Among the debates going on between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush is one on what to do with the so-called surplus in the annual budget. To begin, isn't it wonderful that the budget is now in the black annually?
But the truth is that we are paying annual interest payments on the ongoing debt which now stands at $5.7 trillion.
The vice president has advocated endeavoring to pay off the national debt in about 13 years, presuming the economy stays strong. This would also lower the budget line for interest payments annually and tend to keep interest rates lower for the private sector as well.
Gov. Bush has also advocated putting part of the annual surpluses into Social Security and Medicare. Already the Clinton administration and the Congress have expressed intent to devote about $1 trillion in anticipated Social Security surpluses to further reduce the debt in five years.
The American people need to listen carefully both to Gore and Bush and also be listening to our congressmen and senators as to how they would approach the budget and fiscal responsibility in the years ahead.
Presuming the economy stays fairly strong in the next decade or so, there is a possibility that the nation could greatly be strengthened for the rest of the century by reasonable fiscal discipline in that first decade. ...
A true study and analysis of economic policy is not always the most exciting of campaign issues, but such may remain among the most important and relevant in the election of national leadership.
-- The Elk City (Okla.) Daily News
Terrorism one of greatest threats to American forces
The terrorist bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen ... left a charred, twisted opening in the vessel's hull and an equally gaping hole in the sense of complacency many Americans felt about the impregnability of the nation's naval forces. Scenes ... of flag-draped coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base and of wounded sailors returning home to Norfolk to be met by anxious relatives were poignant reminders that even in this age of smart missiles and American might, military service is a dangerous endeavor.
The 17 sailors who died on the Cole provide a startlingly vulnerable human face to the attack. ...
The attack makes clear that the Navy and American military attaches assigned to embassies in high-risk places like Yemen must more closely scrutinize the employees and procedures of foreign contractors providing logistical services to American forces. The Navy also needs to develop more aggressive defenses against terrorism when its ships enter foreign ports. Any vessel approaching an American warship should be stopped and searched, even those of local contractors familiar to the Navy. All risks cannot be eliminated when American forces operate overseas, but every effort must be made to reduce the dangers. Terrorism is now one of the greatest of those dangers.
-- The New York Times
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