- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 14, 2008

Presidential Superman needed

Soon after assuming office in January 1993, President Clinton sought to address the growing annual federal budget deficit. My preferred solution would have been to slash wasteful federal spending first. President Clinton chose instead to hike the federal income tax rate, taxes on Social Security recipients and to impose broad taxes on various forms of energy.

Like many Americans, I felt at the time that the Clinton deficit-reduction plan was wrong for America, and that it would be an impediment to economic growth. I stand corrected.

Who could have known on Inauguration Day 2001 that it would not be Democratic President Clinton, but his purportedly Republican successor, George W. Bush, who would bring the economy to the verge of collapse - one in which job creation has ceased, the cost of gasoline is beyond the ability of many families to meet, and inflation is soaring out of control for a host of staple goods and services?

When the Oval Office was turned over to “W,” there was a budget surplus, and the deficit was on a path to paring, and gasoline commanded less than $1.50 per gallon.



Today, the national debt is closing in on $10 trillion (versus less than $6 trillion when President Bush took office). Reckless spending, including the imposition of a vast new entitlement, has been inflicted on the nation by a self-described “compassionate conservative.”

The soaring cost of gasoline, now heading toward $5 per gallon, is rippling through virtually every facet of the economy, savaging an airline industry that was just beginning to emerge from the devastation of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, making it impossible for volunteers to continue providing service to beloved charitable organizations, and forcing the majority who live from paycheck to paycheck to determine how they will diminish their standard of living.

The extent of George W. Bush’s “energy policy” has been little more than stating (as his 2006 State of the Union Address did) what was already painfully obvious: that the nation has “an addiction to oil.”

He called for more domestic oil drilling. Anyone who naively believed that Texas oilman Mr. Bush and his advisers would provide and promote a meaningful and comprehensive solution to the energy crisis has been proven sadly mistaken.

Until recently, it would have been reasonable to conclude that the focus of the Bush “legacy” would be the greatest foreign-policy disaster in the history of the republic (our ill-planned, ill-advised, and unnecessary occupation of Iraq).

But today, the Iraq debacle, ruinous though it has been for Iraq and the United States, has faded to the background for those of us who do not have family members at war, as an increasing number of Americans are unable to fill their gas tanks and put food on their tables.

Most Americans will breathe a sigh of relief as we welcome a new occupant of the Oval Office in seven months. Whether the next president is Barack Obama or John McCain, our new leader will need to be Superman to extricate us from the mess that has been created over the last 7 1/2 years.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Keep D.C. vouchers

It is appalling that some Democratic politicians in Washington want to kill the educational voucher program in the District of Columbia (“Stop blocking the schoolhouse door,” Op-Ed, Friday). The only possible reason that they would do this is to placate the teachers unions, which don’t want their monopolistic stranglehold on education challenged.

Despite the expenditure of $1 billion a year, the District’s school system has an academic-achievement level and a dropout level worthy of a Third World country. The voucher program is one of the few shining successes. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Democrat, called parents, who sing the praises of the program because of their children’s success, “completely befuddled.”

This is the height of elitism and condescension. It’s a polite way of calling those parents stupid. It’s obvious that the teachers unions do not want the success of children in the voucher program to be compared to those students who attend D.C. public schools.

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

Troop sound bite

Your front-page article “McCain fires back on troop quote” (Thursday) was, indeed, well-placed, front-and-center.

It is notable that Sen. Barack Obama’s profile in this story is low. I suspect he remembers the banner displayed by service members for Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, in 2006: “Halp us Jon Carry we R stuck hear n Irak.”

Within hours, the opposition showcased their parade of luminaries in deriding Sen. John McCain’s statements. One could note, however, that there was not one bright, new star in the array. These were the same Jacks- and Jills-in-the-box who pop up time after time after time. Ah, the glory of being quoted in the news.

When Mr. McCain says, “Nothing, nothing is more precious than American blood,” I can identify with that. That is his actual view.

When I read the opposition’s rephrasing of Mr. McCain’s statements, I’m reminded of the old adage, “No matter how thin you slice it, it’s still baloney.”

To my way of thinking, our nation’s treasure is the minds, the bodies and the blood of our military men and women. That is the long version of Mr. McCain’s “precious.” It speaks to Mr. McCain’s succinctness.

It’s good to have him back on the “Straight Talk Express.”

HARRY W. KREGER

Ocean View, Del.

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