Issue 128 * May 8, 1996
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Amy Moritz, President
300 Eye Street N.E. Suite 3 * Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 507-6398 * Fax (301) 498-1301
Activities at the May 8 Wednesday Strategy Lunch chaired by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK).
Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) briefed participants about his "Working Americans Wage Restoration Act," which he will unveil at a May 9 11:30 AM press conference at the U.S. Senate swamp. Ashcroft's proposal would end the seemingly unfair practice of making American workers pay income taxes on their payroll taxes -- the 7 1/2 percent of their paychecks they never see, spend or invest. Ashcroft says his proposal is designed to make the tax code more fair while addressing a stagnation in take-home pay workers have suffered since the 1993 and 1990 tax increases. Said Ashcroft: "I believe if you look at the rates there is a wage flatness. I have a proposal... The 7 1/2% payroll tax for individuals... be made tax-deductible... This is the biggest tax most Americans pay. The minimum wage affects a very narrow group of people. This affects a large group... and would benefit the average working family in the amount of $1,770... Corporations get to deduct their part of this tax. Families ought to be able to deduct their part, too." Ashcroft's proposal would affect only incomes of $62,700 or less. Ashcroft proposes paying for this tax deduction, which would cost $35 billion the first year and $50 billion after five years, by cutting programs designed to help corporations market their products overseas, by cutting some government administrative functions and by cutting some other specified programs. A copy of the bill and four pages of information about it, including two May 8 Investor's Business Daily articles, is available from Melissa Ranwick of The National Center for Public Policy Research or from Senator Ashcroft's office. Contact Senator Ashcroft's office at 202/224-6154.
Dan Mitchell of The Heritage Foundation announced that House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), proponent of replacing the current tax system with a flat rate income tax, and House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer (R-TX), proponent of replacing the current system with a national sales tax, have reached agreement on a compromise proposal that unifies elements of both the flat rate and consumption taxes. Details will be announced at a press conference that will probably be held next week, he said. Contact The Heritage Foundation at 202/546-4400.
Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation reported that the former Soviet republic of Belorus has just rounded up 250 democratic and religious leaders and is now holding them without formally pressing charges. Weyrich learned of the incident from the son of one of the detainees and contacted the State Department. Says Weyrich: "I called the State Department, and if you had a recording of that [call] it would make your blood boil. They were all but defending the arrests." Weyrich urged participants, particularly journalists and Members of the House and Senate on national security committees, to "get the word out." Contact the Free Congress Foundation at 202/546-3000.
Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center and Ed Pickett, father of the late Lt. Colonel David Pickett, discussed the 1991 murder of Col. Pickett while deployed abroad and the safety implications his case has for U.S. troops presently deployed in Bosnia and elsewhere. The Pickett case is this: Col. Pickett and Airman Ernest Dawson were in a helicopter on January 2, 1992 over El Salvador when the helicopter was shot down by FMLN guerrillas. Both men survived the crash, but were pulled unarmed from the wreckage and brutally beaten and murdered. The Salvadoran government has decided that the killers cannot be brought to justice because of a 1993 Salvadoran amnesty agreement covering Salvadoran civil war combat-related killings. The U.S. government, to no avail, has protested this decision, arguing that this is a case of intentional murder, not a combat-related death. How this case relates to Bosnia and other deployments: Flaherty and Pickett pointed out that mechanisms such as the Geneva Convention should protect American troops held prisoner. If an amnesty decision to which the U.S. government is not privy can essentially make the murder of Americans "OK," then all U.S. soldiers held prisoner abroad are potentially at risk. For the sake of future prisoners, Flaherty and Pickett argued, the U.S. government should make certain foreign governments know we will hold them accountable by 1) applying the Geneva Convention to prisoner killings (fixing it if there are any legal loopholes), 2) investigating extraditing killers to the U.S. when the victims are American prisoners, 3) putting pressure on the foreign government involved, by a variety of means, to bring killers to justice. Flaherty and Pickett urged Congress to look into the issue now and send a message that the U.S. will protect its soldiers. Contact the National Legal and Policy Center at 703/847-3088.
Activities at the May 7 Family Forum Meeting chaired by Mike Schwartz of the Congressional Family Caucus and Amy Moritz of The National Center for Public Policy Research.
Sheena Talbot of the American Life League (ALL) discussed the appoints President Clinton Clinton is likely to make in the next month to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, a $4 million commission run by HHS designed to identify broad principles to govern the ethical conduct of research." ALL is concerned because very many of the people under consideration for nomination have radical views, such as advocating legal changes in the definition of death so organs can be harvested for transplant before brain death occurs, or advocating charging parents with child neglect if they don't give adolescent children birth control. Talbot distributed samples of writings by many prospective nominees. Contact the American Life League at 703/659-4171.
Michael Session of Project 21 briefed participants on a research project he is directing to 1) determine the degree to which government rules and legislation harm community improvement efforts; 2) identify those rules and legislation that are the most harmful and helpful; 3) identify those private groups that are the most successful in improving their communities. Following the study, Session said, Project 21 intends to communicate the results to lawmakers and other government officials, and it intends to distribute information about successful private community service groups to the philanthropic community. Session urged participants to contact him with the names of any community service groups they know of anywhere in the U.S., as he intends to interview as many groups as possible. Contact Project 21 at (202) 507-6398 or at email@example.com.
Amie Halstead of The Rutherford Institute analyzed and distributed information kits about two bills, Rep. Todd Tiahrt's "Parental Freedom of Information Act" and Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)'s "Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act." She also discussed the case of the 11 and 12-year-old girls in Pennsylvania who were given genital exams in school against their will and without their parents' permission. The school said it was necessary to check students for genital and lesions, although they did not examine any male students. Rutherford is providing legal assistance to some of the parents in this case. Contact the Rutherford Institute at 202/393-7008.
Scoop is published by The National Center for Public Policy Research to provide information about the activities of the conservative movement. Coverage of a meeting or statement in Scoop does not imply endorsement by The National Center for Public Policy Research. (C) 1996 The National Center for Public Policy Research. ###
©1996 The National Center for Public Policy Research.