far too limited for the system's own good.
It is understandable that it is so. The budget involves the basic stuff of
modern government, the issues of resource allocation the political system
really cares about. How much does the Department of Defense get? What water
project is built, or park bought? Will Congressman X get a federal building in
his district? Should funds go to Social Security increases, for solar power, or
for foreign aid? How much does the federal government owe the states, and why?
These are the issues local congressional districts, single-issue political
groups, major blocs in our society, focus on. They are the issues the system
handles best when resources are abundant; they will tie the system--presidents,
congress, constituencies, the media--into knots in the 1980s.
The fact that these issues matter to the political system means that all the
principal institutions and actors in the system are part of the budget process.
Budget-making has become the organizing core of the political-economic
structure. It encompasses the President and the executive branch (only in
theory on the same side of most issues); Congress: its leadership, its members,
its committees (not even in theory on the same side); other levels of
government concerned about resources, and turf; major interest groups operating
with defiantly single-minded tunnel vision; and the media, as unable as any
other force to gain perspective on this overall process. The President, in
other words, has competition.
The President may believe to his core that falling productivity requires more
private investment and that that requires federal spending restraint. But every
interest group in the country will tell the world that, on the contrary,
declining productivity requires Import Bank, job training, and health care.
No one who was there will forget the moment in early 1977, after President
Carter had made a brief statement to a gathering of senators about his plans to
eliminate eighteen water projects, when Senator Russell Long, whose state stood
to lose two of these projects, stood up. "I," he said, "am Russell Long,
chairman of the Senate Finance Committee." His message was not difficult to
The budget process is one of Washington's central rituals. It is a task of
immense scale and complexity, involving some of the most important questions
the political system faces. But, as Ronald Reagan will discover, it is not a
process that easily permits steady, consistent change. However, steady,
consistent change is exactly what we now require. The momentum an earlier
economy imparted to the budget cannot, and should not, be sustained today.
By every relevant measure, the economy performs less well today than it did
from 1950 to 1970. Productivity growth is down. Growth in the capital stock is
down. Unemployment is up. Inflation is up. GNP growth is lower. These trends
began to become apparent in the early 1970s. They are deep-rooted and systemic,
and they limit the policy choices available to any administration. They make
the costs of error much higher; they narrow the room for maneuver; they impose
enormous caution. At unemployment and inflation rates of 7.5 percent and 12
percent, there are no good choices available to economic policy; what
alternatives do exist are fewer and riskier than when both rates are
substantially lower. Ronald Reagan will discover that a policy of marginal
change is forced upon him. There are no magic buttons.
But the same trends that require so much caution also demand that change begin.
At some point we must choose between particular programmatic solutions to
particular problems and the health of the system as a whole. No one knows
precisely where that point is, but we are certainly closer to it today than we
were two decades ago. No one knows if a federal budget of 19 percent of GNP is
reasonable; one using 23 percent of GNP is not. No one knows at what point tax
burdens truly affect investment and productivity. From now on, presidents must
balance the benefits of specific actions against the effects of higher
deficits, or higher tax burdens, on the entire system.
I believe that the budget is the fundamental domestic problem the presidents of
the 1980s will encounter. The President is the only figure in our political
system in a position to consider the most general choices. And if we are to
solve the problems posed by the budget, the President will have to explain them
to the American people, and spend a term correcting them.
The stakes are enormous. Today's economy delivers less income and more
inflation to the average citizen than he expects, it subjects him more often to
the threat of unemployment, and it is more vulnerable to the outside shocks
that wars, revolutions, or oil markets can impose. If unchanged, the narrowing
economic and budgetary choices we face will alter prevailing views about
government and society.
Sometime in the 1980s, the President must (1) recognize that the performance of
our economy imposes limits upon the government's use of the nation's resources,
(2) understand that the underlying, already committed momentum of federal
spending is inconsistent with desired economic performance, (3) develop a
policy that is compassionate about our ends but rigorous about our resources,
and (4) conceive a long-term strategy that brings about the necessary change
despite the weaknesses of the present process. Such a president will come to
terms with the internal contradictions of modern government, and will redefine
the modern presidency. He might well consolidate political power for a very
[Endnote: Wilbur Cohen was one of the founding drafters of the Social Security
Act. In the late 1960s, as a senior official (briefly secretary of HEW), he
played a major role in the initiation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
All are uncontrollable, entitlement, income-transfer programs, totaling about
$225 billion today.]
Copyright © 1981 by W. Bowman Cutter. All rights reserved.