A slow news day yields different leads at all the weekend papers. The New York Times leads with President Clinton's proposed spending increase for the military. The Washington Post leads with the growing number of "child-only" welfare cases. The Los Angeles Times lead accuses Congress of using money marked for education on pork-barrel projects.
The NYT reports that on the advice of top military officials, President Clinton will propose the first increase in defense spending in nearly a decade and the largest since the cold-war 80's. The added spending would "address growing strains...caused by aging weapons and increasing operations overseas." The article says that the move might be an attempt to undercut Republican criticism about the decline of military readiness during the Clinton presidency. The piece also predicts a lively struggle in Congress over how to pay for the increased spending.
The WP lead claims that in a growing number of states, more children whose parents are ineligible for welfare are receiving public assistance. Most are either children of illegal immigrants or those living with relatives because their parents have lost custody. While welfare reform and a strong economy have gotten many adults off the dole, welfare kids seem to present a reform-proof demographic. The piece notes that child-only cases represented 10 percent of all welfare cases a decade ago, but they now represent more than 20 percent. A question that is not addressed in the article: is the percentage increase a result of more child-only cases or of less overall cases? How about a simple comparison of the number of child-only cases a decade ago to the number of cases today?
While bringing home the pork is not a new congressional hobby, doing it at the expense of educational programs is, according to the LAT lead. The Department of Education's $33 billion budget includes only about $3 billion in discretionary funding, i.e. money that pays for "innovation, reform, research, and investment." And it is from this discretionary pool, that representatives "went hog-wild" securing money for projects in their home districts, according to an Education Department official.
How slow a news day was it? A WP front-page article details Kmart's "huge psychological and physical presence" in Guam. Not only have blue-light specials made consumer goods, which were previously subject to local price-gouging, more affordable, but Kmart has become a social center, too. On a typical weekday, 15,000 people (one tenth of Guam's population) visit the store.