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GOP Control of Congress

November 15, 1994

Humorist Will Rogers said, "I don't belong to any organized political party. I am a Democrat." Former Democratic governor of Colorado Richard Lamm once said, "When Democrats assemble a firing squad, they form a circle."

I find The Times' pessimism about the ability of a Republican Congress to govern unfounded (editorial, Nov. 10). Gridlock during the Reagan-Bush years and during the first two years of Clinton's Administration came about because the Democratic Party, as has historically been its custom, lacked discipline. Ronald Reagan's most productive years--1981 to 1986--came about because he had a cohesive, disciplined Republican Senate to help implement his agenda--in spite of a hostile House of Representatives held hostage by the opposing party. Voters in 1994 did not defeat a single Republican running for reelection; America voted for a change in direction, not a change for change sake.

Although I am no longer a Republican and have fundamental problems with many of the party's most extreme positions, I look forward to this historical change. The Republicans, by virtue of this stunning victory itself, demonstrate they can at least organize well and avoid shooting themselves in the process. It's a promising start.



* Thank you! Thank you, Bill and Hillary, for making possible the first Republican Congress in 40 years!


Lake View Terrace

* The Republican landslide involved a lot of very narrow victories. If they'd been narrow Democratic victories, you'd be saying it wasn't really a landslide.

Regarding the Nov. 11 article on Rep. Bill Archer's (R-Tex.) proposals: Does he know that it costs five times as much to put a child in a foster home than it does to pay welfare support for a child living at home? Of course he does, and the fact that he still wants to take children away from their mothers tells us that he is a racist--he's certainly not proposing it for sound economic reasons but is, clearly, appealing to bigotry.

And capital gains reduction? Before the Republicans start telling us again, as they did in '92, that Germany has virtually no capital gains tax, please remind readers that Germany can do that because it has a very sharply progressive income tax.


Santa Monica

* On Nov. 3, 1992, then President-elect Bill Clinton said, "We're all in this together, and we will rise or fall together."

On Nov. 8, 1994, the American people decided not to fall with President Clinton. They sent a clear message to him and all his liberal friends in Congress. This message was not about anti-incumbency, because no Republican senator, house member, or governor lost their reelections. Instead, this was a referendum on Bill Clinton and his liberal agenda.

The electorate has given the Republican Party a mandate to make government smaller, cut spending, reform welfare and cut taxes. Now, the GOP will have control of both houses. If they don't deliver on their "Contract With America," the next voter revolution may be on them.



* On Nov. 8, America's voters overwhelmingly endorsed the Republican Party's "Contract With America." With a view to balancing the federal budget, I have analyzed the 1993 budget; estimated federal receipts were $1,145.6 billion. Major expenditure programs mandated by law or public policy include Social Security, interest on the public debt, national defense, Medicare and retirement benefits.

In order to balance the federal budget, the following programs would have to be eliminated: international aid, housing subsidies, food and nutrition, health, education, commerce, transportation, natural resources, energy, community development, agriculture, science and space. So we would privatize the post office and eliminate federal insurance on bank deposits. Rent subsidies for low-income seniors and the "Meals on Wheels" food program would be history. There would be no more federal highway construction and maintenance, because the transportation excise taxes (highway, air and water) would have to be eliminated and replaced by new income taxes to fund other mandated spending.

There would be no money to pay for disaster relief and farm income stabilization would stop. The space program would end. Our national parks would be closed to the public. We wouldn't spend any more money to provide nutrition, health and education services to young children.

I think that every American needs to be told now the magnitude of spending cuts and the program impacts implicit in a balanced budget. Sen. Bob Dole, Rep. Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have told us how the government already has enough of our money. So gentlemen, put up or shut up! Tell the American people how your revenue neutral plan will balance with federal expenditures. I'll bet my children's future income you can't do it.



* As a white male of the boomer generation, I have one challenge to the incoming Republican-led Congress. Fix Social Security now. They'll forever earn my respect if they can balance that budget without voodoo economics and worthless government IOUs.

Otherwise, I say they're just a bunch of whining, self-serving wimps unwilling to tackle the one foreseeable problem that promises to dwarf any other future budgetary shortage, including health care.


San Diego

* I've got a suggestion for President Clinton, now that he appears to be surrounded by his political adversaries: Why doesn't he become a Republican? Democrats would finally be able to get their legislation passed because Republicans would have to support the agenda of their party's leader.

It would also take a lot of steam out of Dole and and other Republicans' presidential ambitions--they'd have to get past an incumbent President to gain the party's nomination in 1996.



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