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Social Security's Success Story

June 22, 1998 Didn't anybody see the Year 2000 bug coming? The Social Security Administration did. It has consistently received higher marks than any other government agency for its handling of the problem, earning an A+ in a June congressional report card. To learn why, National Journal recently spoke with the assistant deputy...

Looming Liabilities

January 20, 1998 How shall we spend the federal budget surplus? For months, lawmakers have been all too happy to count the ways. And after President Clinton's Jan. 5 announcement that he'll submit a balanced budget to Congress for the 1999 fiscal year, White House officials began publicly declaring a new era of...

Tricky Business

January 6, 1998 Where have you gone, Rosy Scenario? That disparaging nickname for an excessively optimistic budget forecast was as much a fixture of the 1980s as Ronald Reagan. For anybody following today's budget politics, however, it's hard not to conclude that, like the former President, Rosy has long since left town. When...

After the Deficit

December 1, 1997 When the East-West standoff that drove America's foreign policy for 40-plus years evaporated, what was the average Cold Warrior to do but go find a new line of work? Eight years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the die-hard anti-Communist intellectuals at the Committee for the Free World have...

Budget Hawk Eyes White House

November 17, 1997 Could the demise of the federal deficit prompt House Budget Committee chairman John R. Kasich, R-Ohio, to make a presidential run in 2000? Veteran GOP spin-meister Edward W. Gillespie hopes the challenge will prove irresistible to the exuberant eight-term Member. "It's like the Disney World commercials," he cracks. " 'John...

Taxing Decisions

November 3, 1997 Nearly 50 percent of Americans say they'd rather have their wallets stolen than be audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That factoid, highlighted in a recent mailing sent out by once and future presidential candidate Steve Forbes, dramatically illustrates the public sentiment that led the White House to execute...

`Not Just a Numbers Person'

October 14, 1997 Kenneth S. Apfel doesn't want to talk much yet about his own views on Social Security reform. But the new Social Security commissioner, who was sworn in at the mammoth agency's Baltimore headquarters on Sept. 29, is clear on one thing. "It is important to act quickly," he said in...

Social Insecurity

October 14, 1997 At Kenneth S. Apfel's confirmation hearing as Social Security commissioner last month, social policy guru Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., declared Social Security "the single most important domestic program in the federal government." Apfel certainly didn't quarrel with that assessment. He called the massive system of retirement, disability and survivors'...

Shaking Up the IRS

August 25, 1997 Because the recently completed budget deal includes so many changes to the tax code, it's unlikely Congress will make major tax policy changes any time soon. But lawmakers do seem ready for some serious debate about shaking up the Internal Revenue Service. A national commission on restructuring the IRS, co-chaired...

Low Deficit, High Anxiety

July 14, 1997 Now that many analysts believe the federal deficit will fall to $50 billion or less in fiscal 1997, budgeters on Capitol Hill and at the White House aren't eager to make the new deficit projections official any time soon. They fear that Members of Congress either will want to...

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