The Bush Budget: Defense Wins Out Over Local Issues
WASHINGTON — President Bush sent Congress his proposed $2.23 trillion federal budget for 2004 Monday that provides no new money for fighting garment sweatshops and slightly expands funding for international trade programs, including export...
WASHINGTON — President Bush sent Congress his proposed $2.23 trillion federal budget for 2004 Monday that provides no new money for fighting garment sweatshops and slightly expands funding for international trade programs, including export promotion.
With a slowed economy and increased spending on fighting terrorism, the White House is calling for the federal government to be on an extra lean diet.
"I will insist on spending discipline in Washington," Bush said in a message to lawmakers accompanying the fiscal blueprint.
The administration’s budget proposal, as expected, is weighed heavily on increasing money for national security. About half of the new money sought, or $15.3 billion, is earmarked for defense. Otherwise, most agencies under Bush’s plan would receive around 2 percent budget increases, about on par with inflation.
Bush’s fiscal plan — to be debated and changed in coming months by Congress — takes into account the President’s earlier economic stimulus plan for $670 billion in tax cuts. The proposal also calls for the federal deficit in 2004 to reach $307 billion, following the expected record-high deficit this year of $304 billion.
"The thing that strikes me the most is that they’re looking at a budget deficit projection in the range of $300 billion and how Wall Street and consumers are going to react to that," said Steve Pfister, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation. "I don’t think it bolsters confidence."
Businesses worry about lingering and large federal deficits because of potential effects on the economy, like higher interest rates and resulting increased costs and unemployment. There have been deficits ever since Bush took office, after four years of surpluses in the last years of the Clinton administration, due to congressional budget belt-tightening and a flush economy in the Nineties.
The deficit issue is a sensitive topic for Bush. On Monday, Mitch Daniels, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters he expected deficits to be short lived.
Daniels touted how the U.S. economy, even as it flags, as being "the only positive force in the global economy."
Although the GOP is now in charge of both the House and Senate, Bush’s budget isn’t guaranteed to pass unaltered. Its fate could easily mirror that of his 2003 budget, which Congress has changed and is still in the process of debating. Agencies are still being funded at 2002 levels.However, Bush’s budget is clearly bent on setting an example of austerity. For the first time, the administration is using what it calls "performance and management assessments" to measure agency effectiveness.
Among the items in Bush’s proposed 2004 budget related to the fashion industry, are:
Slightly increasing by three the 950-inspector workforce at the Labor Department that canvases garment contractors and other workplaces for federal wage and child labor violations. The agency’s Wage & Hour Division’s $161.3 million budget, however, would remain almost constant for the second consecutive year. Last year, the division collected $5.83 million in back wages owed U.S. garment workers, an increase of 27.3 percent against 2001. The number of garment workers receiving back wages increased 51 percent.
A proposed decrease of $13 million to $37 million in funding for an International Trade Administration program to agitate for foreign countries to lower trade barriers to U.S. goods. The program last year was touted by the Bush administration as a tool for promoting U.S. textile sales abroad.
An increase of $5 million to $37 million in funding for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is in the midst of pursuing various free-trade pacts, including one with five Central American countries it hopes to complete by year’s end.
Combining and extending two worker tax credits widely used by retailers when hiring economically disadvantaged workers. The $10,000 Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit and $6,000 Work Opportunity Tax Credit would make computing the credits simpler, while maintaining the same tax break.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast