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Clinton's `Bold' Economic Plan

March 4, 1993



Since the Clinton administration has chosen "bold" as the label of choice for the president's economic program, it is not surprising to see the Monitor echo the administration line in the editorial "A Bold Process Begins," Jan. 19. However, readers would be better served by some tough-minded analysis of the issue.

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President Clinton's proposal on both taxes and spending is seriously flawed. Aside from the fact that increasing taxes will have obvious negative effects on job creation and economic growth, Mr. Clinton's tax plan represents a reversal of the essential features of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

That act was founded in the sound principle that the best tax system has low rates to encourage productive activity and relatively few exemptions. Now Clinton wants to raise rates and to bring back the investment tax credit. Ironically, given Clinton's rhetorical claims that he wants to curb the power of lobbyists, the only group that will clearly benefit from his tax proposals will be high-priced tax lobbyists.

On the other side of the budget, most of the spending "cuts" in the president's proposal are illusory. Over $80 billion of the cuts were already included in the 1990 budget deal - Clinton is trying to take credit for cuts that have already been made.

At least $30 billion of the cuts are actually disguised increases in taxes or user fees. Hence about half of the budget cuts are nonexistent, and much of the remainder comes from vaguely defined savings to be realized, at some later date. Meanwhile, virtually no effort has been made to cut programs like agriculture subsidies, which are recognized to be a waste of money. Mark Wylie, Los Angeles `Passing the buck'

In the article "President Battles `Elusive Payoff' for Fiscal Plan," Feb. 18, the author accepts the notion that in the economic environment nothing has changed since 1980, when Ronald Reagan promised immediate benefits. The word deficit does not even appear in the article.

Actually, there have been great changes. One important change is that the unemployment problem in America must be claimed in part on the globalization of industry. Another even more devastating change in the economic environment is the present $4 trillion national debt. Its interest payments alone will drain $220 billion from each future annual budget. What is particularly painful in this connection, is the prospect of passing this burden on to the next generation. Ernest W. Volkmann, Ligonier, Pa. Domestic violence

The articles "Young Activist Defends Abused Women" and "Battered Women's Defense Plea," Feb. 22, are an insightful look into the horrors of domestic violence. As the articles point out, often the violence ends in death. I hope, however, such actions are not made acceptable. There are more constructive alternatives.

Serious assistance is available in most communities. If a victim is unable to figure out exactly where to turn, most United Way offices have free information and referral services that will help. The enjoyment of freedom from abuse is greatly dampened when behind bars. Get help, not a gun. Assistance for victims of abuse is out there. Kay C. Brown, Provo, Utah United Way volunteer