SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
October 2002

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

Disclaimer: The editor speaks only for himself, and sometimes even he is wrong.


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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,
"What Stimulus does the economy need?"

During the Clinton "boom" the former editor of this Rag did his utmost to explain that the economic growth was being fueled by govt spending controls and tax cuts installed during the Rep. takeover in 1994, and by cutbacks in defense spedning that would have to be paid back. The Dot COM boom, born in 1994 becuase of the invention of the Web by a CERN physicist, also helped. The burst of all that can be tracked to the day when Judge Penfield Jackson found against MSoft  in the anti-trust trial. Money flowed out of the NASDAQ faster then crap out a US tourist in Mexico.

This was the trigger and a small amount of fuel. 9/11 was a can of gasoline. And now, there are plots afoot to reverse the Bush tax cuts to pay for the wars(s) on terrorism.

Americans need go no further back then 1980-1988 to learn the night and day difference between liberal and conservative policies and the results - stagflation vs prospertity. As counter intuitive as it sounds, this is the time for tax cuts, particulalry Cap Gains and income. The result will be - as it was in 1983-84, a drop in rates that resulted in a doubling in real dollars in both govt revenue and GNP.

It is a testiment to the redefining of history by the major media that groups like the one in this month's Guest Editorial have to rediscover this.

On Elections;
When will Americans stop believing this pap? Every election cycle, liberal adds always say that republicans pass tax breaks for large corporations, the rich, etc. And then they whine that tax breaks should be for the working poor. Well, guess what - the poor don't pay squat in taxes. You cannot give a break on something that a person never paid in the first place. Examine the following (

in 2000 dollars, the
top 1% made over $313,000 and paid 37% of all Federal Income Taxes
top 5% made $128K, and paid 56% of all Federal Income Taxes
top 10% made $92K, and paid 67%
top 25% made $55K, and paid 84%
top 50% made over $27K, and paid 96% of the total income tax

Guest Editorial:

October 16, 2002

Rethinking Economic Policy

Although Democrats have yet to unveil their economic plan, their discussions of economic stimulus typically revert back to self-serving Kenyesian notions of boosting demand through increased spending.

By:  Wayne T. Brough, Ph.D.

Economic policy moved to the fore last week as Democrats accused the Bush administration of mismanaging the economy. With elections less than a month away, both parties are trying to distinguish themselves with a domestic agenda that addresses the weakened economy. The renewed emphasis on economic policy is a welcome addition to the political debates that hopefully will spark a serious discussion about economic growth. Moving beyond election year sloganeering and political accusations, policymakers must address the fundamentals—simplifying the tax code and removing government impediments to economic growth.

Although Democrats have yet to unveil their economic plan, their discussions of economic stimulus typically revert back to self-serving Kenyesian notions of boosting demand through increased spending. Injecting more cash into the economy is viewed as a means of priming the pump and keeping the engines of production humming. This, in turn, keeps workers employed, who then spend their paychecks, which boosts demand for goods and services. Government spending is viewed as the quickest way to boost demand; tax cuts are not considered the best policy because taxpayers are viewed with suspicion—there is no guarantee that they will spend enough money if they receive a tax break.

While it is true that government will never be accused of this reluctance to spend money, advances in economic theory suggest that policies that focus exclusively on increasing demand while ignoring supply may not be the best route to a stronger economy. In fact, recent research by Professor Alberto Alesina of Harvard University and his colleagues suggests that traditional Keynesian remedies, in fact, may be detrimental to economic growth. Specifically, their study, published in the American Economic Review, finds that economic growth slowed during times when government grew and increased as government was pared back. Looking at economic activity across a number of nations, the authors find, “The fiscal stabilizations that have led to an increase in growth consist mainly of spending cuts, particularly in government wages and transfers, while those associated with a downturn in the economy are characterized by tax increases.”

Ignoring such data on economic activity and the importance of supply-side considerations, Congress has been on a yearlong spending spree, with handouts to everybody from airlines to farmers. If Daschle and the Democrats stick to their Keynesian guns, this years $153 billion increase in outlays, with increases in discretionary spending alone of more than $84 billion should be an ample injection of government spending. If they want to spend more because this is not the right kind of spending, they should explain to the voters  why they steadfastly have spent taxpayer dollars on the wrong priorities.

Economic reform in the House, meanwhile, simply adds layers to the onion. Rather than tackle fundamental reform of the tax code, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) is offering a mix of investor-friendly changes to the code and an extension of unemployment benefits. While Thomas is correct to focus on the detrimental impacts of taxing savings, the modest reforms are stop-gap measures at best. The United States tax code has a clear bias against savings and has become one of the most inefficient and expensive tax codes in the developed world.

Real economic reform must focus on stimulating both demand and supply. This requires a top-to-bottom reform of the sclerotic tax code and a careful review of government policies that may pose barriers to economic growth. A simpler tax code with a greater degree of certainty is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity in a world where capital is mobile and other nations have aggressively reformed their tax codes to encourage investment. Without reform, American businesses and workers will feel the pinch of global competition.

Looking beyond the tax code, a number of regulatory barriers continue to thwart the business community’s efforts to climb out of the economic slump. Archaic technology policies continue to stifle the expansion of broadband connections, and federal interventions into merger decisions hamper the development of new innovations and business models. Energy policies continue to stifle the development of domestic energy resources and Congress continues to pursue federal mandates on fuel and energy sources that do more to shore up monopolies than to help consumers or promote efficient energy use. All told, American consumers face a regulatory burden of more than $800 billion annually.

Fortunately, there is promising talk of reform. Treasury Secretary O’Neill has called the tax code an “abomination” and has made reform a top priority. A simpler and fairer tax code that eases the burden on taxpayers can have beneficial effects for both demand and supply. A serious push by the administration for fundamental tax reform would be an important step toward a stronger economy. At the same time, the administration needs to take a serious look at regulatory barriers and government policies that are hampering important sectors of our economy. A serious review of agency regulations and competition policy should identify ways to improve the business climate. The current economic malaise has raised fears among Americans that must be addressed, and politicians need to let voters know how they will address the problem—through more government and higher taxes, or through tax reform and more open markets.

For more information visit

                  Citizens for a Sound Economy 1250 H Street NW Suite 700 Washington DC 20005


1. Doug pens.

From: "Douglas E. Wilken" <>
Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2002 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: last call

> > "How can the economy be stimulated?"
> >
> "Stimulated?"  If the @#$# federal politicos
> could grasp the concept that what they do
> politically affects growth rates that would
> help.
> I also think that if the Federal Reserve Bank
> ended the past six straight years of monetary
> deflation that would help a lot.
> Say, how about a rational tax policy?
> A rational trade policy?
> Or, suppose the US Gov't ends this ridiculous
> mercantilistic drive to acquire control over most
> of the world's oil reserves?
> Diminish the "Great Society" structure in
> the federal government?
> Prosecute half of the US Congress for bribery
> and dereliction of duty?  That ought to give hope
> for future investors.  :)
> Don't know about you, but I suspect there are many
> ways on the political end to bring investment hope
> and cheer-- most of them involve making sure the
> value of the dollar remains constant, enforcing
> critical things like contract law, and letting
> people keep more of the fruits of their labor so
> that they can be driven by something which we
> lay-men call "incentive".
> Watching Coleman-Wellstone
> go at it is almost nauseating.  What a pair of
> bozos.
> Cordially,
> Doug Wilken

Quote(s) of the month:

"I thought only white guys were serial killers ..."

-- Georgette Gregory, a black school principal in Ardmore Elementary School in Prince George's County MD, expressing shock that the DC snipers were black.

Fix of the month:

"Professional Baseball - does anyone care anymore?"



1. Tacoma,  Oct 23: In an interesting turn of events, the hunt  for the DC snipers ended up in the backyard of a small house in a poor neighborhood (is there any other kind) in Tacoma. Turns out that a stolen credit card from AZ was used in a Tacoma gas station, which lead investigators to get a video of those perps. The same credit card was demanded by teh DC snipers to be re-activated, hence cops started coming the area to get an ID of the perps in the gas station videos. One turned out to be a former Army recruit from nearby Fort Lewis.


1. Rochester, 20 Oct: The leader of the "free" world was in this sleepy little hamlet on Friday, trying to drum up support for Rep. Norm Coleman to replace D Paul Welstone in the US Senate. The White House is desparate to get back control of the Senate to ease passage of the Bush agenda - whatever that is. Interestingly, Steve told me he was in a meeting in some downtown Mayo buildings and when the Motorcade went by all the outside doors were locked so occupents could not get outside. Makes one wonder what would have happened in teh event of fire.

 Steve also reports that having reached the top of the Siebans building, he was able to smile down on the Govt snipers that were on top of the Kahler Hotel. They were not amused.

2. 26 Oct, Northern part of the state: D. Sen. Paul Welstone, his wife and daughter all died in a plane crash today when the small Beach King twin turboprop that they were in crashed just short of a runway. Ironically, they were heading to a funeral - in the campaign funded charter plane.  This tosses the state Senatorial race into a turmoil, with the not improbable outcome that Welstone will still win posthumously, allowing the lame duck govnr. Jesse Ventura to appoint a new senator in Welstone's place - possibly Ventura himself.


1. Madison, 26 Oct: The state's upcoming hunting season is in doubt with the health uncertainties surrounding the nation's deer herd. Chronic Wasting Disease, while not yet conclusively linked to human brain infection, has had some close correlations. Three men died of neuro-infections after attending a sportsman's deer feast 2 month's ago in the north central part of the state. Many buther shops have declared they will not butcher any deer brought in this year. The effect on the northern part of the state's economy of a low hunter turnout could be significant.

Washington D.C.

1. 8 Oct: If any of you still need proof of the political bent of the mainstream media - consider this. Yesterday, Pres. Bush described the evidence against Iraq and why he intends to go to war with them. ABC, CBS and NBC ran their usual Tuesday night line up (Fear Factor, King of Queens, and Drew Cary). Only Fox among the major networks carried the speech.

2. Oct 18: In a report to Congress, Att. Gen Ashcraft reports on how the US Patriot Act has been used by law enforcement. Cops have an easier time getting Court orders to spy on cable modem users. The FBI can (and has for years, but now its legal) install wiretaps (ie Carnivore) on ISPs that are not in their jurisdiction. Airlines get secure access  to the FBI's suspected terrorist list. ISP owners can get rewards for spying on their customers and turning over any suspects.The bulk of the report to the House Intelligence SubComm was marked "Secret." However, open portions of the act show that: cops will be able to conduct permanent Internet surveillance without a court order, secretly search homes and offices without notifying the owner, and share confidential grand jury info with the FBI, CIA and NSA.
Ed: So you see children, even athiests will have the comfort of knowing that someone is watching over them.

3. OCt 24: The three week shooting spree (10 dead, 3 wounded) around the MD and VA counties surrounding the nation's capitol ended Tues. with the arrests  of John Allan Mohammed (41) and John Lee Malvo (17) a Jamaican. The big break in the case came when the perps left a letter at the scene of a shooting that demanded a Visa card that they had stolen 2 years before be reactivated. The Visa card was stolen from a Grayhound bus driver in AZ, but was used by the perps in Tacoma Wash to buy gas. The gas station's video cameras captured images of the perps as they used the stolen card. When the snipers mentioned the Visa card numbers, law enforcment looked for ATM and gas station surveillance video that are archived when linked to use by thieves. They got video of the snipers, and then commenced to convasse Tacoma neighborhoods with the pictures to get an Indentity.

Interestingly, a survey by the Washington Post shows that most DC area blacks cannot belive the perps were black. "I thought only white guys were serial killers, that's what all the experts and movies say, opined Georgette Gregory, principal of Ardmore Elementary School in Prince George's County - MD.

Net News;

1. Ed: While the following is from the Onion, sadly, I know people like this - and they are not all in the south.

   MOBILE, AL—In terms of time, money, and effort expended, local parent Kelly Sweedlin takes better care of
 her hair and nails than she does her 2-year-old daughter Porcia, the bank teller reported Tuesday.

  "As a single mom, it's sometimes hard to squeeze in my manicures between work and                                          everything else, but I make it a priority," Sweedlin, 26, told her daughter's daycare provider. "If I don't spend
 the time to really take care of them, who will?"

 In spite of all the hard work required to grow a beautiful set of nails, Sweedlin calls it a "labor of
love," adding that nothing is more rewarding than a  relaxing Saturday afternoon spent "just playing" with
 different nail-polish colors and discovering new  things about the array of beauty products available.

"No matter what my friends say, my nails are not the most important thing in my life," said Sweedlin,
as Porcia sat on the floor picking a piece of gum from the bottom of her shoe. "I care about my hair
way more. It's just that nails need more pampering if  you want them to turn out halfway decent."

   To take proper care of her hair, Sweedlin has a regular standing appointment for alternating Tuesdays at the
 Mane Attraction salon, where stylists spend hours radically changing her hairdo from straight to curly, blonde to
 brown, and back again.

   "I have a special bond with my hairdresser that I don't have with anyone else," Sweedlin said. "If anything
 happened to her, like if the salon lost her to another place across town, I wouldn't know what to do."

   Her most recent hairstyle, a shoulder-length cut, has garnered raves.

   "Kelly's hair is soooo darling," said Donna Campbell, owner of Wee Ones Daycare, where Porcia spends up
 to 35 hours each week. "Thick hair is a gift from God. She must be so proud. I told her to enjoy that style while
 she can, because before you know it, a relaxed wave like that is all grown out."

   Porcia spends each morning with her  grandmother, who drops her off at Wee  Ones at 11:30 a.m. The girl remains there  until Sweedlin picks her up between 6 and  7 p.m., depending on whether she takes a
 detour to Walgreens, where a quick stop  can take an hour. While Sweedlin often  complains that money is too tight for new  clothes for Porcia, she does budget funds  for the beauty products she needs to look
 "professional" for work.

   Once the two are home, Porcia plays in  her room, watches TV, or sits on the floor  watching Sweedlin use her array of curling  irons, makeup brushes, and hair-styling  products, which the girl is repeatedly
 warned not to touch.

   "That spray bottle is Mommy's!" Sweedlin  told Porcia. "You can play with the old hair
 dryer, but don't you dare plug it in, hear?"

   Though their apartment lacks Sesame Street or child-rearing magazines, the end tables are covered with
 copies of Glamour and Hair Today. Sweedlin knows nothing about major childhood diseases or car safety
 seats, but the technological advances in cosmetology outlined in these periodicals rarely escape her notice.

   "The new sunless tanning lotions are really great, but they're so expensive," Sweedlin said. "Maybe that
 doctor bill from when Porcia had Noxzema [eczema] can wait another month."

   While Porcia's 24-month checkup is four months overdue, Sweedlin never misses an appointment at the
 Glamorous You day spa, where she regularly undergoes facials, makeovers, and leg-waxing sessions.
 Though she is on a first-name basis with everyone at the spa, she has yet to learn the first names of any of
 Porcia's friends in daycare.

   "There's so many things I want to be doing, but I don't have the time," Sweedlin said. "I should join a gym
 before I get too old."

   Sweedlin has a number of friends, also single mothers, with whom she commiserates over her busy

   "It's important to have someone to trade tips and secrets with," Sweedlin said. "Sometimes my girlfriends
 and I get out the photo albums and spend hours looking at how our fashion sense has changed."

   Continued Sweedlin: "God, there's this one picture. I'm in a hospital bed for some reason—maybe it was
 when Porcia was born—and I have this stringy, straight hair. Ugh! I have no idea why I ever kept that photo."