CHUCK MUTH'S NEWS & VIEWS

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Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. Mr. Muth is a professional campaign trainer, a newsletter publisher and talk-show host who regularly appears on political TV and radio programs.

Thursday

News & Views, 2/3/05


LEADING THE WAY

“Chile was the first country in the Western Hemisphere to start a [government-run] social security program, and it was the first to privatize [its] social security program. It led the way on both counts, and Chile's program is very successful."

- John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis

LET THE OBSTRUCTION BEGIN (CONTINUE)

“Do I know of a senator who will support privatization of Social Security? The answer is no. No, I don't know of a single Democratic senator. They all agree that there should be no privatization of Social Security. I agree with them."

- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

SOCIAL INSECURITY

“Democrats have used Social Security to frighten our senior citizens in every election for the past 50 years. Year after year it's the same thing. Vote for Republicans and they'll take your Social Security away, yet Social Security remains. Democrats know that if you own your own account they can no longer threaten you with its loss. Fighting Social Security reform is all about protecting Democrats long-standing scare tactics.”

- Talk show host Neal Boortz, 2/2/05

ILLEGAL FAMILY VALUES

“(President Bush) brought forth his rallying cry that family values don't stop at the Rio Grande. I would hope that one value every family would respect is the rule of law."

- Rep. J.D. Hayworth on President Bush’s renewed push for his amnesty program for illegal aliens at a GOP retreat last week

LEARNED NOTHING AT THE MASTER’S FEET

“Indiana's GOP Governor Mitch Daniels has responded to criticism of his plan to impose a ‘temporary’ one-percent surtax on incomes over $100,000 by pointing out that Ronald Reagan became governor of California in 1967 also facing a large deficit. ‘He did everything he could think of to reduce it on the spending side, and reluctantly asked for a tax increase,’ Mr. Daniels said. ‘He probably felt much as I do that this is the very last thing you do. And he, like I, had a constitutional duty.’

“Mr. Daniels is right that two months into his first term, the rookie governor agreed to a tax hike. But he capitulated only AFTER spending two months trying to convince a Democratic legislature to agree to more spending cuts. Mr. Reagan later admitted the tax increase was too big and allowed state government to keep expanding after the budget ‘emergency’ ended. That prompted him to work with Milton Friedman and others to craft a constitutional limitation on state expenditures. It was rejected by voters, but later became the inspiration for the Proposition 13 tax limitation in 1978.

“In contrast, Mr. Daniels announced his tax hike in his very first speech to the legislature, after keeping it a secret from even close aides. Unlike Mr. Reagan, he benefits from having a GOP legislature but he chose not to consult with its leaders on alternatives to a tax hike. He also hasn't proposed a permanent curb on the growth of state government as Mr. Reagan did. Mr. Daniels certainly knew Ronald Reagan, having worked for him in the White House as his political director. That makes it all the more disappointing that in his first days as governor he has misread history and failed to grasp the lessons Mr. Reagan learned from his tax debacle.”

- John Fund, Political Diary, 2/2/05

SUNDAY MAIL

Following up on last week’s “Survey Says!” question on whether or not the “just-like-a-business” post office should offer more convenient Sunday services, 69% of you answered “Yes.” And I think the figure would have been higher; however, a number of emails I received on the topic said they voted “No” simply because the addition of Sunday service would only lead to higher prices. Excellent point.

I’d like to see the post office offer more convenience for folks who work during the hours the post office is currently open, but that’s the sort of thing a private business would find a way to do WITHOUT penalizing the customer for it. I suspect those who fear the USPS would only use Sunday services as an excuse to again boost postage rates are dead on right.

Here’s another thought: Why do they only pick up our garbage once or twice a week, but the post office needs to have it delivered six days a week?

The overwhelming majority of my mail these days is “junk mail.” Probably yours, too. Seems to me that home mail delivery two or three times a week would be fine. Perhaps businesses could continue receiving daily delivery. Or perhaps daily delivery would be an option which folks could voluntarily pay a small fee each month to receive. But that’s another issue for another day.

Back to the Sunday services issue. Curiously, only one person emailed explaining their “No” vote was based on the religious admonition to keep holy the Sabbath. I say curious because this was a HUGE fight in the early 1800s. My, how times have changed. Did you know that we did, in fact, have Sunday mail in this country at one time? I didn’t either. Just read about it a couple weeks ago.

The issue of Sunday mail was at the heart of a major church/state debate in Congress for some twenty years. “From 1810 to 1830, Americans argued bitterly over whether U.S. mail would be transported on Sunday and whether post offices would be open seven days a week,” write authors Isaac Kramick & R. Laurence Moore. In the end, opponents of Sunday mail lost the battle in Congress...but eventually got what they wanted simply due to...get this...technological advancements which made Sunday mail obsolete and no longer necessary. Shades of the Internet!

Interestingly, it was a devout Christian and former Indian-fighter who led the opposition to the proposed ban on Sunday mail in the Senate citing church/state separation; a man who went on to be elected vice president of the United States. A fascinating and little-known look at American history addressing two current “hot button” issues still simmering in the country today: Postal services and church/state separation. You can read all about it by going to our “Issues & Answers” page at www.citizenoutreach.com. Enjoy.

SURVEY SAYS!

Which is the biggest looming national crisis at this time?

* Social Security
* Medicare
* Terrorism
* Gay Marriage
* Hillary’s 2008 presidential run
* Illegal immigration
* Something else

Cast your vote by clicking the “Survey Says!” tab at www.citizenoutreach.com

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Chuck Muth
1315 Wilson Point Road
Middle River, MD 21220
E-mail: chuck@chuckmuth.com

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