- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Straight birdies

When it comes to paying one's fair share of taxes, one has to agree with U.S. Senate candidate Bob Irvin, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 15 years, including six years as House Republican leader.

Mr. Irvin is best known for passing welfare reform and requiring violent felons to serve at least 90 percent of their sentences. He's also a leading fiscal conservative who saw his popularity rise after he forced tax reductions.

Now, with his sights set on Capitol Hill, Mr. Irvin might be a long-awaited answer to overhauling the nation's tax system.

"Our tax system is too complicated and must be replaced," says the candidate, observing that more than half of Americans need help filling out their tax forms.

As for some of the rest?

"The obscure rules and calculations," he says, "have, in the words of Will Rogers, made more liars out of the American people than golf has."

Amazing destruction

While drafting new criminal sanctions to help ensure corporate responsibility, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, summoned a "feisty little" fellow to Capitol Hill.

Government history books remember G. William Miller, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board under President Carter before eventually becoming his Treasury secretary, as "a feisty little guy, with a boyish grin and a broken nose, [who possesses] that spontaneous, optimistic American attitude that trouble is inevitable but everything is possible."

A chairman of the advisory council to President Kennedy's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunities in the early 1960s, the outspoken Mr. Miller, now in his late 70s, sees a parallel threat from the breakdown today in corporate accountability a "domestic threat to our well-being."

"There have been corporate and business crises before," he pointed out but added that this "is an unusual magnitude, not in just the number of companies that have been in trouble, but also the amount of values that have been destroyed."

How much was destroyed?

Not only have the savings and hopes of employees and families of fraudulent companies been affected, but also, Mr. Miller told a surprised Mr. Biden, "the loss of capital value since Enron announced bankruptcy exceed the gross national product of any country in the world other than the United States."

Fictitious vote

Proposed legislation by Democratic House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, to grant permanent residency status to millions of illegal immigrants is "blatant political pandering of the highest level."

"As a legal immigrant from Chile, I am embarrassed and ashamed of our so-called political leaders' constant battling to win over the 'Hispanic vote.' As a Hispanic, I am here to tell you there is no such thing," U.S. English Chairman and CEO Mauro E. Mujica said yesterday.

"Why then are Democrats and Republicans falling all over themselves to win the accolades of illegal Mexican workers, instead of working equally hard for the votes of legal citizens everywhere?" he asks.

Mr. Mujica says losers in the two-party bidding war for special-interest Hispanic votes are immigrants who "played by the rules and don't jump the queue," not to mention "everyday law-abiding citizens who don't believe in rewarding scofflaws with citizenship."

He says the latest proposal by Mr. Gephardt "will only evoke animosity among those immigrants who played by the rules to live here legally or to become naturalized Americans."

Dating his cell

By the sound of the dinner conversation, the national TV show "Blind Date" did not set up the expected Washington "clash of political ideals" theme when it staged an episode Sunday night at the trendy Stardust Restaurant & Lounge in Old Town Alexandria.

"Everyone thought that the young woman was flawless and a complete delight," says Stardust co-owner Avery Kincaid.

As for the guy?

"Her date was spotted on his cell phone a kazillion times. At one point, and I'm not making this up, he was seen talking on two cell phones at once. Their waiter for the evening told me the 'Blind Date' crew had to ask the guy to turn off his phone while taping the segment. Jeepers. What's up with that?"

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