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Volume III, Number 510 February 2003

This Week's Articles:

Catch Any Black Man If You Can

Paul Corrigan

Why do Americans cheer for the white con artist in Stephen Spielberg's film "Catch Me If You Can" and racially profile young black men as criminals? It is an interesting question, but not one Americans want to answer. This is the reality that we are willing to live with, but the truth is something we are not willing to face.

The Era of Irresponsibility

Tim Francis-Wright

During the 2000 presidential campaign, George Bush famously called for a new era of responsibility in American politics. In his own words, "responsible leaders confront problems. They don't pass them along to others." In the State of the Union speech last month, Bush echoed his talk from his campaign. He claimed that his administration "will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents, and other generations."

The current federal budget deficit is not what makes Bush and his administration irresponsible. Indeed, ever since John Maynard Keynes first urged governments to regulate the economy, deficit spending has been a strategy of governments of all stripes during times of economic distress. The irresponsibility of the Bush administration manifests itself in other ways—in its sudden embrace of long-term deficit spending, and in its disdain for the fiscal plight of state governments.

[Click on a title to read a particular article.]

Last Week's Articles:

Cowboy George

Paul Corrigan

The Bush proposal to eliminate the "double taxation" of dividends is the key component in the tax package sent to Congress by the Administration. The Administration's political spin is that the proposed legislation will unleash billions of dollars of retained corporate earnings into the economy. Critics of the proposal have compared the legislation to the bursting of a dam: some people will be helped, but the majority will be hurt. Don't kid yourself that the administration or our representatives on Capital Hill have thought out the ramifications of the program on the lives of American citizens. The Bush administration is oblivious to the adverse ramifications of the proposed legislation. The cowboy in Bush chooses a course of action and then searches for a marketing spin to justify the action.

Joe Millionaire

Tim Francis-Wright

This week, the Bush administration offered another radical change to an aspect of tax policy. It proposed to replace most of the current smorgasbord of tax-deferred savings plans for retirement and education with a simplified system that features only three options. Like the proposal to eliminate income tax on most corporate taxes received by individuals, it does little to solve a problem or rectify an inequity facing ordinary Americas. But it does benefit the trust-fund set, and in a big way.

The Bush savings plan would establish three accounts: Lifetime Savings Accounts that could be used anytime and for any purpose; Retirement Savings Accounts that would replace all sorts of Individual Retirement Accounts; and Employer Retirement Savings Accounts that would supersede 401(k) and similar retirement plans. The nasty implications of the plans are buried in the details, and the details make the plan ideal for millionaires and lousy for everyone else.

[Click on a title to read a particular article.]

Older Articles:

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Fact of the Week

The Justice Department has been working in secret on a sequel to the odious USA Patriot Act. The proposal, officially the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, but already dubbed USA Patriot Act II would dramatically curtail civil liberties. A copy of the draft bill went to Vice President Dick Cheney and to House Speaker Dennis Hastert last month, yet Democrats were told no such bill existed or was being planned.

Among many other things, the bill would allow the federal government to strip American citizens of their citizenship and expatriate them, merely from working with a group that the government deems to be "terrorist" in nature. It would expand the number of crimes subject to the death penalty, and allow secret arrests in many cases. It would authorize the creation of a DNA database on "suspected terrorists."

Center for Public Integrity, which has the whole sordid screed available for viewing or downloading.


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