- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why not celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s historic Economic Tax Recovery Act, signed Aug. 13, 1981? Yes, why not? That’s the idea at Young America’s Foundation, which will assemble a noteworthy crowd of conservative students and grassroots luminaries Tuesday at the former president’s ranch outside Santa Barbara, Calif. — the very same spot where he signed the document on a hazy summer afternoon, seated on a wicker chair, comfortable in cowboy boots and denim, and grinning at the press.

The act was meant, a Government Printing Office summary at the time stated, “to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 to encourage economic growth through reductions in individual income tax rates, the expensing of depreciable property, incentives for small businesses, and incentives for savings, and for other purposes.”

Reagan noted that the only thing that would have given long-suffering American taxpayers more relief than the 1981 tax cuts would be “sending the Internal Revenue Service on a permanent holiday.” Those cuts — which ultimately emerged as the largest in U.S. history — ushered in an extended period of peacetime economic growth.

And to celebrate all of this? There’s a ranch barbecue planned, with a distinct side dish. The event will focus on IRS targeting of certain conservative organizations, a matter that has yet to be resolved, plus the oft pushy interference of the federal government in these times. On hand to parse the situation: American Center for Law and Justice Executive Director Jordan Sekulow, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, and Linchpins of Liberty President Kevin Kookogey.

“Three decades after Ronald Reagan signed the historic 1981 Recovery Act, the ever-expanding role of the federal government continues to infringe upon the liberty of the people it governs,” said Andrew Coffin, director of the Reagan Ranch. “This event will highlight what President Reagan knew: ‘Government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem.’”

SLOW NEWS DAY

“We have ‘news.’ The pool got a rare glimpse of the president’s golf game in action: At 12:15, we were led to a wooded area on the first hole, about 150 yards from the hole,” dutifully reported Kathleen Hennessy, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who supplied the Sunday afternoon “pool” report of President Obama’s summer vacation, Day One.

“The pool saw Obama, wearing white shirt and khaki shorts, approach his ball and chip it up on the green, overshooting by about 15 feet. His first putt was a miss, which Obama reacted to by leaning back and kicking his knee up, as if trying to coax the ball into breaking right. He let out a little, ‘Ooooh,’ as it happened. Next one missed, too. Last one he just dragged in the hole. Pool could see what looked like a little light banter and ribbing among the group, but could not hear,” Ms. Hennessy concluded.

The round was, incidentally, the 134th time Mr. Obama has played golf, this according to a count by CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.

AND WHERE’S JOE?

Well, no one was minding the store over the weekend. That’s for sure.

“Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have hit the Hamptons. The couple are believed to be staying through the weekend at the home of Internet pioneer and gay and transgender rights activist David Bohnett — a longtime friend of the Bidens whom they visit every summer — on First Neck Lane in Southampton,” reports ever-observant Cindy Adams, of the New York Post.

“The Bidens surprised residents by strolling around Main Street yesterday and stopping for lunch at popular spot 75 Main. A witness said the VP had a burger and fries with a Diet Coke and Jill had lobster salad and a glass of chardonnay.”

‘OLD KGB COLONEL’

President Obama’s recent observation that Russian President Vladimir Putin was like a “bored” school kid elicited a warning from Sen. John McCain, even as the pair of world leaders continue their strategic standoff.

“The president comparing him to a kid in the back of the classroom, I think, is very indicative of the president’s lack of appreciation of who Vladimir Putin is. He’s an old KGB colonel who has no illusions about our relationship, does not care about a relationship with the United States, continues to oppress his people, continues to oppress the media and continues to act in an autocratic and unhelpful fashion,” the Arizona Republican told “Fox News Sunday” in the aftermath.

FAIR FARE

Behold, the cuisine that even New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg can’t regulate. Why, it’s the midway menus of the nation’s state fairs. A sampling of what’s out there, in all their fatty glory:

Chicken fried bacon, deep fried banana split, fried Coke (Texas State Fair); pork chop on a stick, maple bacon sundae (California State Fair); deep fried brownie on a stick, bratwurst pretzel, cajun cheese curds (Iowa State Fair); chicken parfait, Kool Aid pickles, blueberry popcorn (Alaska State Fair); maple cotton candy, deep fried macaroni, donut burger, donut hot dog (New York State Fair).

THE PRACTICAL TRUMP

Get real, Republicans. Or you could all be fired. That was Donald Trump’s advice to the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, over the weekend, an event peopled by Sen. Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum, among many others. The billionaire has distinct impressions of the 2016 presidential derby.

“It’s going to be, in my opinion, a tougher race than the last race. Really tough. And somebody’s going to have to emerge who’s really strong,” he told the enthusiastic crowd. “The Republicans have to do what’s right. If they don’t pick the right person — it’s got to be the perfect person — they are going to get drubbed in the 2016 election.”

Mr. Cruz and Mr. Santorum were likely listening intently at that point. Mr. Trump also advised the GOP to approach immigration reform with caution and to be mindful of Hispanic voters. “They’re just going to be voting Democratic. That’s just the way it is,” he said. “Do what’s right, but be very careful, because it could be a death wish for the Republican Party.”

POLL DU JOUR

76 percent of Americans say that the nation’s news organizations “tend to favor one side” of opinion; 81 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats agree.

67 percent overall say the news is inaccurate; 75 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

65 percent overall say the press focuses on unimportant stories; 73 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats agree.

58 percent overall say news organizations are politically biased in their reporting; 65 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

59 percent overall say the press “doesn’t care about the people they report on”; 66 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

35 percent say the press “hurts democracy”; 46 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of 1,480 U.S. adults conducted July 17-31 and released Friday.

Pitter patter of applause, admonitions, cautionary tales to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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