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JIM HIGHTOWER Dynamic Scoring OK contestants, for today’s jackpot on “Quick Quiz Query,” tell me what is meant by the new phrase “Dynamic Scoring.” Contestant Number One? “It’s what Shaquille O’Neal does on the basketball court.” Nope, sorry Number One, that’s not it. Contestant Number Two? “Dynamic Scoring is what people in singles bars fantasize about doing on Saturday night.” No, wrong again. Contestant Number Three? “It’s what Newt Gingrich wants to do to the American taxpayer.” Right you are Number Three. Newt Gingrich, now Speaker of the House in Congress, has come up with a budget gimmick he calls “Dynamic Scoring” to help him win a special new tax loophole for the rich. You see, if The Newt gives a $56 billion “capital gains” tax break to the wealthy, as he proposes, this will leave a $56 billion budget hole for us ordinary taxpayers to fill. Since congressional budget rules currently don’t allow budget holes to go unfilled, he wants to replace those pesky old rules with his new ones. Newt’s rules say he can use theoretical computer models, smoke, mirrors and voodoo to pretend that there’s really no hole at all. Indeed, let the rich dodge $56 billion in taxes, he claims, and like magic they will invest this windfall to create a tidal wave of economic stimulation that ultimately will trickle down into new growth, jobs and even “$89 billion in new federal revenues.” So the hole will become a mountain, you see. Trust us. Right, and there’ll be pie in the sky when you die. In his novel 1984, George Orwell warned us about the danger of “Newspeak.” Now we can put a face to it: “Newtspeak.” No matter what he calls it, Newt’s “Dynamic Scoring” is just the same old trickle-down voodoo we suffered in the ’80s. The Big Lie About NAFTA Jobs As, Yogi Berra once put it: “Half the lies they tell me aren’t true.” Well, the Bureau of Great Big Numbers Jim Hightower, a former Observer editor and Texas agriculture commissioner, does daily radio commentary and a weekend call-in talk show on the ABC Radio Network in Washington has recently spun out a whopper … and it just ain’t true. It’s important to hog-tie this lie early-on because it’s being used by Washington and Wall Street to justify passing more of those international trade deals that pit working folks here against low-wage countries paying 50-cents, 15-cents and even a nickelan-hour, moving our good jobs out of the country faster than a hog eats supper. Their Big Lie is about the impact of NAFTA, that North American Free Trade Agreement. Our government and the global corporations behind NAFTA are asserting that this trade deal has created “100,000 U.S. jobs in 1994.” Whoa now! They’re trying to throw a wide loop with a short rope. NAFTA hasn’t created 100,000 jobs. To the contrary, it has cost us thousands of jobs. Go figure! An independent research group did. The Institute for Policy Studies meticulously analyzed the numbers, company by company. Now get this: The actual number of jobs created in our country last year by NAFTA? 535. Compare that to the jobs we lost. By the Labor Department’s own count, more than 12,000 U.S. workers have officially been certified for retraining assistance because their firms went South under NAFTA, leaving them jobless. Another 20,000 job-loss cases are pending, and tens of thousands more working folks lost jobs to NAFTA but were not told about the retraining program, soPoof!–officially they just don’t count. Before you swallow their “Free Trade” lies, get the facts. For a copy of the IPS Report, call 202-234-9382. Payback for Lobbyists As the new Congress comes to town, the happiest faces are not those of Newt Gingrich and his merry band of Trickle-Down pranksters who are taking control of the House; and the widest grins don’t belong to Republicans Bob Dole, Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and other septuagenarian senators who’ll now be committee chairmen. No, no. By far the giddiest group is the corporate lobby! The joyous laughter you hear is from the oil, timber and mining companies; the tobacco industry; the weapons makers; the Wall Street investment funds; the big utilities and other giants who know that, for them, the Republican-controlled Congress is a Gravy Train with Biscuit Wheels. The tobacco firms, for example, know they have a friend in the Republican majority. The industry has become the GOP’s biggest financial supporter, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the party and its congressional candidates last year. An R.J. Reynolds lobbyist also put more than $50,000 into GOPAC, the political slush fund of new speaker Newt Gingrich. Likewise, the oil, timber and mining giants have paid their dues, putting more than half-a-million dollars into the campaign pockets of just two RepublicansFrank Murkowski and Don Young. Guess who will chair the Senate and House committees overseeing the natural resources that these industries want to plunder? Bingo! Murkowski and Young! As one environmental leader put it, giving Murkowski and Young authority over our environment “is like handing Jack the Ripper the knife.” These corporation are not putting up millions because they love democracythey’re buying policies to benefit them … at your and my expense. As one lobbyist said, rubbing his hands and beaming at the new Congress he helped finance: “It’s payback time.” Lobby Reform Poster Child If you read the fine print in America’s ethics laws, you’ll find they have more twists than a pretzel factory. Check out the case of Robert Oaldey. He’s a former ambassador and top-level state department official from the Reagan and Bush regimes. But lately, Oakley has become the poster child of the campaign to stop government big shots from leaving their public offices, switching hats and cashing in as high-paid, Washington lobbyists. In 1985, when Oakley was the state department’s chief of counterterrorism, he played a key role in Ronald Reagan’s decision to ban flights to and from the U.S. by Middle East Airlines, a company operating out of Lebanon and feared to be used by international terrorists. In 1992. Oaldey left government service and went straight into lobbying. His big client? Middle East Airlines. Having gotten the airline banned from U.S. flights as a public official, he now hired out as a lobbyist to help persuade his old chums in the government to lift the ban. His payoff? The Lebanese company paid him $100,000. Federal conflict-of-interest laws do bar ex-officials from such self-dealing, but the prosecutors let him go with a $5,000 fine. Let’s see: a $100,000 fee, minus a $5,000 fine… That still leaves him $95,000 ahead. Wow, this really sends a powerful message to would-be ethics violators, doesn’t it? To insist on real lobbying reform, contact Common Cause at 202-833-1200. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15