Politics: Can Anyone Answer My Cry for Help?
Christie Todd Whitman
Christie Todd Whitman
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch
Sometimes I think I must be just a little dense. I feel that way because -- almost daily these days -- I come across news items or situations that I simply fail to understand.
The most recent of these (and I'm sure there'll be several more before the ink dries on this page) came in Tuesday's elections. I wouldn't want to bore Hour readers with a long list of examples, but foremost among the enigmas that wrinkle my brow is the gullibility of New Jersey voters who apparently believe that Gov.-elect Christie Whitman actually has a plan to cut their taxes by 30 percent.
When I see or hear Whitman pledging to cut taxes by such an unbelievable amount, I am instantly struck by such blatant demagoguery; it should be crystal clear that she is simply playing off Gov. Jim Florio's huge, unpopular 1990 tax increase.
It's the 30 percent figure that represents the smoking gun; an honest politician -- and I do believe there are some -- would merely promise to do her best to keep taxes down, even, perhaps, hold out some hope for a tax cut. But 30 percent, considering today's economic conditions and New Jersey's plight in particular, was obviously a ploy.
I'm sure her advisers told her that she would have to promise a tax cut to beat Florio, and promising 10 or 20 percent wouldn't have the dramatic response necessary to do the job. Insofar as Whitman already has said that if she doesn't cut taxes she won't seek a second term, it's evident she took the attitude that "After I get elected it will be time enough to worry about how I'll handle the situation."
If you'd like to clip this column, I'll be happy to eat it if I'm wrong.
I can't help wondering why I do not hear others screaming with outrage. That's why I say I must be pretty dense.
I wouldn't feel so dense, however, if such political perplexities were the only thing I fail to understand; unfortunately, there are lots of other things that seem simple enough to me -- but apparently not to many others.
Here's just a sampling:]
* * * The federal government is about to force the state (Connecticut), at a cost of more than $100 million to the government (not to mention the direct cost to taxpayers) to begin "more stringent" emissions testing. This whole program is a boondoggle that, despite claims to the contrary, does little or nothing for the environment. To me it's clearly a program designed to let politicians and government lackeys off the hook by allowing them to claim they're taking bold action to clean up the nation's polluted air.
* * * It's pretty clear from all the statistics we hear these days that crime is rampant, but despite the hue and cry of citizens only a small percentage of violators are arrested -- and of those arrested most are either plea-bargained away or are not prosecuted at all. Of those who go to trial, some are released on technicalities, many are given light sentences or put on probation, and only a few are given prison terms commensurate with their crimes.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch this week decried the fact that the "typical" convicted rapist receives a sentence of only eight years, but actually serves only three. He asks, "Does anyone wonder why we have so many rapes?"
Sorry, folks; my computer terminal tells me we're out of room, but if anyone can shed any light on these anomalies, I'd be happy to be enlightened.
This column was written for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Nov. 6, 1993.