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CLINTON MAY, JUST POSSIBLY, HAVE THE MENTAL AGILITY TO GRASP THE SITUATION BEFORE THE REPUBLICANS ONCE AGAIN RUN AWAY WITH THE AGENDA. to those values, the better. The lower interest rates go, the greater the chance that an actual slump can be avoided. But the Federal Reserve is always too cautious in the face of recession risks, and we cannot expect that this winter will prove an exception. The real question may be whether Clinton, having steeped himself in the rhetoric of balanced budgets and having won the election largely by winning the Perot vote, can now throw off this incubus and think for himself. He may need to start thinking quickly. The Republicans, in the late campaign, actually had an economic program. It was a deplorable one to be sure, but it did speak to the condition of the economy and to the need for stronger growth and higher employment. And the Republicans, as they did under Reagan, would have sacrificed budget balance to the objective of stronger growth. The Democrats had nothing at all. Under these circumstances, it is perhaps reassuring that Clinton himself is unconstrained by principled commitment to the nonsense on which he campaigned. In this respect he rather resembles the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, the “Welsh witch,” as John Maynard Keynes once described him. And Lloyd George eventually emerged as the world’s first committed Keynesian political leader. Clinton may, just possibly, have the mental agility to grasp the situation before the Republicans once again run away with the agenda. But can Clinton rid himself of the unimaginative members of his economic team? Can he face down the tag-along investment bankers, the pundits and other hacks who make the balanced budget their totem? Can he discipline all those half-educated Congresspeople who know only that “let’s balance the budget” sounds good at the fundraiser? Will he have the guts to rise to this occasionperhaps the most dramatic thing that can happen to him now, short of war? The economy may yet bounce back, in which case the contradictions will tend to resolve themselves. In that case, we can all go back to sleep, and Clinton can look forward to being remembered like, say, Franklin Pierce. But if it doesn’t, and I tend to think it won’t, the political season just ahead could prove much more interesting than the one that just came to an end. James Galbraith is a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. His articles are available on-line at gopher://csfiColorado.EDU:70/ I ilecon/authors/Galbraith.Jamie. ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS .78731 512-453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip “Blind Justice,” from page 13 the secretary of state to proceed in three stages. First, he ordered the Secretary of State to approve no voting system that is not accessible to the blind and disabled by December 31, 1996. Secondly, the secretary of state must issue written directives, guidelines and instructions to all counties in the state to render all current polling places accessible by December 31, 1998. The final stage orders that all polling stations throughout the state be totally accessible to the disabled by December 31, 1999. James Harrington, head of the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin and lead council for the plaintiffs, announced in July that Antonio Garza Jr., Secretary of State, had appealed the judge’s decision. Most likely, the appeal will be heard in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, at great expense to Texas taxpayers. “The disabled community of El Paso should be proud of itself for filing a case that promises to affect voting standards throughout this nation. We fully expect to win the appeal,” said Harrington. “To deliberately discourage one segment of the population from voting is invidious to democratic ideals.” Although most sighted people are sympathetic with our cause and condemn the obstinacy of the sec retary of state, many have also questioned us as to our motives for filing suit in the first place. Some argue that we should be perfectly content to allow someone else to cast our ballots for us. Even many blind individuals believe that the voting-access case is a tempest in a teapot, and that there are many more important issues that we should be pursuing. Aside from the obvious fact that every citizen in Texas is guaranteed the right to a secret ballot under the constitution, most of us see the issue as one of independence versus dependency. Blind and visually impaired people have to relinquish so much of our privacy and independence, that any modicum we may regain is precious to us. By necessity, we must often allow others to be privy to some of the most intimate documents and details of our personal lives: our bills, our bank statements, our personal letters, tax records, etc. Trading on our emotions like legal tender, we are forced to buy back our independence and privacyone degree at a timewith cash, with favors, with compromises. And yet the independence and autonomy of the individual lies at the very heart of the American psyche. We see our victory in this case as a step toward removing one of the last vestiges of institutionalized paternalism of those wellmeaning sighted persons who say, “Don’t worry. Let me do that for you. It’s much easier that way.” In response to that mindset we say, “Don’t do it for us; help us find a way to do it for ourselves.” On November 5, W. Burns Taylor, a writer and teacher based in El Paso, cast his first secret ballotin ten minutes flat. NOVEMBER 22, 1996 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15