The Great Flip-Flop:President Bush made scant progress...

Newswatch ...on last week in review

October 15, 1990

The Great Flip-Flop:

President Bush made scant progress last week in clearing up the confusion resulting from his mixed signals on higher income tax for the rich.

"My mind's been made up for a long time; it just needs a little clarification," he said. Then, trying to end an erratic three-day performance, he said he favored a new top tax rate of 31 percent, up from 28 percent, and a cut in the capital gains rate to 15 percent, from 28 percent.

But he predicted there was no chance the Democrats, who favor taxing the richest at 33 percent, would accept his terms.

The appearance of presidential flip-flopping clouded congressional efforts to complete a detailed budget proposal.

Under a stopgap spending bill Bush signed Tuesday, Congress has until next Friday to send him an acceptable package to reduce the federal deficit by $500 billion over five years.

The government was closed over the three-day holiday weekend because of the budget stalemate and faces another shutdown in a week unless a deal is struck to replace a White House-approved package killed in the House last week.

Looking at tax structure:

Higher income taxes for the rich and a more equitable property tax probably will be recommended by a commission studying Maryland's tax structure, the panel's chairman, Robert Linowes, said last Monday in Ocean City.

The State Commission on State Taxes and Property Tax also will make recommendations on Maryland's 5 percent sales tax and on local government finances. Linowes said he would like to see the recommendations adopted by the General Assembly during the next legislative session.

Wholesale prices soar:

Wholesale prices shot up 1.6 percent in September as turmoil in the Persian Gulf battered the U.S. economy and fueled a record-breaking jump in gasoline prices, the government reported Friday. The Labor Department blamed virtually all of the steep increase on higher oil costs, tied to Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait. A 20.6 percent price increase in gasoline last month was the highest one-month increase recorded since the government began tracking the commodity in 1947, the government said.

An ominous forecast:

In an ominous forecast for taxpayers, the Bush administration has quietly estimated that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s bank insurance fund will lose $6.1 billion -- and possibly more -- in the next three years, even if insurance premiums are doubled.

Temple Mount deaths:

Rioting last Monday near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem left 19 Palestinians dead and 140 wounded. Twenty-eight Jews were injured by rocks.

It was the bloodiest confrontation of the 34-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of areas seized in the 1967 war, and there were allegations that Israeli police used excessive gunfire.

The clash erupted after Palestinians threw stones from the Mount at thousands of Jews worshiping at the Wailing Wall, Judaism's holiest site. Palestinians apparently were angered at rumors that Jews were attempting to establish a presence on the Temple Mount, a site holy to both Jews and Moslems.

In a rare move against Israel, the United States Friday supported a United Nations resolution condemning Israel for the violence.

The gulf crisis:

U.S. Air Force planes participating in Operation Desert Shield were flying again Friday after they were ordered grounded for 24 hours following a rash of crashes.

A U.S. Air Force F-111 fighter-bomber crashed last week in Saudi Arabia, killing both crew members, U.S. military officials reported. Eight Marines were presumed dead after the crash of two helicopters in the northern Arabian Sea Monday. An Air Force F-4 reconnaissance jet also went down that day, killing both crew members.

3 shot dead at dealership:

A mechanic who was fired from his job at Fox Chevrolet in Woodlawn last Tuesday walked into the dealer's service area Friday and opened fire on his former co-workers with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, killing two and wounding one, police said. Baltimore County police said the man then turned the gun on himself. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

One shot to death, one wounded:

A young women was found shot to death and another was badly wounded Tuesday in Herring Run Park, off the 4100 block of Harford Road in northeast Baltimore. Police said they have no motives or suspects in the shootings.

2 charged in Levenson killing:

Baltimore homicide investigators Wednesday arrested two men and charged them in the fatal shooting Oct. 4 of Aaron Samuel Levenson, 30, vice president of Royal Furniture Co. in southwest Baltimore. Charged at the Southwestern District police station were Jeffrey Lloyd Johnson, 26, of the 2800 block of Presstman St. in the city, and Marc Sean Howell, 20, of the 6400 block of Woodgreen Court in Woodlawn. Both men have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted robbery and felony handgun violations.

Guilty plea:

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