Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on August 5, 1987 · Page 4
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 4

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Ukiah, California
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Wednesday, August 5, 1987
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Page 4
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL EDITORIAL Tax boost problematic With the television spectacle of the Iran- Contra hearings providing a noisy diversion, Democratic lawmakers have begun trying to figure out how to raise taxes by nearly $65 billion over the next three years. that is the amount of new revenues envisioned by the budget resolution passed in May by Democratic majorities in the Senate and House over the strong protests of President Reagan. Of the total, $19.3 billion in higher taxes is needed for fiscal 1988 to reduce the deficit to $134 billion, according to the Democratic plan. The budget proposed by the White House in January would have achieved the same deficit level without the tax increase, but Democratic lawmakers months ago rejected the cuts in domestic spending sought by the president. Even with the higher taxes, which are not likely to be enacted over President Reagan's promised veto, the 1988 deficit would be $26 billion higher than the $108 billion target established by the Gramm-Rudman act. Lawmakers are grateful to flout the law now that the Supreme Court has removed its teeth — a provision triggering automatic, across- the-board spending cuts if the deficit-reduction targets are not reached by Congress. Now, the Democratic leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, where revenue bills originate, are faced with delivering on their pledge to hike taxes. Their aim is to portray the Democratic Party as fiscally responsible by considering, among other measures, an additional 50-cent tax on a six-pack of beer and a 10-cent per gallon tax on gasoline on top of the current 9-cent federal fuel tax. What many Democratic lawmakers seem to have forgotten is that Walter Mondale pledged to raise taxes under the guise of fiscal responsibility and was soundly drubbed in 49 states. There are many flaws in the Democratic approach to the deficit. The principal one is the specious premise that boosting taxes will produce a commensurate decrease in red ink. On the contrary, feeding the deficit with higher revenues only whets the insatiable appetite on Capitol Hill for higher spending, which inevitably negates the benefit to the deficit. History has demonstrated this truism time and again. In addition, the Democratic-proposed increases in excise taxes on liquor, cigarettes, gasoline and interstate telephone calls would shift the deficit-reduction burden to lower- and middle-income persons, who spend a larger share of their wages on such items. Such regressive taxes defy the Democratic party's traditions but are the main sources of . higher revenue left after House Speaker Jim Wright struck out miserably in calling on Congress to raise income taxes for the upper- middle-class only months after tax rates were lowered in exchange for eliminating most deductions. Given the president's steadfast resolve to veto any significant tax increase, the bottom line of the Democratic effort is likely to be little or no additional revenues to. plug the $19.3 billion hole in the 1988 budget. Consequently, the deficit will continue to hover near the $170 billion level, and Congress will once again have failed to remedy the nation's most pressing economic threat That's a scenario the voters are not likely to forget in 1988. The only question remaining is who will be assigned the blame. Letter policy The Journal welcomes letters from our readers. However, we reserve the right not to print those letters we consider may be libelous, in bad taste or a personal attack. Letters must not exceed 300 words in lenght and should be typed and double-spaced. All letters must be signed and include an address and phone number for verification. Anonymous letters will not be primed. Addresses will not be printed, but the writer's name will appear. Because of the volume of letters received, some letters may be edited because of space requirements. OPINION WEDNESDAY] AUGUST 5,198) GULF ESCORT: PLAN B RICHARD REEVES An evil man: I, John Poindexter... NEW YORK — If the colonel had no sense, the admiral has no morality. John Poindexter seems totally detached from what might be called the moral contracts of shared governance and individual liberty. He is either a calculating liar, a pathological liar or a psychopath. I found Oliver North a foolish and dangerous man — in his own wife's words, a "big buffoon." Poindexter seems evil, detached from accountability to those he is supposed to be serving, the president above and the people below. What I heard him saying for five days was that he made his own rules. The buck stops with me. I make the rules. I, John Poindexter -A The lies-are-truth, truth-is-lies nature of Poindexter's public reasoning was captured during questioning by Sam Nunn, the senator from Georgia. "After reading the denials by the White House issued since your testimony, do you still believe the president would have approved the decision (to divert Iran arms sales proceeds to the Contras) if you had asked him?" "I do ..." "So the denials from the White House have had no effect on your testimony?" "No, they have not." "That means, admiral, you must believe the White House is now misleading the American people." "No, I, I ... I don't think so." "How can it not be?" "At this point I can't speak for the White House. I don't know what they've got in mind over there." "Well, I would just observe, admiral, and you can refute this if you like, the White House statements directly contradict your testimony, and you're standing by your testimony, so your testimony directly contradicts the White House statements." "That is correct. That appearjs to be obvious ..." ' That dialogue might have challenged the imagination of George Orwell. Perhaps Poindexter, calculating or fantasizing his own coup d'etat, had scripting help from Lewis Carroll. "You wanted to deflect blame from the president," said Lee Hamilton, the veteran congressman from southern Indiana, "but that is another way of saying you wanted to deflect responsibility from the president. "And," Hamilton continued, "that shtiuld not be done in our system of government." j If that is done, in fact, we have no system. Poindexter at Congress Was like Alice in Wonderland: I did not know whether to laugh or cry. The admiral's theories of presidential deniability were often hilarious. If other administration officials were as buck-stopping as Poindexter, President Reagan could deny there was a federal budget deficit, or a trade deficit, or homeless Americans on the streets of this grand city. But, it the admiral as presidential adviser validated the enduring relevance of Orwell and Carroll, the thought of him commanding warships made me think of Herman Wouk. What if Captain Queeg were sure he knew what the president really wanted and decided to go after the Ayatollah Khomeini and his Silkworm missiles? I assume some who think there is something about a man in uniform —even when he's not wearing it — will tell me that Adm. Poindexter is a hero. Perhaps they sleep better knowing he is willing to take the blame for making our country conform to his fantasies. Me, I would sleep better if he signed up for high school civics lessons. It's obviously too late for that. Who knew with all the talk about ethics courses at Harvard Business School, we should have been checking what they have been teaching at Annapolis? Happily, though, there are real heroes in the land and on television. I have been thrilled watching them day after day: Hamilton of Indiana, Nunn of Georgia, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, Paul Trible of Virginia, William Cohen and George Mitchell of Maine. I am sorry that we, reporters and editors, are so determined to demean elected politicians. I have contempt for the "Seven Dwarfs" school of presidential campaign coverage. I, for one, much prefer living in a country run by mealy-mouthed, wneely- dealy politicians like Bob Dole and Paul Simon — and Ronald Reagan, too — than living under the command of straight-shooting, bent- brained admirals and colonels. LETTERS Raffling in reverse? To Th« Editor: The "raffle" held at the fireworks celebration prompts me to ask a question of someone as to the manner of drawing tickets. In most drawings elsewhere, the first ticket drawn is the winner of the main item — the one for which you purchased tickets. Locally I've noticed that the last ticket drawn is the "big" winner. When the first ticket drawn is given a lesser prize, and sO down the line, those tickets are removed from the box and the purchasers are not able to win the main raffle item. This seems backwards. The first ticket should be the main winner, and others drawn are in order of lesser value. Until this policy changes, I will not support raffles. Do others share this view? Mary Franz Calpella Learn before condemning To The Editor: What a great article you wrote.in the July 29 paper. The one about "Hidden meaning in rock music"; how open-minded. I have recently started learning about Jesus and God and while I'm egcited and much happier, one thing bothered me about a lot of "Christians": They are so condemning of so many things they know nothing about. A lot of songs I've listened to in the past are now clear since* reading the Bible and how can music that you can feel be bad? Groups and artists like Rush, Jackson Browne, etc... have many loving and helpful songs (hat give positive messages and the way they feel the music has to come from a spiritual place. Music is a much greater pleasure than anything we can get on TV. I think before anyone condemns things or persons they should learn about them first. Mary Jones Potter Valley Ethanol is the answer Almanac Today In History Today is Wednesday, Aug. 5, the 217th day of 1987. There are 148 days left to the year. . Today's highlight In history: '* Twenty-five years ago, in the early hours of Aug. 5,1962, actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead In the bedroom of her home in Los Angeles. Her death was ruled a "probable suicide" caused by an overdose of sleeping pills. Monroe was 36. On this date: In 1861, the federal government levied an income tax for the first time. In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Adm. David G. Farragut is said to have given his famous order, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed •bead!" as he led his fleet against Mobile Bay, Ala. In 1884, the cornerstone was laid for the Statue of Liberty on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor. In 1914, the first electric traffic lights were installed, in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1953, Operation Big Switch was under way as prisoners taken during the Korean conflict were exchanged at Panmunjom. In 19S7, "American Bandstand," hosted by Dick Clark, made its network debut on ABC. In 1983, the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union signed a treaty banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in space and underwater. In 1989, the U.S. space probe Mariner 7 flew by Mara, sending back photographs and scientific data. In 1984, actor Kichard Burton died of a cerebral hemorrhage at a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, at the age of 58. In 1984, at the Olympics in Los Angeles, Joan Benoit won the first Olympic marathon for women, finishing in two hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds, Thought tor today: "Gossip is vice enjoyed vicariously." — filbert Hubbard, American author and publisher (1856-1915). To The Editor: Re: the current California optional fuel/smog control device enforcement debate: The silence about non-polluting fuel in the fuel-emissions-and-options debate in Sacramento has been deafening. All the lawmakers have argued over is benzene (from gasoline) vs. formaldehyde (from wood alcohol), and who gets to force which gadgets upon which Califomians or others, all the while blaming auto makers and oil companies for everything. Why go through the debate, time, expense and effort, to switch to a less polluting vehicle fuel (methanol) when Califomians can enjoy the benefit of phasing in a totally non-polluting fuel which will run their vehicles better? Why not change to the fuel the inventor of the internal combustion engine, Richard Otto, chose because it was better for his engine than any other fuel? That non-polluting fuel is grain alcohol (ethanol), the same alcohol which is in alcoholic beverages, denatured with a small amount of kerosene or diesel oil to make it unpleasant to drink (by federal law), and to provide the lubrication necessary in fuel use to extend engine life. The only ingredients a pure-ethanol burning engine emits through the tail pipe are carbon, dioxide, which mammals exhale and plants breathe in, and a small amount of water vapor. That means no pollutants from driving a vehicle in California, and, in fact, the carbon dioxide aids plants, which in turn exhale oxygen for animals to' breathe. But, the benefits of changing over to pure ethanol fuel do not stop with just ending smog-producing emissions. In an era when Americans must reduce their dependence upon uncertain supplies of imported oil, grain (and ethanol can be made from a wide variety of grains) is a dramatically more renewable resource than wood, coal, or natural gas, the raw materials of methanol. Ethanol not only provides fanners—from family to corporate — with a steady new industry and income, but, because grain crops can be rotated, it can improve a fanner's soil's erosion resistance, fertility, and pest-resistance (reducing his need for pesticides, thereby keeping groundwater cleaner.) Further cost-reductions are available to a fanner from using the by-product of ethanol production: distilled grain. Distilled grain, high in protein content, vitamins land minerals, and low in cost, makes an excellent livestock feed and does a better job of soil conditioning than do available fertilizers. At a time when many farmers are seeking a better future, ethanol offers a better livelihood, just as it offers living things better air to breathe, and offers motorists safer, better-running fuel. To all Americans, ethanol offers a major step toward energy independence and self-reliance. Kent H. 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