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20 / DES MOINCS REGISTER ft Hon., Aug. 25, 197S This column is not. about Richard Nixon; I don't write about Richard Nixon any more. This column is about David Frost, a television personality who is going to interview the person I don't write about any more. It has been reliably reported that Mr. Frost has agreed to pay that other fellow in the neighborhood of $750,000 to sit there and talk to him while the television cameras are running. Afterward, Mr. Frost is expected to sell the interview to television stations around the world for more than $750,000. This, if I remember Economics 101, "Survey of Economic Systems," is what is known as free enterprise capitalism, y Yet the nation's press, which is on record as being in favor of free enterprise capitalism, has severely criticized Mr. Frost for offering to pay his interviewee. "Checkbook journalism," the big time journalists call it, with sneers on their lips and beads of sweat standing on their foreheads. What they '-ar is that this might set a trend and interfere with the sacred journalist-news source relationship, that of free and mutual exploitation. As James Reston, perhaps the most respected journalist in the land, put it: "Won't other big shots or notorious characters demand their price?" The reaction is that of an innocent primitive who leaves his backward, sexually promiscuous society for civilization and discovers red light districts. It is appalling to have to pay for what heretofore had been given willingly. Personally, Iv see nothing wrong with the arrangement, other than bad taste. (It does offend one's sense of fitness to think of the person I'm not writing about any more get-, ting all that money for telling us yet' again that he is not a crook, in two-part harmony.) But, if Frost can get his hands on that kind of money and wishes to lay it out for such purpose — it's a free country. I, for one, wish him well. I would also disagree with those who have said that Mr. Frost is a poor choice to interview the interviewee in question. He may not be Dan Rather or Clark Mollenhoff when it comes to asking the tough question, but I have seen him interview midgets, Hungarian actresses, clowns, goldfish swallowers and Evel Knievel. He would be my second choice for the job, right after Ralph Edwards. • During the recent bike trip, a fellow walked up to me at one of the campsites and said: "Look around." I looked around. "What do you see?" he said. ''More men than women, right?" I allowed as to how that was what I saw. "It's always that way," he went on. "Women scream about not being given equal athletic facilities in high school and college, but in biking — where the only real impediment to participation is lack of interest — the men always outnumber the women. Let me ask you this: If women aren't as interested in participating in athletics as men. why should they get an equal share of available funds?" I tried to think of what Betty Friedan would say, but my mind boggled. 1 probably should have tried to summon up Germaine Greer, with whom I feel more sympatico. Anyway, the other day someone sent me a clipping from the Washington (la.) Journal, reporting that Bill Thoma of Wayland stationed himself on the bike route and counted the bikers as they rode past. The score: Men - 1,679. Chairpersons — fi03. If 1 were a feminist, I'd be embarrassed. —Donald Kanl INCUMBENTS GET $500,000 HEAD START By ROBERT S.BOVD WASHINGTON, O.C. - Your average congressman running for re-election enjoys a half- million-dollar head start over any challenger, a new study of congressional fringe benefits shows. The government gives each representative money to pay for up to 18 assistants, four separate offices, free or low- cost communications and travel and other miscellaneous goodiPs ranging from free park- ing spaces to 2,000 wall calendars to give away to voters. The study, compiled by Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), estimated the worth of all these benefits at $488,505 per congressman, and rising. 3 Times Limit That sum is more than three times the $140,000 limit that'a candidate for Congress is allowed to spend to get himself (elected under the new campaign finance law. ADA legislative representative John Isaacs conceded that most of the benefits are designed to maintain a congressman's office and serve his constituents during his term. In addition, however, "they are available during re-election of an election," the ADA report said. To equalize the contest, the ADA is pushing for a system of public financing for congressional races, similar to that set up for presidential candidates starting in 1976. Congress rejected public financing for senators and representatives, leading some critics to call the campaign spending law an act to protect incumbents. Other Benefits In addition to the $488,505 in specific benefits there are other harder-to-measure advantages to being an Incumbent, the ADA study said. These include heavy press coverage, reduced rates for use of TV and radio studios and even recreational facilities, like the House sauna and gym. • Travel allowance for 26 round trips to his home district plus six staff trips, worth $4,055 to a typical Midwestern Con* gressman. In addition, the ADA figured an incumbent enjoys a built-in $23,340 futtd-rafsing advantage, since that is the average amount the House incumbents raised more than their principal challengers in the last election. ;••;- what a great way to put it all together! • tops, size 38 to 46 • pants, size 32 to 40 waist And to mix it, or match it! Lady Ruts tailors thcjnixable* to give new depth, new fashion to your transeasonal wardrobe. 100% Polyester for the jackets and pants, acetate/nylon blend for the blouses. Makes it all easy-care for you. 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