- The Washington Times - Friday, December 30, 2005

Finally, fiscal conservatives

It’s great to read about a real Republican like Indiana Rep. Mike Pence (“Pence sense,” Commentary, yesterday). Not that anyone could really believe what former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said about declaring victory over spending, but Mr. Pence proved him wrong by cutting an additional $102 million from the “baseline” budget, which should be music to every Republican’s ears.

With tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina and the expense of homeland security and rebuilding a democratic Iraq, it is understandable that federal spending has gotten a little high. Those expenses need to be kept in check by other budget cuts, just like “operation offset.” Big-government Republicanism should go the way of the dinosaur — massive defecits and all.

Perhaps if Republicans such as Mr. Pence prevail in the quest for a more reasonable budget, Congress can shed some of the stigmas — special interests and lobbyists such as Jack Abramoff — that have surrounded it. (Less money being spent means less money for lobbysists to pursue.) After all, Americans just want to know that the federal government is spending our money as prudently as we would. It seems Mr. Pence and his band have figured that out.

A $300 billion deficit may be sustainable for a very short while, but for the long term, it hampers economic growth. Not to mention that an unchecked deficit encourages more spending, or at least so it seems. It’s encouraging to see that Republicans who value “principles of lower taxes, limited government, a strong defense, and a fierce dedication to moral authority” have a voice in Congress.



A winning team effort

The end of Monday Night Football on ABC represents a unique loss for Redskins fans everywhere (“Lights go out on ‘Monday Night’ ” Sports, Tuesday). Surely, no team has produced more thrills in the history of Monday Night Football than Washington.

Perhaps most memorable were the legendary rivalry games with Dallas — including 1973, when Sonny Jurgensen hit Charley Taylor for one touchdown, Brig Owens returned an interception for another, and Ken Houston stopped the Cowboys’ Walt Garrison at the goal line to preserve a 14-7 win.

Then there was 1978, when Joe Theismann gave up a safety on the final play to seal a 9-5 win. And 1980, when the Redskins’ season and Jack Pardee’s tenure as head coach effectively ended on opening night after the team failed to avenge a controversial 1979 season-ending 35-34 loss to Roger Staubach and company that had cost them the division title.

And 1983, when Darrell Green ran down Tony Dorsett and Charlie Brown tore through the Dallas secondary for a 41-yard touchdown to give Washington a 23-3 lead before Tom Landry’s Cowboys came back to win, 31-30. And once again this year, when Washington rallied with two long passes from Mark Brunell to Santana Moss in the final seconds to defeat their archrivals 14-13, en route to a rare series sweep of the Cowboys.

There also were the heartbreakers, such as the Redskins’ 20-17 loss to Denver in 1980; the breathtaking 48-47 shootout loss to Green Bay in 1983; and Theismann leading a furious rally against Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and the eventual world champion San Francisco 49ers in 1984 that fell just short, 37-31.

Then there were the great moments, such as tiny Virgil Seay leading a high-flying Fun Bunch celebratory leap after catching a scoring pass against the San Diego Chargers in a 1983 game that the Redskins won, 27-24, on a Jeff Hayes 48-yard run from punt formation and a late Mark Moseley field goal. Or Brad Johnson passing for a club-record 471 yards as Washington rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat San Francisco in overtime, 26-20, and claim the Eastern Conference crown.

Finally, there was the Redskins’ all-time emotional roller-coaster game against the New York Giants in 1985. Theismann suffered a gruesome career-ending leg injury on a flea-flicker, but backup Jay Schroeder and tight end Clint Didier rallied Washington to victory against all odds, 23-21.

Monday night, the Washington Redskins and ABC? Since the 1970s, there has been no surer recipe for giving the nation’s football fans an evening they would never forget.



Agreement doesn’t prove bias

Patrick Michaels asserts that if thousands of scientists, working independently or in small groups, essentially agree on something, such as that the Earth is warming, it proves they are biased (“Proving science bias,” Commentary, Thursday). He further believes that future research has an equal probability of predicting a higher or lower average temperature for 2055. These are extraordinary statements — and untrue.

Mr. Michaels attempts to “score” the research presented at the recent American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, which assembled thousands of climate scientists (and many others, too), by listing 15 news stories he found in one day on a Google search. (In fact, he would have found dozens of additional stories, published in hundreds of media, had he checked at the end of our five-day meeting.) And yes, overwhelmingly, the research concludes that Earth is warming, accelerated by human inputs. This consistency tends to validate the research rather than prove it is biased.

Also, scientific research is not like a coin toss, as Mr. Michaels would have us believe, and results are not based on chance, but on observation and informed inference. There is simply no reason to assume that half of all future research will predict a much higher global average temperature for 2055 and that the other half will predict a slightly smaller increase. The important point is that scientists have little doubt that 2055 will be significantly warmer than 2006. That is not a 50-50 guess, but rather as close to 100 percent scientific certainty as one can get.


Public information manager

American Geophysical Union


Trade law benefits selectively, harms substantially

The Wednesday letter “An effective trade law facing its end” presents an illogical attack on the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC), which I represent, calling it “anti-American” but ignoring the serious shortcomings of the Byrd amendment. The amendment (officially the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act) provided money to a tiny number of U.S. corporations, but there is no evidence that it increased employment in those companies. However, it certainly reduced employment in other U.S. companies, including manufacturers. Thus, it did more harm than good for American companies and their workers, making it a bad deal for the country.

The Byrd amendment’s repeal does not affect the anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws, which impose duties on imports considered to be “dumped” or subsidized. Those laws will continue to protect domestic producers. The increased prices about which the letter complains will still impact consumers in the United States. The money will simply go to the federal Treasury rather than into the pockets of a lucky few.

Byrd amendment repeal is not a “class” issue, but a fairness issue. American consuming industries, which employ millions of workers, must compete with international rivals every day. They should not pay to subsidize manufacturers that supported an anti-dumping or countervailing duty petition filed many years ago, especially when that money does not go to increase the competitiveness of U.S. companies. The continuation of the Byrd amendment also goes to support continued retaliation against U.S. exporters to Canada, Mexico, the European Union and Japan, which hurts additional American companies and workers.

Nothing in the letter diminishes these realities. The Byrd amendment was bad policy, a violation of international rules, and its repeal helps many more Americans than it hurts. It is time for it to go.


Hogan & Hartson LLP


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