Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 25, 2002 · Page 11
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 11

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Friday, October 25, 2002
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Page 11
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(gazette NATION/WORLD Friday, October 25, 2002 - Page 11 Little political impact expected from budget deficit By ALAN FRAM Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON — After the Bush administration announced that a $159 billion federal deficit has ended four straight years of surpluses, both parties immediately tried using the news to their advantage. The White House released the figure Thursday, blaming the red ink on the faltering economy and deflated stock market, which caused a dip in federal revenue, and on the costs of battling terrorism. "Together, these events created a deficit," said Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. "But going forward, I am confident that we are on the road to recovery and stability." With deficits back, "It is absolutely essential that we set aside business as usual and keep tight control over all other spending," said White House budget chief Mitchell Daniels. Democrats tried to blame the fiscal turnabout on Republicans in hopes of enhancing their chances of capturing House control and strengthening their hold on the Senate in the Nov. 5 elections. They have long blamed the budget's decline—especially in the long term — on the 10- year, $1.35 trillion tax cut President Bush won from Congress last year. "Republicans are responsible for the biggest fiscal reversal in history," said Thomas Kahn, Democratic staff director of the House Budget Com- mittee. "The $5.6 trillion surplus has vanished." That was a reference to a January 2001 projection by the Congressional Budget Office that surpluses would total $5.6 trillion over the decade running from 2002 through 2011. By last August, CBO had whittled that unprecedented bundle of projected federal cash to $336 billion, citing the recession, the costs of terrorism and the tax cut. Both the White House and the Congressional Budget Office say they expect annual surpluses to return in a few years. Many analysts say those projections are optimistic because they assume that future federal spending will grow by only about the rate of inflation, much less than it has in recent years. "The real problem occurs in future years, when the expensive provisions of the Bush tax cut kick in," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D. Democrats also argued the short- fall would look even larger were it not for last year's Social Security surplus, which was about $160 billion. Even so, analysts and members of both parties say they believe the revived red ink will probably have little effect on the upcoming elections. That is because many members of the public are unaware that deficits are back, and many of those who are blame it on the recession and the costs of fighting terrorism, not on politicians. A Mexican warship passed in front of a beach Thursday near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the site of tfie Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. (AP photo) Countries back U.S. trade, travel plan By NIKO PRICE Associated Press Writer CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — Pacific Rim countries struggling to balance safety and prosperity lined up behind a sweeping American plan to make trade and .travel safer, even as some executives cautioned that too much security was bad for business. Foreign and economy ministers representing the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum capped two days of meetings with a declaration supporting the U.S. plan, which would standardize customs information, put electronic seals on shipping containers, tighten baggage screening at airports and reinforce cockpits. The ministers said they were addressing two goals: "enhanced security against terrorist threats and continued promotion of economic growth." "Terrorism, in all its forms, is a threat to economic stability in APEC, as well as a threat to regional peace and security, and a direct challenge to APEC's vision of free, open and prosperous economies," they said in the declaration. But business leaders, who met Thursday just down the highway in a parallel conference of 400 executives from Manhattan to Manila, Philippines, were torn. On one hand, they called for controls to stanch the wave of terrorism that has sent the global economy into a slump. On the other, they worried that stricter rules for trade could make it even harder to do business in the age of globalization. "If we can't move goods and people, we can't trade in a global economy," said Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "The economic agenda cannot prosper unless the issue of terrorism and potential terrorist acts are dealt with." Heads of state flew in for the summit culminating the APEC gathering, but most had no official duties until Saturday. They joined the ministers Thursday night for a dinner hosted by Mexican President Vicente Fox, where a military band and a string quartet serenaded them. Winds picked up and a light rain fell as Hurricane Kenna, a Category 5 storm, moved toward to Mexican mainland southeast of the summit site. Category 5 is the strongest hurricane and is capable of causing catastrophic damage. The Word! Every evening, Indiana Gazette readers rely on & appreciate carriers who deliver the newspaper to their home. ^ ~ Moin Tiffany & Ryan Today! Become an Indiana Gazette carrier & watch the money start rolling in! Call 724-465-5555, ext. 222 or complete this coupon & mail it to us. Jobless claims fall for week By LEIGH STROPE AP Labor Writer WASHINGTON — New claims for jobless benefits fell last week after rising the week before, providing a mixed picture of the job market for workers and employers as the nation's economy continues to struggle toward recovery. For the week ending Oct. 19, new applications for unemployment insurance dropped by a seasonally adjusted 25,000 to 389,000, the lowest point since Oct. 5, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The week before, claims rose by a revised 25,000. Labor analysts said seasonal factors, including the recent Columbus Day holiday, probably accounts for some of the drop. The effects of the uneven economic recovery could be seen vividly in the report, which has bounced up and down in the number of people seeking benefits the entire year. For months now, claims have hovered around the 400,000 mark, a level associated with a sluggish iabor market. The moving average, which smooths out those week-to-week fluctuations, fell by 5,500 last week to 404,000. That was the lowest level since Aug. 31. Because profits took a hit during last year's recession and are still hurting, some companies have been reluctant to make big commitments in hiring and capital spending, factors restraining the recovery. At corporate boardrooms, economic uncertainties, including a possible war with Iraq and the West Coast dock "workers labor dispute, complicate the business climate, economists say. Questions or Com mints? E-Mail at *f fav*tor«<3>3tbz&®m.n&t -u_.____ — — — -— — —- — •** D YES! Call me with more details! D Adult D Youth (Must be at least 11 years old) P.O. 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