Notable Quotables - 04/13/1992


Anti-Tax Activists: Grow Up

"During the darkest days of the tax battle, did you have the urge to tell the state residents `Oh, grow up?'"
- Time reporter David Ellis interviewing Connecticut's tax-hiking Governor Lowell Weicker, April 13 issue.

"Americans tend not to be too enthusiastic about having their taxes raised again....But if the American people aren't going to accept it, if the politicians don't have the courage to raise taxes, what are we facing down the road?"
- Judy Woodruff interviewing Paul Samuelson, March 10 MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.


Washington Post Magazine: Confiscate All Money From the Rich

"It's indecent, during a recession, for ballplayers to make a million dollars a man while the people in the stands, or watching on TV, can't pay the mortgage. Of course it's indecent. Welcome to capitalism, the best little economic whorehouse on earth. The rich squeeze the rest of us until our screaming gets loud enough to make them step back from the trough for a couple of years. What is the deficit except 10 years of checks written by the rich on the bank accounts of everyone else?"
- Washington Post sports writer Tom Boswell in a March 22 Washington Post Magazine profile of Baltimore Orioles star Cal Ripken.

"Raise the income tax on the mammoth salaries. That way, every time the honchos got a huge raise, so would We, The People....How about if we return to what the maximum tax rate was back in the good old days....back when America was riding high, an industrial colossus second to none. How about returning to 1962, when the tax rate on income exceeding $200,000 ($900,000 in today's dollars) was 91 percent? Think about it. Not only would it bring some money into the bankrupt federal government, but it would provide us low-level peons with the amusing spectacle of CEOs weeping and wailing like toddlers denied a candy bar."
- Washington Post Magazine writer Peter Carlson's cover story on executive pay, April 5.


Today's Probing Questions

"You've charged that the Speaker sat on the report for ten months linking drug sales to the [House] post office. Yet he says he immediately called in postal inspectors. Postal inspectors did come in and there are indictments pending against the employees. So isn't this a cheap shot?....Congressman, many believe that you're using this whole incident to lob partisan grenades and stir up trouble."
- Today co-host Katie Couric's questions to Newt Gingrich, March 16.

"By your own calculations, during the period in question, you wrote 407 checks totaling over $129,000. Of those 407, how many were overdrawn?"
- Bryant Gumbel mistaking Rep. Duncan Hunter's 407 overdrafts with all his checks, same day.

Totenberg: Who Cares About the House Bank?

"I think that this has become a metaphor for the distemper of the country. It has no merit as a really good scandal. There's no public money involved....It was a lousily run bank and that's stupid and probably someone should pay for that, but it's not major."
- Nina Totenberg on Inside Washington, March 14.


Iraq War: Not Enough Americans Died

"Greenpeace, the public interest organization, believes that the Iraqi death toll, civilian and military, before and after the war, may be as high as 198,000. Allied military dead are counted in the low hundreds. The disparity is huge and somewhat embarrassing. And that's commentary for this evening, Tom."
- NBC commentator John Chancellor, March 12 Nightly News.


NEA vs. Unprincipled Conservatives

"But ask your favorite business person if .0003 percent of a budget is unacceptable waste, as conservatives now claim. Then, you might productively ask why the United States is in such calamitous financial condition after 12 years of conservative economic theory."

"...The conservative assault has been directed almost exclusively at grants to artists whose work incorporates gay and feminist subject matter. The real tradition now being preyed upon and restored is the creaky old American stereotype of the arts as unproductive, unmanly, and the sentimental preserve of women. The objection to government funding of the arts is really about who gets federal money. Conservatives might crow about their unshakable commitment to principle, but their grandiloquent NEA-bashing demonstrates how unprincipled conservatism really is."
- L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight, March 18.


The Regressive Flat Tax...

"His most innovative proposal - a 13 percent flat tax coupled with a 13 percent value-added tax - is in its way reminiscent of Reaganomics, beguiling on the surface save for the awkward problem that the numbers do not add up. Liberal critics persuasively claim that Brown's regressive plan would raise the tax burden of lower-income Americans while cutting it in half for those who earn more than $567,000."
- Time Associate Editor Walter Shapiro, April 6.

"I know one of the cornerstones of your campaign has been sort of `throw the bums out,' the whole system is corrupt - but another one has been this 13 percent flat tax. Almost every credible economist has called this proposal regressive, that it's really going to hurt the poor. How can you support that?"
- Today co-host Katie Couric interviewing Jerry Brown, March 25.



"Under a flat tax, if Smith earns five times as much as Jones, Smith still pays five times as much in taxes. What he doesn't do is pay proportionately more. The flat tax, in other words, is not, strictly speaking, regressive. (A regressive tax would be a lump sum, such as Margaret Thatcher's dreaded poll tax.) A flat tax just isn't actively progressive."
- Hudson Institute economist Alan Reynolds in The New Republic, April 20 issue.


Fondly Remembering Rudman's Liberal Side

"There's something else about Rudman that I think we should mention. Mara [Liasson of NPR] talked about what a valuable member he is. He is part of that shrinking group of progressive Republicans on Capitol Hill who play a very critical role. And one of the things I've always valued about Warren Rudman: He was willing to stand up to the White House on issues like civil rights when it was out of fashion in his own party."
- U.S. News & World Report Senior Writer Steven Roberts on C-SPAN's Journalists' Roundtable, March 27.


Cutting Pork Isn't Serious, Raising Taxes Is

"This year the federal budget is about $1.5 trillion. If you took all 68 of the projects President Bush does not like, the total savings would be $4 billion; $4 billion is three-tenths of one percent of this year's federal budget. That's all, three-tenths of one percent. The point is: the economic significance of this debate is next to nil....Which means if you take a serious proposal that really goes after the deficit - Tsongas had one, a ten-cent gasoline tax. A ten-cent gasoline tax would cut the deficit by the equivalent of 90,000 pigs worth of savings."
- CBS This Morning economics reporter Robert Krulwich, March 24.


Rather Rants

"And, Eye On America - a town fighting back against greed, corporate raiders, and the hangover of the go-go '80s."
- Dan Rather, March 19 CBS Evening News.


- L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Brant Clifton, Nicholas Damask, Steve Kaminski, Marian Kelley, Tim Lamer; Media Analysts
- Jennifer Hardebeck; Circulation Manager