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Martin Frost in his first term to O’Neill for appointment on Rules and have never had occasion to regret it for a half-second. I helped Mike Andrews get assigned to Ways and Means and John Bryant get on Commerce. I am proud of every last one of them! David Stockman, in his 1986 book, The Triumph of Politics, on his experiences as Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, said of you: “He was as misguided as O’Neill, and he had more energy. He practiced the politics of envy, pure and simple: the deliberate inciting of middle and lower class resentment against the rich. By 1981, the Jim Wright philosophy of taxation had prevailed so many times over the years that the federal income tax bordered on an out-and-out soak-thesuccessful scheme. Nearly 40 percent of all federal income taxes were being paid by the 5 percent of taxpayers whose incomes were above $50,000.” He seems to cast you among his main adversaries among the “hard-core redistributionist liberals.” How do you plead? Have I practiced what he calls ‘the politics of envy,’ inciting middle and lower class resentment against the rich? Am I what he calls a ‘hard-core redistributionist liberal?’ Well, those are some big $10 words, and I’m not much into labeling. I’ve never consciously tried to sow the seeds of envy, but I have frequently pointed out the unfairness of the Republican tax cuts which give their greatest benefits to those in the upper income brackets while placing greater and greater reliance on regressive taxation such as sales and excise taxes. That has been my consistent position throughout my public career. When I was in the state Legislature, I preferred severance taxes rather than sales taxes. When I was Mayor of Weatherford I held out in negotiations with the telephone company and the gas company for low-bottom rates for small households and partyline telephone users. President Reagan and I simply disagreed. His philosophy may have been described accurately as ‘trickle down.’ His policies mimicked those of the 1890s and 1920s. I, by contrast, may be described as a devotee of the ‘percolate up’ theory. I believe in policies that aim to give every youngster a real chance at a college education, every individual a meaningful job to perform at liveable wages, every family a decent chance to own a home or at least to rent a dwelling at an affordable price, and a guarantee of firstclass medical care as a birthright for every American. If that makes me a `redistributionist liberal,’ then I guess that’s what I am. After it passed the Gramm-Latta budget that included an elimination of the Social Security minimum benefit, Congress, on a 405-13 vote on July 21, approved your resolution that would commit Congress to repealing the Social Security minimum benefit reform as soon as the reconciliation bill became law. Stockman said he dismissed the vote as a symbolic sense of the House. Later, he recognized it was the coup de grace that showed the politicians did not have the will to come up with the $44 billion in savings to be named later, which was the “magic asterisk” of his balance-the-budget plan. Was that your plan? When did you realize that either Congress or the administration did not have the will to balance the budget? Your references to statements by Stockman puzzle me. On several occasions I have found his rationale for things extraordinarily abstruse, abstract and arcane. His loftily kissing off the 405-13 vote on restoration of the Social Security minimum benefit is a further example of his presumptuousness and his arrogant disregard for the legislative branch. The vote was intended unmistakably as instructive, not as ‘symbolic.’ It certainly was unequivocal. I haven’t the faintest idea what Stockman means by his reference to a so-called ‘magic asterisk’ or his expectation of Congressional initiatives or the ‘will’ to balance the budget. The Administration had made it fairly clear that it would veto any substantial reductions in military spending or any slowdown in the galloping tax cuts slated for the top brackets. The last sentence of your question is puzzling to me. Although Ronald Reagan categorically promised to balance the budget by 1983, and continued following contrary policies even after it became clear that they were leading us exactly in the opposite direction, I am not certain whether it was a lack of will on his part or lack of wisdom. Stubbornness or stupidity. Some people believe that Reagan was so determined to reduce the role of domestic government at whatever cost that he deliberately courted unbalanced budgets and opposed any level of taxation necessary to balance them as a means of forcing the diminution of social programs. In other words, that he promoted huge increases in military spending and deliberately allowed, even secretly encouraged, big increases in the debt and in the amounts taken up annually in debt service \(most of which goes to able cash so that it would not be available for social efforts. I cannot believe him to be quite that Machiavellian, but he did several times argue that taxes should never be raised, since ‘Congress would only find new ways to spend the money.’ He had a very rigid, radical bias against most domestic functions of government. Whereas JFK had led us to identify with our government as the embodiment of our noblest ideals, Reagan wanted us to see it as our enemy and to glorify only military expenditures. On one occasion in late 1986, at a meeting of House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders in the Oval Office, Mr. Reagan actually contended that the military procurement expenditures did not add anything whatever to the deficit. The Republicans at that time controlled the Senate, and we were discussing the appropriation levels. Senate Appropriations out to the President that for each of the five years of his presidency Congress actually had appropriated slightly less than he had requested in his initial budget message. Hatfield’s contention was literally true, though just marginally so. We spent a trifle less in all each year than Reagan asked, but we had rearranged the priorities. Reagan’s reply to Hatfield: ‘That’s not what I’m talking about. You have played havoc with the military defenses of our country and squandered it all on wastefulsocialprograms.’ \(In Mr. Reagan’s lexicon, ‘wasteful social programs’ was one word. Senator Hatfield pointed out that, quite to the contrary, military spending had been doubled, increased from a total $148 billion in 1980 to almost $300 billion in the fiscal 1986 appropriations. Meanwhile, Hatfield stressed, discretionary spending \(in curmore than 20 percent. Reagan said: ‘Our problem is that you have spent less than I asked for military strength and more than I asked on these wastefulsocialprograms!’ Hatfield said he must have misunderstood because he had supposed Reagan’s concern to be with the overall spending rate and its effect on the national debt. ‘And of course you would agree that a dollar spent on a bomb adds just as much to the deficit as the same dollar would if it were spent on a school book.’ To this, the President took great exception. ‘I do not agree with that,’ he said, ‘and I would like Cap Weinberger to address that subject.’ To our amazement, Weinberger rose and delivered a soliloquy to the effect that money spent on military procurement added nothing to the deficit, since it was spent with American manufacturers who employed laborers who bought groceries and clothing from merchants who paid taxes on their income. ‘And, therefore, you see, it all comes back to the treasury in taxes.’ The rest of us were dumbfounded. That same argument could have been made for almost any expenditures that add to the nation’s useable wealth \(highways and waterways and other such infrastructure rather that were more labor intensive and less capital intensive. 8 AUGUST 20, 1993