Dispatches > The Buzz

FLASH TRAFFIC

Issue: "Casualty of 'peace'," March 24, 2001

The fastest way to reenergize the economy and markets? ... Cut the capital gains tax rate from 20 percent to 15 percent ... Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Speaker Dennis Hastert say they now support this move ... but the White House is quiet and strangely noncommittal ... Also critical? ... cut wasteful government spending ... former GOP Rep. Vin Weber joins the board of Citizens Against Government Waste ... will help CAGW President Tom A. Schatz wage war against "pork barrel" spending ... like $5.8 million in wood utilization research ... $3.4 million in shrimp aquaculture research ... a $220,000 National Science Foundation grant study on why men don't smile as often as women ... a $245,000 NSF grant to determine why political leaders "attend to certain problems while they ignore others" ... a $194,000 NSF grant to study why potential candidates decide not to run for Congress (who cares?) ... the list goes on and on ... DANGER ... "Republicans are looking at the political equivalent of Chernobyl, a complete nuclear meltdown," warns a top GOP political strategist ... "We're talking about a wipeout of Republican control of the House and Senate in 2002. Goodbye Hastert and Lott, hello Gephardt and Daschle" ... Why? ... 70 percent of voters-the New Investor Class-own stocks ... right now they like Bush and the tax cut plan ... but, thanks to President Clinton's higher taxes, higher interest rates, higher spending, and war against Microsoft, they're getting socked by the plunging stock market and looming recession ... worse, the slow phase-in of the Bush tax plan may be too little too late ... "If the New Investor Class bolts from Bush, we're toast," says the strategist ... Sen. Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy are furious that a pro-tax cut sound bite from former President John F. Kennedy is being used in new radio ads supporting President Bush's across-the-board tax cut plan ... in a scathing letter to the conservative Issues Management Center, which produced the ad, the Kennedys claim "it is intellectually dishonest and politically irresponsible to suggest that President Kennedy would have support such a tax cut ... If President Kennedy were here today, he would vigorously oppose President Bush's irresponsible tax scheme" ... Not so fast, Ted! ... JFK's across-the-board tax cuts were actually bigger for the rich, notes political economist Daniel J. Mitchell ... President Bush is cutting the top rates by almost a fifth, from 39.6 percent to 32 percent ... JFK slashed the top tax by more than a fifth, from 91 percent to 70 percent ... guess what? ... stronger economic growth following the Kennedy tax cuts caused tax revenues to increase 62 percent (33 percent after adjusting for inflation) ... Last week we reported CIA chief George Tenet had warned the White House and Congress that Iran is fast becoming a serious new threat to U.S. and Western interests ... now Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has flown to Moscow to forge an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to increase arms sales and Iranian nuclear energy development ... "Why exactly does Iran need to develop nuclear energy capabilities? It's sitting on some of the largest natural gas reserves in the world," notes Ariel Cohen, a Russian affairs expert at the Heritage Foundation ... Moscow's end game? ... "Russia wants Iran to severely challenge or deny U.S. military control over the Persian Gulf" ... Focus on the Family's James Dobson quietly slipped into the nation's capital last week to speak to major donors for the Family Research Council ... Dobson-who made clear to associates last year he was very skeptical of George W. Bush's conservatism-now says he's "very encouraged" by the new Bush Administration ... one reason: TeamBush is being particularly warm and helpful to Shirley Dobson as she organizes the National Day of Prayer ... says one Dobson ally, compared to the Clinton White House, "the difference is like day and night ... people of faith are no longer being ignored or squashed"

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Joel C. Rosenberg
Joel C. Rosenberg

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