- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2001

For the children
Comedian Paula Poundstone, arrested last week and charged with a felony lewd act on a girl under age 14 and endangering four other children, has contributed large sums of money to the Democratic Party, including $2,300 to Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign.
Surely Mrs. Clinton, an outspoken advocate for children, is saddened by the arrest of Miss Poundstone, who all together has cared for eight adopted and foster children.
"The majority are newborn," Miss Poundstone told the Las Vegas Sun in a February interview. "I'm especially good with them before they can talk. I figure as soon as they can talk, I'm [in trouble]."

Preferred consumer
"Only my mother can have it both ways."
—Rep. Heather A. Wilson, New Mexico Republican, discussing the limited amount of energy that is available in California and what its citizens are using.

Tuning out
Bill Clinton is only partly to blame for Americans' dwindling interest in what transpires in Washington. The fact is, Americans prefer discussing other issues around the dinner table.
Trying to explain why Americans have increasingly alienated themselves from national affairs, former Clinton aide David Gergen describes a "passionless public," one that says to Washington don't mess things up and "don't bother me in my life."
"The public has been extraordinarily disengaged from many of the conversations that have been taking place in Washington, and that follows a pattern we saw … when Clinton was president," Mr. Gergen says.
Which brings us to a paper by Karlyn H. Bowman, American Enterprise Institute resident fellow, who cites several possible explanations for the public's disengagement, including "the Clinton scandals and the 2000 election reinforc[ing] impressions of things they don't like about Washington: corruption, dishonesty, partisan sniping."
Others, she points out, pay a lot more attention to Washington when things aren't going well than they do when things are going smoothly.
And finally, contrary to what we might think here in Washington, most Americans don't follow the ins and outs of complex debates on tax policy, education reform and missile defense.
"Many people in Washington seem to think that Americans spend their evenings talking to their families and neighbors about these things. They don't."

More or less
Congress, if not the public, will be interested to read that commonly held beliefs on the minimum wage are wrong. Or so concludes two just released studies by the Employment Policies Institute.
Proponents of wage increases, says the EPI, have long argued that, 1) higher minimum wages reduce poverty, and 2) they do so at relatively little cost since most costs are borne by the employer. But new research from Stanford University and Ohio University strongly debunk these popular myths, it says.
Using U.S. poverty data dating back to 1953, Ohio economists Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway studied whether the minimum wage was effective in lowering the poverty rate. The conclusion:
"We observed no statistically significant relationship between the real minimum wage and [the] poverty level," say the economists.
So, they checked it again, looking this time at the poverty rate for females and males, old and young, whites, blacks and Hispanics, as separate groups.
In all cases, no reduction of poverty attributable to the mandated wage increase was found.
But most intriguing of all, a correlation was found between minimum-wage increases and poverty among "the poorest of the poor." In a majority of those cases, a minimum-wage boost actually increased poverty.

Pay not to play
Congress wants Americans to think twice before gambling on college sports.
Legislation has been introduced on Capitol Hill to curb gambling on amateur athletics, after the National Gambling Impact Study Commission found such betting can serve "as a gateway behavior for adolescent gamblers and can devastate individuals and careers."
In its final report, the commission cited a study that found more than 45 percent of male collegiate football and basketball athletes admitted to betting on sporting events, while 5 percent placed bets on a game in which they participated, or actually accepted money for performing poorly in a game.

Two seconds' worth
"Also this week, the World Bank protester circus is coming to town. But … even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day."
—Washington-based America's Future Foundation, leaving open the possibility that the destructive bunch of World Bank protesters isn't totally out of synch.

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