The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 25, 1996 · Page 8
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 8

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, January 25, 1996
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^THURSDAY. JAM! IARV 2 5, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Sallna, KS 67402 Fax: (913) 827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal ©aol.com Quote of the day "I won't miss the bureaucracy and the paperwork and scratching for every nickel you have to have." Darrell Wilson Saline County sheriff, announcing his retirement Wednesday By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Saltna Journal Full faith and credit THE ISSUE The federal debt limit THE ARUGMBVT Don't default to make political points T he full faith and credit of the United States government. Don't snicker. Through times good and lean, wars ' civil and world, even administrations Republican and Democratic, the United States has never defaulted on a debt. That is why, no matter the size of our budget or deficit, the government keeps going, the soldiers and the pensioners get paid, the airplanes take off and land, and the money we borrow gets paid back, in full, with interest earned. That trust, earned over the last two centuries, is priceless. It would be foolish in the extreme to squander it, especially over some matter as trivial as the survival of the Energy Department. But some of the more radical members of the House of Representatives were prepared to let it happen. Or, at least, they said they were, which is just about as bad. Texas Rep. Dick Armey, among the more unbalanced of the House budget- balancers, said he would demand that any bill to extend the debt limit past its current limit — which the Treasury says will be reached in March — have budget-cutting language attached to it, or it will not pass the House. This is yet another example of what an American revolutionary has come to — someone who holds his breath until the financial markets turn blue. Armey and company should be ashamed of themselves. In order to further their petty debates with the administration over which set of phony figures they will use to claim to have balanced the budget three elections from now, they were willing to allow the government to become a deadbeat. At the least, interest rates would rise, hurting small business and consumers. At worst, the value of Treasury paper would plunge, making it more expensive for the government to borrow money the next time, whether we do it a little or a lot. Apparently, some of these House radicals want their way — your savings be damned. V TORY NOTIONS Bill Clinton's flapdoodle GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post When did he stop beliving what he used to believe? P resident Clinton struck the requisite tone of ambivalence Tuesday night. Any president entering the fourth year of his first term paints a picture of fragile grandeur: The state of the union is amazingly improved, thanks to his three years, but all gains could crumble if he is not retained. Clinton's protracted musings on our current condition (was his speech the sort of thing the Founders hoped «, for from the Constitution's provision that the president shall give Congress "information" concerning the state of the union?) will deserve at least a footnote in any history of American political flap- doodle, if only for his heroic amnesia concerning his * preoccupations until now. Three years ago he asked the national legislators, a majority of whom were Democrats, for enlarged government in the form of spending, called "investment," for economic "stimulus." Congress balked. Two years ago he asked the Democratic-controlled Congress to enlarge government by expanding its control of the one- seventh of the economy concerned with health care. His program would have been the largest and most intrusive permanent (that is, not counting Nixon's wage and price controls) peacetime expansion of government in American history. Now, blithely proclaiming that "the era of big government is over," he embraces, or at least espouses, three of the central tenets of contemporary conservatism: Government spending must grow significantly slower than even the last Republican administration planned for it to grow. The budget must be balanced by a date certain. And the balance must be achieved entirely by cuts in spending, by new controls on the growth of entitlement programs that until recently were referred to as "uncontrollables," and the balance must be achieved with a simultaneous tax cut. As a result, Republicans worry that he may have surrendered his way to a position of political strength and to the' brink of reelection. That worry is premature and probably mistaken. But to the extent that it is plausible, it merely represents the working of the sort of political dialectic that brought the Democratic Party to tribulation. The Democratic Party, the party of energetic government, was the prime mover behind government measures, such as the GI Bill and subsidized home mortgages, that made millions of Americans feel equipped for self-reliance, and thus less inclined to rely on the party of energetic government. Republicans, who respect markets, should not be amazed or dismayed by the fact that the political market works. They have persuaded the electorate to demand conservatism, and the president, who is nothing if not a believer in market research, wants to be seen to be a supplier. So he stocked the start of his speech with homilies, large scoops of cultural conservatism expressed in pastoral counseling about spanking Hollywood (Bob Dole could sue for copyright infringement concerning his Hollywood speech), turning off television, visiting your children's schools and so on. He has gone from "It's the economy, stupid" to "Come to think about it, it's the culture." November's election will turn on two questions: If Bill Clinton believes what he now says, when did he stop believing what lie used to say? And how perishable are his latest beliefs? In 1988 Michael Dukakis said the election was about "competence, not ideology," hoping to sneak the ideology of Massachusetts' political culture past the electorate. In 1992 Clinton ran on pledges that, once in office, he ran away from: radical welfare reform, a balanced budget in five years, a large middle class tax cut. Clinton's performance Tuesday night may have been the beginning of the Democratic Party's third consecutive campaign of concealment. THE VOTERS w/u. MAV£ To SETTLE IT. WE CArt T SETTC.E IT. list of nonessential workers increases Ly 2.. DoM'T COUNT OMCsETTVA/6, A OOWTWV//V6 LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL If you want to keep eating, keep an eye on farm debate A bumper sticker that was popular a few years ago read: "If you eat, you're .involved in agriculture." To give that a more specific twist, if you hope to still be eating 10 years from now, you need to be concerned about the agricultural budget bill now being negotiated in Congress. The current bill may not actually starve any Americans — at least, not in the short term — but if corporate agribusiness gets its .way in Congress, the bill that passes into law could severely limit your future choices as a consumer. For instance, are you concerned about meat contaminated with disease organisms and antibiotics? This problem will only get worse as more and more livestock production is concentrated on mammoth corporate "farms" where animals are crammed together by the tens of thousands in huge indoor factories. Yet factory farms are precisely the type of operations that, under the current bill, are scheduled to benefit from federal subsidies — while benefits to small and medium-sized family farms will be slashed. Obviously, the federal deficit needs to be cut, and farmers are prepared to do their part. But to pull the rug out from under family farmers while doling out hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to some of the nation's largest corporations is not only immoral but stupid. As for the long term, would you like for there to be enough soil left to grow food for everyone when your grandchildren grow up? The current ag budget bill will weaken one of the best soil conservation programs this country has ever had, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The bill would allow landowners with highly erodible land enrolled in the CRP to pull it out and till it up after only three years, before the environmental benefits have even been realized: If you care about your food supply —' and that of your grandchildren — let Rep. Roberts and Sen. Dole hear from you this week. — KATHYCOLLMER Minneapolis The deficit is one thing, the national debt is another I am truly surprised that the editorial editor did not jump on the misinformation contained in a letter to the editor published Jan. 16. I shall not name the writer but only quote the letter. Speaking of the budget deficit it reads, "It was $290 billion in 1992. It was $160 billion before the Republicans took over. That is a difference of $130 billion or 44.83 per cent. It looks to me we'd be at zero if Clinton is allowed to proceed on course." Apparently there is a total misconception of the meaning of the words "deficit" and "national debt." The deficit represents the amount of money spent by government over and above its income in any given year. Each year's deficit is added to the national debt, the accumulation of all the yearly deficits. The national debt grows constantly and is now close to the legal limit of $4.9 trillion. That's money owed by the taxpayers. Were Clinton to run a deficit of $160 billion each year until the year 2002 it would add $1.120 trillion to the present debt. What would be the end result? Bankruptcy! An example can be found in the chaos that engulfed Germany at the end of World War I, when it took a wheelbarrow full of marks to buy a loaf of bread. I wasn't there then but I was there in the '40s and saw the results. The German people had chosen their solution to the problem — Adolf Hitler. — WARREN C. HUBBARD Salina What good will a balanced budget do us? Does the balanced budget, if and when we ever see one, mean that a dollar will be worth a dollar? And, if so, where will that dollar be worth a dollar? And will prices stay as they are now or in 2002? Will we ever get to a bushel of wheat buying a shirt as it was years ago? Will this mean we will see 25-cent gasoline again, and nickel cigars and 5-cent chewing gum? Anyone who believes that horse hockey is drinking their bath water. Remember folks, these are the same people who sat behind closed doors and voted themselves a pay raise when we were all in a financial bind a while back. If they (Washington) really want a balanced budget, then I think the Hat 10 percent reduction as proposed a few years ago would do it sooner than seven years. If one were to really study the concept of a flat tax, believe me my friends you and I would pay a lot less and the fat cats with the loopholes would pay their fair share. — RONALD E. DENK Beloit What about helping the children who are born? I read with disgust about the abortion protestors picketing Dr. Maxwell's office. Instead of "Salinans for Life" using the time and energy to plan and carry out pickets, why don't they get their noses out of a woman's business and do some good for the children who have been brought into this world? If Mr. (Delaney) Hill wants "to get things going," why don't you, Mr. Hill, get going on trying to rescue children who are being abused by the very people that gave them life? If you would open your eyes and ears and mind, if it is broad enough, there are many children in your own city who need rescued. All the awful things we read of and hear on television, of children being left alone with no food or heat, being sexually abused by neighbors — and, yes, family members — is taking place in Salina, Kansas. Help them and be grateful that some woman or girl child, in many cases, has the foresight to know that the burden of an unwanted child will eventually lead to abuse or abandonment. Not all, but some, and one abused child is one too many. I could go on for pages but I think you get the idea. A female is the lone person who carries the child, births the child and, in most cases, has full responsibility of the child. So why DOONESBURY P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67401 should some male try to make the decision of what a woman should do with her body? — CHARMAINE OESTERREICH Woodbine Abortion protesters picked on the wrong targets . Protesters have a right to go where they choose, but they chose the wrong place and doctor for their march. The Santa Fe Medical Center is not an abortion Clinic. There is not a more caring person than Dr. Gordon Maxwell. Only after much prayer, discussion, and with no other alternatives, would he consider such a service necessary. This protest does not tell of the hours he has spent with mothers and in delivering their babies, of the family reunions and other activities he has missed so that he could be with his patients. Delaney Hill's comment about "older tigers" was asinine. The older doctors do not need to kill babies to make a living. They could retire and not have to worry about the future. Only their dedication to their patients keeps them practicing. If these protesters are so concerned about life before birth, why not life after birth? Why was a child, holding a very sharp stick, allowed to be in a situation that, in many cities, has been very dangerous? — Mrs. RAYMOND HOLADAY Grinnell Hope you weren't hurt while you were stealing my pig I am writing this letter to the person or persons who recently stole my 170-pound concrete pig off my front porch: His name is Porky and he is about 3 years old. I hope that you give him proper care. If you ever drive down East Cloud Street, you know that my wife and I like to decorate our yard for the various seasons and holidays. Valentines Day is approaching and Porky had a red heart that we hung around his neck. When Easter time comes we had a new pair of rabbit ears to put on his head. Because of vandalism, my wife and I spend hours every season taking in the major decorations every night and putting them back out every morning—but a 170-pound concrete pig! Actually, I guess that I should apologize to you. In today's society it is probably somehow my fault for tempting you with such a heavy item. I hope that you did not strain any body parts in stealing Porky. If you did, I hope that you do not have the phone number of the lawyer who sued McDonald's when his client placed a cup of hot coffee between her legs, and then sued when it spilled. One of the things that first attracted my wife and me to Porky was the silly grin that was on his face. He sat in front of our house every day, good days and bad days for his owners, and kept his same silly grin on his face. A good lesson for us humans, I think, except I wonder today if there might be tear drops covering that silly grin. — HARRY PHILLIPS Salina By G.B. TRUDEAU "054? MR. POONESBUK/: PO WUUSZQUAUTY.CONTRDUS I CANT75U.. P.K..7A05. " wen, yes, p. QUALITY CONTROLS, QUITS $rRIN6£NT ONES AT THAT/ WELL, FOR THAT5IT— PlfTALLTHZ A PUNCHLINE.. ON MS! •^STs^ \

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