You can't fool all the people all the timeAfter observing...

the Forum

February 25, 1993

You can't fool all the people all the time

After observing Bill Clinton's campaign, which perfected the techniques of prevarication, evasion, damage control, willful misrepresentation and crowd psychology, the American people understandably are skeptical about President Clinton's attempt to link his economic plan to "patriotism."

To most of us, his economic plan registers as a bunch of totally unacceptable tax hikes to indulge his liberal social-spending appetites, which he tends to downplay in public, giving top billing to the more palatable excuse of "deficit reduction."

Many of us feel that this "deficit reduction" is a mere euphemism -- it sounds good and Clinton thinks the people can probably be bamboozled into supporting it.

The Clinton camp's eagerness to add billions more to the deficit with their make-work infrastructure program, for starters, proves their frivolousness with tax funds, for which, of course, there is no accountability.

Spending cuts (which are really the subject to be addressed seriously) get a mere tip of the hat from these tax-and-spend connoisseurs.

With the Bush economic recovery well under way, it is foolhardy to tinker with stimulus packages to jump-start the economy.

But Mr. Clinton has a hankering to be an "architect of the future," and he has an unshakable conviction that his common-man charm with the crowds will be sufficient to remove any obstacles from his path.

American voters, however, have achieved a certain sophistication and cynicism about their politicians, which bodes ill for Mr. Clinton's strategy -- so vividly illustrated after his infrastructure pronouncement. The next day, he got out his common-man clothes and his common-man hard hat and went out to pump hands among common-man infrastructure workers.

This tells us that he cares, don't you see, and so does Hillary, laboring so selflessly on our behalf. Of course, her efforts are going to result in another whopping tax bite, but one thing at a time. Ah, it should be fun!

H. J. Rizzo

Baltimore

A job well done

The citizens of Maryland lost an outstanding public servant when Ron Hartman, administrator of the Mass Transit Administration, resigned on Feb. 12.

He accomplished a great deal with the construction and effective operation of the Metro and Light Rail lines, the implementation of commuter rail service and the establishment of reliable bus service with a modern fleet.

What distinguished him, in my mind, from other effective public administrators was his sensitivity to individual and group needs.

He demonstrated that in extraordinary fashion when he established an MTA Citizen's Advisory Committee. Mr. Hartman encouraged and prodded it to act, attended its meetings and then implemented its recommendations.

He would also ride and test the various public transit systems regularly, and you would never know where or when.

Having been involved in public transportation issues for many years and having traveled to, and studied, public transportation in many other cities, I feel qualified to say that we have been very lucky to have Mr. Hartman head MTA.

In these days of congestion on our roads, serious air pollution, limited parking space and the high cost of private transportation, the alternative of effective public transportation should be a high priority in our society.

We have lost our leader in this effort and we should thank him for an important and difficult job done so well.

Howard J. Needle

Baltimore

Shared sacrifice

Many people will be justifying why they shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the sacrifices necessary to get us out of the economic mess we're in.

The elderly will be complaining about attacks on Social Security.

The working poor were the sacrificial lambs for the wealthy for the past 12 years.

The young, solid middle class are mortgaged to the hilt and can't absorb any more taxes.

Labor feels they gave up a lot of benefits to keep their companies out of bankruptcy court.

The very wealthy see any attempt to equalize the tax structure as a forerunner to class warfare.

All of the above interest groups do have a legitimate claim. But what must be noted is that all of the above were responsible for the Reagan-Bush electoral victories.

Is it that our nation is unwilling to accept the consequences of its own stupidity? If there is a bullet to bite, then all better be ready.

Myles B. Hoenig

Baltimore

War on guns

Michael Reid's response (letter, Feb. 4) to Wiley Hall III's Jan. 10 column "Losing the war on guns," sounds outrageously illogical. How can you not have a war on guns? Doesn't he know that 43 percent of them are used in domestic violence situations and are just as likely to hurt a child or loved one?

More criminals nowadays are using guns to commit crimes than ever before. It would be more logical to push for tougher gun restrictions and to ban assault weapons from public sale.

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