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both notions are equally hopeless. When Youngman persists in talking about a tax cut, Smith “repeated what she had told him before, that the legislature thought it more economic and political to blow the surplus billions than to vote tax relief which would have to be snatched back at the very next session.” It’s not as if there weren’t any tax-cutting conservatives in office at the time the book was written. Republican Governor Bill Clements, first elected in 1977, was a property-tax reduction man just as George Bush is today. Yet to a reader who isn’t old enough to know better, Dewlen’s book would hint that back before Republican sweeps and the Steve Forbes handchop and the Laffer Curve, before governors all wanted to out-tax-cut Christine Todd Whitman and every Jim Bob running for elected office was trying to promise Joe Six a little money if he would just be coaxed away from the tube long enough to vote way back then when it was still a midsummer’s night in America things may have been just as dirty and awful if not worse, and yet the people were at least spared the misery of watching the presidential favorite get misty eyed about a tax cut on diapers. As is Bush’s wont. Take an actual session the 64th, in 19.75 when inflation and the energy crisis produced a surplus, estimated at $1.5 billion as the Legislature convened in January of that year. Budgeting would still be tricky, an Observer editorial noted in its January 17, 1975 issue, since inflation would also hike up costs and “the public is chary of spending money.” Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby “wants to salt away about $500 million of the alleged surplus in a ‘permanent working capital account’ … [but] fears that his safety fund will evaporate when the Legislature gets down to business. A serious attempt at school finance reform could use up the $500 million and a whole lot more. The Texas State Teachers’ Association is asking for a $2 billion raise in public school funds.” The editorial went on to note that elements of the business lobby were in favor of saving most of the surplus, since spending it all might prompt a tax increase two years down the road. No mention of returning it to diaperbuyers, small businesses, timber farms, stripper well owners, and R & D venture capitalists, as the Legislature is doing this time. That same editorial certainly expressed no optimism about the session ahead: “There’s so much to be done, but don’t expect the 64th Texas Legislature to do it.” But the 64th Texas Legislature at least toyed with the idea of doing, and raised the possibility that surplus money would be spent on public schools. This session will finally provide teachers the $2 billion they’ve been asking for since 1975, but the serious educational debate has been over vouchers one more variation on abandoning public education altogether. The conservatism the Observer criticized then was a do-nothing conservatism, rather than the current anti-government grind that’s become so dull. The dullness ahead is prefigured in The Session which, in making a valiant crusader out of the very boring Youngman, could have served as a propaganda novel for young Reagan Republicans. Dewlen’s tale is about the demise of one sort of politician the corrupted, hard-drinking, small-town, minority-resenting kind and the rise of another, with none of the aforementioned qualities and not many other qualities besides. It’s hard to say whether the constituents are worse off. But surely the audience is. “Shark,” from page 29 Plant 4 in Fort Worth given to Lockheed Martin rent-free. Lockheed uses the plant to build F-16s, a large number of which are targeted for foreign markets. So the U.S. government is subsidizing Lockheed Martin’s profits from foreign sales long after the expensive research and development phase of the F-16 was completed. At the same time, Lockheed is employing 11,000 people at the plant, down from 31,000 in 1989, when production peaked for the Reagan defense procurement budget. As Greider emphasizes, the global marketplace is where the real realignment is taking place. “The unstated political objective [of adding three former Soviet satellites to NATO],” writes Greider, “is to open new markets for American arms industry.” Before the papers were signed, Lockheed Martin C.E.O. Norman Augustine was courting Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Romania. “…[T]he countries MAY 28, 1999 of Central Europe will have to step up to tough choices on modernization of equipment and the requirement to achieve interoperability with NATO forces,” he told them. Augustine is a senior advisor to the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO. Augustine also suggested that U.S. defense contractors could become partners with European manufacturers in weapons production. This multi-national strategy threatens U.S. defense industry jobs, which have been a cornerstone of America’s economic health for the past fifty years and are always on the minds of politicians. But, more frightening, an industry that was created, subsidized, and nurtured by the U.S. government is threatening to cut itself free of those bonds. We could have little control over the defense industry we created. Already, says one expert, foreign sales by U.S.-based companies suggest that “we are effectively engaging in an arms race with ourselves.” In Fortress America, Greider talks to Senator John McCain and Gary Hart, both of whom are proposing reductions in overseas deployment and our weapons over-capacity. He talks to engineers who are designing unmanned bombers for long-distance warfare of the future. He wonders whether we are falling into the trap of other empires, imposing our military and economic will on the world without much thought given to what the reaction may eventually be. Greider writes, “The United States cannot escape the gut question: What constitutes the national security interest in a world where superpower rivalry has disappeared but where globalizing commerce and finance steadily attack the old meanings of national sovereignty and interest?” Because he refuses to roll over and play dead, Greider hopes we reject imperial America as our international role, that the democratic public interest assert itself, that we work more cooperatively with other nations on shared goals. I guess we all do. Geoff Rips is a former Observer editor. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31