Dispatches > The Buzz

Flash Traffic

Political buzz from Washington

Issue: "Untouchable?," April 7, 2001

Guess who's trying to buy campaign finance "reform" ... mostly liberal Democrats eager to topple the GOP's control of Congress and the White House ... liberal activists supporting the McCain-Feingold bill believe "soft money"-large contributions to grass-roots groups and political parties to run issue ads-is evil and corrupting ... so how much "soft money" have they raised and spent since 1996 to eliminate "soft money"? ... $73 million, according to a new study by Cleta Mitchell, a campaign finance lawyer in Washington ... since 1997, liberal activist billionaire George Soros has funneled $4.7 million to the campaign finance "reform" movement, including $600,000 to Arizonans for Clean Elections ... clean elections? ... Mitchell points out that the group's treasurer, Gary Tredway, turns out to be "wanted for felony convictions for more than 30 years" ... Tredway "received one of former President Clinton's last-minute pardons" ... President Bush needs to shift his message immediately from "recession prevention" to "recovery maximization" ... or risk being tagged by Democrats as out of touch ... the president tells a Michigan audience an "economic downturn" is underway ... but it's actually worse ... "A recession is underway," says Brian Wesbury, former chief economist for the Congressional Joint Economic Committee ... "The Clinton Recession is now baked into the cake, and there's nothing Bush can do to stop it," says former Treasury Department economist Gary Robbins ... "The question is how to set the stage for the fastest, strongest recovery" ... Evidence? ... new orders for durable goods fell 7.3 percent in January, and another 0.2 percent in February ... labor cutbacks increasing ... Daimler-Chrysler lays off 26,000 autoworkers ... Motorola lays off 22,000 ... Lucent Technologies lays off 16,000 ... Nortel Networks lays off 15,000 ... Verizon lays off 10,000 ... Proctor & Gamble lays of 9,600 ... Disney lays off 4,000 ... Charles Schwab lays off 3,400-13 percent of his work force-and cuts his own pay by 50 percent ... Cisco CEO John Chambers says his company-which builds networking equipment to power the Internet-was experiencing growth of 70 percent last November, but is now grinding to a halt ... Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) accuses President Bush of not doing enough to stimulate the economy ... then proposes a one-time $300 per person tax rebate at a cost of $60 billion ... no rate cuts? ... no new incentives for work, saving, investment, or risk-taking? ... why not just toss bushels of dollar bills out the back door of Air Force One? ... With one eye on the plunging Nasdaq-the other eye on his New Investor Class political support-President Bush names Floyd Kvamme the nation's first "high tech czar" ... a liaison between the White House and the technology sector ... Kvamme, 63, is a partner at the powerful Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers ... his official title will be co-chairman of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology ... the other co-chairman will be the as-yet-unnamed White House Science Advisor ... A conservative now directs the administration's hiring process ... Kay James is named director of the Office of Personnel Management ... raised in housing projects on welfare, James is now one of the nation's most influential African-American conservatives ... a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, James was Chairman of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission with Dr. James Dobson from 1997 to 1999 ... she was Virginia's secretary of Health and Human Services ... and served in the last Bush administration as assistant secretary of Health and Human Services ...

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Joel C. Rosenberg
Joel C. Rosenberg

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