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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
January 2001

(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News from Detroit_)

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independence.

-- C.A. Beard


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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,
"Part One: Does the Fed Govt. play a role in the national economy?
Part Two: When was the last time that the incumbent presidential party was voted out of office during a good economy?"

This change of question since last month was stimulated by an exchange last week with one of the readers who insists that I have not given Clinton the credit he deserves for having the robust growing economy which we supposedly have. This got me to thinking, "Apparently the country at large is not giving him credit either."

To answer the 2'nd question first: since the 1930's, only one president (or his heir apparent) has been voted out of the Oval Office during a boom economy. FDR stayed in power even during the Depression. Truman retired during a recession which put in Eisenhower. Ike  had  2 terms and turned over a good economy to Nixon, but Nixon lost to Kennedy. After Kennedy's assasination, Johnson took one term and retired. Nixon had 1.5, Ford took over during the 2'nd and was thrown out of office due to the economy and energy crisis. Ditto for Carter. Reagan had 2, then Bush was blamed for a bad economy (albeit healing at the time) and left after one term. Which brings us to Clinton/Gore. Gore is the first in at least 40 years to be tossed in "boom times". So this raises one of three possibilities: either

a. The public does not think we are in a strong economy, despite the nightly news RaRa (until Jan 20)
b. They don't think the Clinton Admin is responsible if there is a strong economy
c. They dislike Al Gore so much they'd rather risk their wallet then live under another 4 years of the Clinton Economic Miracle

"Oh come on Steve, Gore almost won" True, but if the public had given any credence to the idea that the Clinton Admin. was responsible for the good times, it would have been a landslide - not a razor margin. Clinton won in '92 with "It's the economy stupid." He promised a tax break to the lower income groups - which he renegged on. But not to worry becuase the recession which we were already coming out of during the '92 election (as evidenced by the then 4.2% growth in GDP) allowed Clinton to start claiming he was an economic guru even before he was sworn in - and during the 1'st year of his reign when he was living on the budget developed by the previous admin.

To answer the first question, does the Fed govt. have a role in the economy? You bet, but as the wag once said, that govt. governs best that governs least. What can the govt. do to help the economy? Reduce taxes, regulation and generally get out of the way. What can it do to hurt the economy? Raise taxes, overegulate, transfer wealth from those who have created it to those that the govt. deems should have it becuase "its more fair", etc.

Now you have to ask yourself, what class (help/hurt) did Clinton fall in when his first act was to retroactively raise income taxes for the previous year when he was not even in power? Or when he and Hillary attempted to take over 1/7 of the US economy via socialized health care? Or when he raised the minimum wage twice and made  paid child leave a requiment for even small businesses? Did that make it easier for mom and pop businesses to thrive, or did it favor large corps who could afford the expense? How about killing the stock markets with back to back blows against Microsoft, pharmaceuticals and the tobacco companies? [BTW: We still wonder if tobacco is so evil, why is it still legal?]

Of course, Clinton did accomplish some other things. He came to power with a unified  Dem House/Senate/White House and after his departure lost all three. And, oddly for a Dem, he crossed lines and voted with the Rep controlled Hill to pass welfare reform and NAFTA.

I can't for the life of me understand why Gore didn't win in a landslide.

Guest Editorial:

for those of you who  attended UW-Madison from 1981-1985, you may recall one of the underground newspapers called "The Onion". The writers of that work have taken it to the web,

from it, the following represents a pretty accurate summation of  Liberal media viewpoints on the new President

Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over

      WASHINGTON, DC--Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton,
president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of
peace and prosperity is finally over."

      "My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

      Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

      During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

      "You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who
plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle
situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"

      On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which
would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which
would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.

      Wall Street responded strongly to the Bush speech, with the Dow Jones industrial fluctuating wildly before closing at an
18-month low. The NASDAQ composite index, rattled by a gloomy outlook for tech stocks in 2001, also fell sharply,
losing 4.4 percent of its total value between 3 p.m. and the closing bell.

      Asked for comment about the cooling technology sector, Bush said: "That's hardly my area of expertise."

      Turning to the subject of the environment, Bush said he will do whatever it takes to undo the tremendous damage not
done by the Clinton Administration to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He assured citizens that he will follow through on
his campaign promise to open the 1.5 million acre refuge's coastal plain to oil drilling. As a sign of his commitment to
bringing about a change in the environment, he pointed to his choice of Gale Norton for Secretary of the Interior. Norton,
Bush noted, has "extensive experience" fighting environmental causes, working as a lobbyist for lead-paint manufacturers
and as an attorney for loggers and miners, in addition to suing the EPA to overturn clean-air standards.

      Bush had equally high praise for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, whom he praised as "a tireless champion in
the battle to protect a woman's right to give birth."

      "Soon, with John Ashcroft's help, we will move out of the Dark Ages and into a more enlightened time when a woman
will be free to think long and hard before trying to fight her way past throngs of protesters blocking her entrance to an
abortion clinic," Bush said. "We as a nation can look forward to lots and lots of babies."

Continued Bush: "John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible   wedge President Clinton drove between church and state."

 The speech was met with overwhelming approval from Republican leaders.

  "Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a  close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under   Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now
say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."

      "For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush
Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the
fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again,
we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."

      An overwhelming 49.9 percent of Americans responded enthusiastically to the Bush speech.

      "After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few
weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012," Rahway, NJ, machinist and
father of three Bud Crandall said. "That's not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in."

      "You have no idea what it's like to be black and enfranchised," said Marlon Hastings, one of thousands of Miami-Dade
County residents whose votes were not counted in the 2000 presidential election. "George W. Bush understands the pain
of enfranchisement, and ever since Election Day, he has fought tirelessly to make sure it never happens to my people

      Bush concluded his speech on a note of healing and redemption.

      "We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of
us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our
nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an
enemy and defeat it."

      "The insanity is over," Bush said. "After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over
America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad."


1. Matt Birkholz

Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 22:06:59 -0700 (MST)
From: Matt Birkholz <>
Subject: lastcall

> "Part One: Does the Fed Govt play a role in the national economy?

They scrape 2 trillion off of a 9 trillion dollar economy, but it is mostly
pissed away.

They certainly THINK they SHOULD have a "role" in the economy.  I think the
Gumint exercises about as much influence over the economy as Mom exercises
over her teenage kids (i.e. varying wildly, but averaging NOT MUCH).

> Part Two: When was the last time that the incumbant presidential
> party was voted out of office during a good economy?"

Whoa.  Trivia time?  I'd love to research that, but I am presently
distracted with the wholesale price of urethane foam and what "24 nautical
mile contiguous zone" means... also, how to most efficiently transport
megawatts of electricity over 25 nautical miles to the energy-starved
Californians paying exorbitant rates. :-)


2. Doug WIlken writes;

Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 19:31:12 -0600 (CST)
From: Doug Wilken <>
To: steve langer <>
Cc: Doug Wilken <>
Subject: 1st response in many moons

Hi Steve.

>Does the Fed Govt play a role in the national economy?

Sure, some of it even by design.  :)

Tax policy.  Monetary policy.  Wealth transfers.  Grants
for investments, research, providing access to capital
(under criteria having nothing to do with market value,
but that's another story....).  At any rate, why, yes,
Virginia.  The Fed Govt DOES have a role in the national
economy.  Don't have time to provide you with scintillating
essays on each sub topic.

>When was the last time that the incumbant presidential
party was voted out of office during a good economy?

Um.  1960 I think.  Nixon also had a personality on a
par with a wooden Indian.  And that election was just
about a tie as well.

Congratulate me.  I survived sitting across from Chuck
Scripter all during the Florida "recounts".  On the other
hand you should have seen my reaction when Paul Wellstone
decided that he needs to break his campaign promise and
run for a third term in the senate.  The man is a mediocre
poly-sci prof gone bad.

-Doug Wilken

Quote(s) of the month:

"I was trying to walk a fine line between acting lawfully and testifying falsely ..."

-- Jan 19, Former President Clinton, commenting on his final admission that he did perjure himself during the Lewinsky hearings

Fix of the month:

[recycled from last time]
"How do we teach people that it's not in their long term best interest to cede control to the govt. of their lives?"


In which the editor reports the news using the logic evinced by the  departing President and the Onion.


1. Jan 17, Olympia: A jailed sex offender who has served his term, is still in jail. The prosecutor and State supreme Court have decided that until an appropriate location can be found to house him on his return to the "outside", he will be maintained in jail.

2. Jan 24, Renton: Boeing has announced that it will layoff approxiamately 700-1000 employees due to declining 747 and 777 orders.
Ed: Company spokesperson said the orders fell off immediately after the US supreme court decided in George W Bush's favor.

3. Jan. 18, Seattle: Local dot coms such as Amazon and are laying off 10-20% of their workforce. They attribute the necessity for this to the declining mood of the US public, which depressed Chrismas sales, because of the stolen presidential election.

4. Jan 24, Redmond: Microsoft lost its case with part-time workers, and has agreed to pay $57 million in back benefits. Part-timers  were worked 60 hour weeks and did not qualify for medical converage since they were supposedly working less than 40 hours/week.

5. Jan 24-25, Redmond: Microsoft's company Web pages, and hotmail service has been interupted for two days by cracker Denial of Service attacks on their company DNS servers. Microsoft claims that their site is now secure, and they only requested the FBI to track down the crackers becuase MS had better things to do.


1. Montgomery County, Jan 19: The County Council of this DC burb voted to pass an ordinance that bans smoking in any public outdoor areas. People caught smoking in Parks or on other public land will be fined $100.


1. Jan 21, Detroit: The members of the Big Three, interviewed on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show, admit that auto sales are down since the gas price increases of the past summer. Ford and GM in particular say that SUV and Truck sales are down, and layoffs are imminant.
Ed: The executives secretly think the gas price increases are due to a Bush-Cheney Oil Cartel, which reduced refinery output to raise prices and fund the succesful Bush election. The Cartel is now taking over power production in California to fund the 2004 reelection.

Washington D.C.

1. Jan 18: The most Reverend Jesse Jackson, former religious advisor to president Clinton during his Monica Lewinsky tribulations, admitted today that he himself has sired a child from an extra-marital affair. Saying he is contrite and praying for forgiveness, he has taken himself off the public stage for a bit, and has ceded his oversight of the investigation of the south Florida recount of the presidential election.

2. Jan 19: On this, his last full day as President, Mr. Clinton struck a deal with Ken Starr's replacement Special Prosecutor. In it, Clinton admitted that he perjured himself while under oath (some of you may recall that this is the item that was brought forth during the impeachment trial). In exchange for the confession and a $50K fine, the plea bargain assures that Clinton will not be further prosecuted, and his license to practice law in Ark will only be suspended for 5 years, not revoked.

3. Jan 19: Linda Tripp was fired from her press secy. job at the Pentagon. Suing for her job back, her attorney says this is a simple act of revenge by Clinton.

4. Jan 19: Clinton pardons Whitewater business partner Susan McDougal (who didn't testify against him) but not Web Hubbel (who did). [Susan's husband Jim McDougal was also in prison despite testifying for Ken Starr, but died suddenly in the minimum security facility after less than a year.] Also pardoned, HUD Secy. Henry Cisneros (who you'll recall got into a spot of trouble with spending tax payer moneys on one of his mistresses). Clinton also pardoned brother Roger (who was doing time for drug charges) and Mike Rich who is living at large in Switzerland for millions in tax evasion (but lucky for him his wife was a big doner to Bill).

5. Jan 20: The Bushes come to town. If they follow the Clinton example, within the week we can expect the White House travel office to be fired en masse and replaced by Texas cronies.

6. Jan 26: In an effort to save the US economy from the imminent recession which was caused by GW Bush even before he assumed office, the patriotic outgoing Clinton Staffers stold office supplies, glued shut desk drawers, stripped Air Force One's china and vandalized the White House and Executive Office Building phones and computers - all in a valient attempt to slow the Bush team's efforts to destroy the Clinton Economic miracle.

7. Jan 26: Seattle Times Headline, "Reluctant Greenspan endorses tax cuts"

"In surprisingly forthright language, Greenspan said the economy, which roared along at better then 4% for most of the 90's, is probably not growing at all right now, and may be tottering on outright recession ... He endorsed the kind of substantial tax cuts proposed by President Bush ..."
Ed: We are not sure why the headline says "Reluctant", then the article says Greenspan was "surprisingly forthright". But in any case, it is clear that Mr. Greenspan believes that Bush is causing a recession, and since he is not as clever as Clinton, he should not try to improve the economy by increasing taxes - as Clinton was able to do - but by the easier method of tax cuts which is suitable for simple minded Republicans.

Great Britain;

1. London, Jan 15: Hoping to reduce violent crime, handguns were totally banned for private citizens several years ago throughout the UK. But oddly, crime with other weapons is increasing. Fatal  knifings are rising an average of 20-25% per year in Scotland for the past 3 years. The Tonly Blair led govt. is now considering banning blades longer then 5 inches.  
Ed: Can hammers and pointed sticks be far behind?