Particularly at a time of slow growth and global economic disarray, a new president’s first budget assumes even greater importance than usual as a statement of priorities and a forecast of policy for the remainder of his term. As commentators from the Wall Street Journal leftward to the New Republic have noted, Jimmy Carter’s $500 billion budget for the fiscal year 1979 differs remarkably little from the document that Jerry Ford might have prepared if that Daily News headline writer had been less inspired or more black voters had stayed home in 1976. There is no money for welfare reform or a start on national health insurance, nor any provision for additional public jobs and implementation of Humphrey-Hawkins fullemployment pledges, even though a severely modified version of that measure finally won White House endorsement. And although a new urban initiative is promised, the Budget seeks no dollars to support it.
As fewer of the Adminis...
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