- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Bush's sales pitch for his $2.13 trillion proposed budget pulls out all the stops, visually, with full-color photographs, lively graphics and color-coded program scorecards.
A waving American flag in vibrant red, white and blue bedecks the front cover of the 426-page document submitted to Congress yesterday. It's a far cry from the usual drab, single-color presentation of tables.
Hardly a page goes by without a snatch of color to help bring the parade of numbers to life. Any page mentioning homeland security gets a tiny color photo of a Minuteman statue in a bottom corner.
Larger color photos sprinkled throughout show ground zero in New York, U.S. troops in Afghanistan, ordinary Americans, even a before-and-after shot of a Delaware landfill that has been transformed into a wildlife area.
Selected programs are graded, shown in green lettering if the Bush administration considers them effective and in red if deemed ineffective. Each agency's management gets a scorecard, also with a traffic-light grading system showing green, yellow or red dots reflecting the department's performance on five standards for success.
The document also makes the administration's case with political arguments for individual proposals, often augmented by eye-catching boxes featuring quotes from the president and others.
The president's Office of Management and Budget explained in a "note to readers" that the updated look is an effort to enhance readability.
"This budget attempts to simplify information, to reduce jargon and to illustrate its contentions more liberally with charts, tables and real life examples," the OMB said.
The upgrade isn't cheap. The basic budget book costs the public $64, up 45 percent from last year's $44. The entire budget a set of four documents totaling 2,760 pages, with detailed agency-by-agency requests costs $223.50, up from $193. There is no charge to read the data on the Internet.


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