The Presidency: Master of an Arcane Crisis

Those people who fiddle around with the federal budget have become the new cult figures in Washington. There is glamour in ledgers, computer print-outs and bar graphs. The big star, clearly, is David Stockman, director of the Office of Management and Budget. But Alice Rivlin, director of the Congressional Budget Office, surely deserves an Oscar for supporting actress in this new drama.

Some of the Senators and Congressmen who have mastered the lingo and the media—tossing off a deficit estimate or a new tax reform at the drop of a camera— have also become folk heroes of a sort....

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