SeaViews: Insights from the Gray
(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News
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
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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
Part Two: When was the last time that the incumbent
presidential party was voted out of office during a good
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:
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
"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
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.
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, www.theonion.com
from it, the following represents a pretty accurate
summation of Liberal media viewpoints on the new
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
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
situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a
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,
would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even
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
losing 4.4 percent of its total value between 3 p.m. and the
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
his campaign promise to open the 1.5 million acre refuge's
coastal plain to oil drilling. As a sign of his commitment
bringing about a change in the environment, he pointed to
his choice of Gale Norton for Secretary of the Interior.
Bush noted, has "extensive experience" fighting
environmental causes, working as a lobbyist for lead-paint
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
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
"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
"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
fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his
regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once
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
"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,
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
of enfranchisement, and ever since Election Day, he has
fought tirelessly to make sure it never happens to my
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
nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the
wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must
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 <email@example.com>
To: LANGER STEVEN C <sglanger@Oakland.edu>
> "Part One: Does the Fed Govt play a role in the
They scrape 2 trillion off of a 9 trillion dollar
economy, but it is mostly
They certainly THINK they SHOULD have a "role" in the
economy. I think the
Gumint exercises about as much influence over the economy as
over her teenage kids (i.e. varying wildly, but averaging
> Part Two: When was the last time that the incumbant
> party was voted out of office during a good
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
megawatts of electricity over 25 nautical miles to the
Californians paying exorbitant rates. :-)
2. Doug WIlken writes;
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 19:31:12 -0600 (CST)
From: Doug Wilken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: steve langer <email@example.com>
Cc: Doug Wilken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: 1st response in many moons
>Does the Fed Govt play a role in the national
Sure, some of it even by design. :)
Tax policy. Monetary policy. Wealth
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,
Virginia. The Fed Govt DOES have a role in the
economy. Don't have time to provide you with
essays on each sub topic.
>When was the last time that the incumbant
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
about a tie as well.
Congratulate me. I survived sitting across from
Scripter all during the Florida "recounts". On the
hand you should have seen my reaction when Paul
decided that he needs to break his campaign promise and
run for a third term in the senate. The man is a
poly-sci prof gone bad.
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
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
In which the editor reports the news using the
logic evinced by the departing President and the
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
3. Jan. 18, Seattle: Local dot coms such as Amazon and
Grocer.com 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,
MSN.com 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.
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
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
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.
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