The shocks administered to the federal budget by Ronald Reagan shortly after he took office in January 1981 were more than an attempt to reorder government priorities by spending more on defense and less on social programs. The president wanted to reestablish White House control over the budget; he wanted it to be a statement of his policies rather than a testament to presidential impotence. No longer would the budget be held hostage by the economy, David Stockman, the vigorous OMB director, announced. The president would cut taxes and spur economic growth, thereby ensuring a fiscal dividend in future years. The President's bold gamble will be examined later in this chapter, though it is now (March 1981) much too early to appraise the results.