• 55°

Former president's staff never grew up

By By SONNY CALLAHAN
U.S. Representative
Even before the new occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had actually moved into the grand old mansion, it became apparent that some pretty bad blood had spilled onto the White House carpet, courtesy of the previous occupant and his staff.
While most of the liberal establishment spent its time last week digging to see what dirt, if any, they could find on former Missouri Senator John Ashcroft – President George W. Bush's nominee for attorney general – the new president's team was busy discovering the difficulties and frustrations of taking over after an old regime had left town.
Granted, it probably doesn't warrant a criminal investigation into the Clinton administration's practical joke of removing all the w' keys from computer keyboards throughout the White House compound.  Some people might even find the prank amusing, although not me.
Fortunately, a major national office supply company, Office Max, quickly stepped in to help replace the individual w' keys.
But the other reports of vandalism by outgoing Clinton administration employees, such as cutting cables to computers and phones, gluing desk drawers shut and destroying other public property, seemed to be a bad case of both sour grapes and juvenile behavior. 
One of the criticisms of the newly-staffed Clinton White House eight years ago was that it looked more like a nursery filled with young kids than the most powerful office in the land.
Even after all this time, it looks like some of the former president's staff never grew up.
Dollars for pardons
Speaking of Mr. Clinton, it's not uncommon at all for an outgoing president to pardon a whole host of friends and political pals who have gotten on the wrong side of the law.
In fact, it is one of the few privileges that belong uniquely to the president of the United States.
But many a person has been left scratching their head over the former president's decision to pardon wealthy fugitive Marc Rich.
Rich, it should be noted, is the  New York commodities trader who was charged with cheating the government out of $48 million in taxes.  
Critics have claimed Mr. Clinton was improperly influenced by Mr. and Mrs. Rich's generous contributions to the Democrat Party more than $1.3 million to the party and its candidates and more than $7,000 in furniture to the Clintons personally.
As Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain said, this "is an outrage the appearance is disgraceful."
Many of you may remember the television commercial, "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."
Well, move over, Mr. Hutton.  Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has long since had this kind of clout, especially in Washington, D.C. and on Wall Street.
That is why the chairman's testimony last week at a meeting of the Senate Budget Committee in support of a tax cut couldn't have come at a better, or more important time, in the new Bush administration.
While not specifically endorsing the Bush tax proposal, the fed chairman nonetheless left little room for doubt about his position.  
In other words, it is preferable to lower the projected surpluses by allowing the American taxpayer to keep more of what he/she earns than it is to see the federal government come up with new ways to spend your hard-earned money.
As I've said for some time now, I believe both tax cuts and debt relief can be effective partners that, together, will work to keep our economy going.
While it is true the economy has slowed down considerably the past few months, there is no reason to believe that a sound policy with the right mix won't get things up and going again in the near future.
Until next week, take care and God Bless.