> OK, what is Clinton's justification for this? Our
>Blair government also shackled itself by its pre-election pledge which not
>promised to tax increase (which could have been interpreted to mean no basic
>income tax rate hike), but also a 2-year standstill on existing departmental
>budgets. The Blairites claim that this was essential to make Labour electable,
>as the taint of tax-and-spend was supposed to have torpedoed Kinnock in 1992.
>Is the Clinton package designed to try to avoid a deadlock with a
>Republican-dominated Congress? Or are both of them appeasing finance-capital?
The Reps want big tax cuts skewed to the rich. Against this, Clinton's debt paydown has become the "liberal" position. The propaganda volume of the budget package <http://www.access.gpo.gov/usbudget/fy2000/pdf/budget.pdf> is full of rhetoric about the surpluses as signs of strength, after years of vacillation and weakness symbolized by the deficit. As Max points out, the debt paydown is being spun as "saving Social Security," which is extravagantly devious even by Clinton's standards of dishonesty.
> Relatedly, is there any movement around an Alternative Budget? I have
>heard that this has proved a fairly effective rallying-point in Canada.
Most of the institutions that would be behind such a thing - unions, liberal think tanks, advocacy groups - are in Clinton's pocket. Some liberal economists, like Alicia Munnell, Brad de Long and James Tobin - actually signed a petition endorsing Clinton's debt paydown. Perhaps Brad can tell us why.