Progress Report - Chapter 4


Cutting Back to Basics

We are taking steps necessary and long overdue to revive our economy, to renew our American Dream, to restore confidence in our own ability to take charge of our own affairs.

President Bill Clinton

The quest to reinvent government is not solely about doing better; it's about doing better with less. Politicians, task forces, commissions, and newspaper articles have been ridiculing wasteful programs for as long as the nation has enjoyed democratic government. But most programs survive attack.

With the help of Congress, however, President Clinton has done more than talk. He has acted. As Alice Rivlin, OMB's then-Deputy Director, put it bluntly before the Senate Budget Committee early this year:

Remember the old advertisements that featured actor Robert Young from Marcus Welby, when he'd say, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV?" Well, for too long we've had Presidents who weren't fiscal conservatives, but who played one on TV! Together this President and this Congress have shown the American people that old categories and labels don't make much sense anymore--it's actions that count. [1]


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