- The Washington Times - Monday, July 23, 2007


The Forgotten Man

What a wonderful column Suzanne Fields wrote about “The Forgotten Man,” my new history of the Great Depression (“The ‘forgotten man,’ ” Op-Ed, Thursday). One thing: I am not a trained economist from a graduate school, as suggested, but rather a journalist who developed an interest in history.

These days our culture tends to license only economists to write about economics, but a lot of economics is common sense. Franklin D. Roosevelt himself didn’t like too much math in the conversation. He preferred political economy, an older discipline in which philosophy, history and politics all went together when you talked about the economy. The common-sense reality of the Depression, from Herbert Hoover to Roosevelt, was that the government intervened too much and had too little faith in markets.


Senior fellow in economic history

Council on Foreign Relations

New York

Drug-war successes

Les Francis, a former member of the drug czar’s office under the Democrats — which, in the first three years of the Clinton administration was so ineffective that youth drug use in America virtually doubled — accuses the Bush administration of losing the war on drugs in his Saturday letter to the editor, “Losing momentum in the war on drugs.” Such chutzpah.

The truth is that the Clinton Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) refused to acknowledge or promote a random student drug testing (RSDT) policy. The Bush administration has reversed that position under drug czar John Walters’ leadership. This has resulted in the significant and sustained reduction of student drug use by as much as 25 percent during the past six years. President Bush has openly advocated RSDT, saying in his 2004 State of the Union address, “Drug testing in our schools has proven to be an effective tool to save children’s lives. The aim here is not to punish children but to send them this message: We love you and we do not want to lose you.”

This has resulted in a more balanced approach to drug policy by expanding drug prevention along with drug interdiction, both of which the Clinton ONDCP seriously subverted by its destructive reduction of the drug czar’s office by nearly 75 percent when Mr. Clinton first took office. The administration only restaffed that office and hired Gen. Barry McCaffrey after school drug-use rates had skyrocketed under their leadership.

We parents who are suffering enormous harm from the prevalence of drug use among our children in the nation’s schools that have not yet begun to use RSDT applaud the Bush administration’s major contributions to the nation’s war on drugs. We regret such destructive political sniping as seen in that letter from Democratic activist and ineffective former ONDCP bureaucrat Les Francis.



National Institute of Citizen

Anti-drug Policy

Great Falls

Real patent protection

It is not in our national interest to short-circuit the U.S. patent system by using regulation of foreign trade to resolve patent infringement disputes between domestic companies. We come to this conclusion out of the same respect for protection of intellectual property that motivated your defense of the International Trade Commission’s ban on importation of cellular phones containing chips made by Qualcomm (“Patent protection,” Editorial, Tuesday).

Our principal objection to this ban is the massive collateral damage it will inflict on innocent third parties. In an economic analysis that we submitted on behalf of Qualcomm to the U.S. Trade Representative, we estimated that the ban will cause several billion dollars in harm to American consumers and firms. As an example, dozens of next-generation phones in the current pipeline of AT&T;, Sprint-Nextel and other cellular carriers will be conspicuously missing from store shelves this coming holiday season.

Your claim that rejection of the ban would hurt U.S. international competitiveness fails to recognize how it will undercut the contributions that a vibrant and competitive mobile wireless industry makes to economic growth and broadband penetration. By hindering progress on these fronts, the ban will put a dent in U.S. productivity growth, a key factor in our international competitiveness.

Some trading partners will portray a presidential veto as proof of a double standard on patent enforcement. However, if we succumb to their rhetoric, we shoot ourselves in the foot to prove we are tough on trade. How different is such a demonstration from China’s recent execution of the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration to convince the world it is serious about unsafe exports?

The U.S. vigorously enforces patent rights in the federal courts, not in regulatory agencies. Patent law seeks to avoid collateral damage by confining remedies to transactions between the disputants. Should a Santa Ana, Calif., court come to the same conclusion as the ITC regarding infringement of Broadcom’s power-saving patent, the company will receive monetary damages, injunctive relief or both, leading us to infer that it is using the ITC to do an end run around the patent system.

The Bush administration should reject the ITC’s ban and let Broadcom have its rightful opportunity to receive fair compensation from Qualcomm in federal court without holding our national prosperity and international competitiveness at ransom.


Recipient of 2000 Nobel Prize

in Economics


University of California




Executive director

Center for Research on

Telecommunications Policy

University of California


Dogfighting is an abomination

The gathering mountain of evidence against Michael Vick (“Vick indicted for dogfighting,” Sports, Wednesday) for his role in running a barbaric dogfighting ring and the slaughter of several dogs should sound alarm bells for officials. There is a close correlation between people who abuse animals and people who abuse other people.

If convicted, Vick should serve the full six-year sentence; his property where this barbarism took place should be seized, his $130 million contract with the National Football League should be rescinded, and he should be banned from the NFL for life.

The scourge of dogfighting could be ended tomorrow with a few simple laws, penalties and programs:

Make dogfighting in any capacity — whether it’s organizing, promoting or attending a dogfight — a felony with a 10-year minimum sentence with no possibility of parole.

Any property involved in dogfighting should be seized and forfeited.

Any illegal aliens involved in dogfighting should be deported immediately and banned from the United States for life.

The possession of any dogfighting manuals or fighting paraphernalia or Internet transmission of any material promoting dogfighting should carry penalties.

Fund a program to educate children that dogfighting is not a “sport” but a sick form of animal abuse carried out by sociopaths who have no place in civilized society.


Albany, N.Y.

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