- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2000

One man's legacy

"I want no part of what I call 'Carville-ism'; that is, the politics of personal destruction that has become so prevalent in the last eight years. I want no part of it."

Sen. Robert F. Bennett, Utah Republican, referring to Clinton adviser James Carville

We want McCain

He wasn't the party favorite to challenge Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, but name a Republican candidate who doesn't want Sen. John McCain stumping on their behalf.

Take tomorrow, for instance, as Mr. McCain, in the space of 48 hours, travels to California to campaign for not one, not two, but five Republican candidates.

Tomorrow evening, we're told, the former presidential candidate is landing at a fund-raising dinner at a private residence in Bel Air for two-term Rep. James E. Rogan, a former California municipal court judge.

Wednesday morning, he joins five-term Rep. Tom Campbell for a news conference in Burlingame. Then it's off to a town-hall meeting in Santa Clara for Republican House candidate Jim Cunneen.

Thursday morning, Mr. McCain wakes up in Torrance, site of another town-hall meeting with freshman Rep. Steven T. Kuykendall. He wraps it up at the side of three-term Rep. Brian P. Bilbray in Rancho Santa Fe.

Undressing Monica

Jeffrey Rosen, the New Republic's legal affairs correspondent and an associate professor at the George Washington University Law School, says you need to be careful where you step on the Internet. Your footprints could come back to haunt you.

In "The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America" (Random House, June 5), Mr. Rosen reveals how one's right to privacy at home, at work, in court and in cyberspace has been undermined by recent legal, technological and cultural challenges.

"E-mail, even after it is deleted, becomes a permanent record that can be resurrected by employers or prosecutors at any point in the future," the author reminds us. "On the Internet, every Web site we visit, every store we browse in, every magazine we skim, and the amount of time we skim it, create electronic footprints that can be traced back to us, revealing detailed patterns about our tastes, preferences, and intimate thoughts."

Just ask one former White House intern.

"Believe it or not, what Monica Lewinsky found the most invasive and intolerable during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, was when prosecutors subpoenaed her bookstore receipts and retrieved deleted e-mail and unsent love letters from her home computer.

"And the sense of violation that Monica Lewinsky experienced is not unique," the author contends.

Hold the confetti

Vice President Al Gore says the Clinton administration is "making so much progress toward paying down the debt, it has just been announced that the debt clock will be unplugged and removed from Times Square this fall."

Not so fast, says the majority staff of the Senate Budget Committee, chaired by Sen. Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican.

"This statement is misleading," says a Budget Bulletin issued by the committee. "The Times Square debt clock records the United States' gross debt, which has been rising steadily since 1969. Under the Clinton-Gore budget, gross debt will keep rising from $5.6 trillion today to $6.8 trillion by 2013, according to the [president's] Office of Management and Budget's own projections."

(It would also rise under Congress' budget plan, the staff acknowledges, although less rapidly).

Yes, the publicly held debt is falling, but the debt held by government trust funds is rising, and rapidly so. Gross debt, the government's long-term unfunded liability, is the sum of both types of debt.

"This debt will ultimately need to be repaid in the future once the baby boomers retire," says the bulletin. "No wonder that the vice president is so pleased that the gross debt clock is coming down, so his accounting shenanigans go unnoticed."

Thou shalt not …

Federal agencies issued 4,684 final rules and regulations in 1999, or so we read in the 2000 edition of "Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Policymaker's Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State."

The cost of these regulations and others, says the report by the nonpartisan Competitive Enterprise Institute Report, is more than $700 billion annually, or over one-third the level of overall budgeted government spending.

Some of the findings:

• 1999's 71,161 Federal Register pages mark the highest page count since Jimmy Carter's presidency, and a 4 percent increase over 1998.

• Agencies have issued more than 23,000 final rules since the Republican takeover of Congress.

• The household regulatory burden works out to $7,400 per family annually.

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