If the subject of influence in Washington interests you, this series of books deserves your respectful attention...it has changed the ways in which American politicians think about the budget. - The Washington Post For the first time in more than four decades, the federal budget has registered two consecutive surpluses, and the need to reduce the deficit is not casting a pall over the policy debate. This new, highly accessible book examines the policy options that are available in this new environment to address the new and recurring challenges that face the nation. The book, which continues the Brookings Institution's highly acclaimed and influential Setting National Priorities series, will serve as a guide for understanding many of the complex issues that will be discussed during the presidential and congressional campaigns of 2000. The book centers around three themes: providing opportunity in the domestic arena, restoring confidence in government, and adapting to the post-Cold War international environment. It tackles such critical issues as Medicare and social security, tax reform, and foreign policy spending, as well as many areas not included in previous editions; namely, education, urban problems, the environment, trade, government renewal and reform, crime and drugs, and families. In addition to the editors, the contributers are Gary Burtless, I. M. Destler, John J. DiIulio Jr., William Gale, Bruce Katz, Donald F. Kettl, Paul C. Light, Thomas E. Mann, Michael O'Hanlon, Paul R. Portney, Diane Ravitch, Isabel V. Sawhill, and James Sly.