1. All three news magazines analyzed both candidates’ tax plans, and concluded that Bush favors the rich and Gore favors the poor. Besides, "many voters seem uncertain that they need such a windfall from Uncle Sam."
2. Al Gore it’s raining Republicans! U.S. News reporter Roger Simon repeated Gore’s claim that since his convention Gore has had a "flood" of Republicans come up to him on the rope lines willing to bolt the GOP for his campaign.
3. U.S. News was the only newsmagazine to look into Gore’s ties to the darker side of the unions, with columnist Michael Barone concluding: "In 1960, John Kennedy campaigned as a backer of union positions but an opponent of union corruption. Gore takes the first stance but not, it seems, the second."
4. Time environmental missionary Eugene Linden complained: "Despite the danger that climate change poses, the resources currently devoted to studying this problem – and combating it – are inconsequential compared with the trillions spent during the cold war."
On the covers of the magazines’ September 4 editions: Time magazine celebrated Kofi Annan as charming and charismatic. Newsweek delved into "Diabetes" and asked, ‘Are you at risk?’ U.S. News & World Report took a look back at "Olympic Legends." In the political weather vane sections of Time and Newsweek Al Gore won the week that was, while George W. Bush stumbled. In Time’s Winners & Losers column listed Al Gore as a winner: "Bush drops attack ad; Reno nixes outside counsel; time for another kiss, Tipper!" Bush was listed as a loser "Having a problem with verbal slips on champagne frail. After good run, is it a blip or a trend?" Newsweek had a special "Survivor" edition of Conventional Wisdom Watch featuring the cast of the popular show but set aside two slots for Gore and Bush. Gore gained an up arrow: "Old: Wooden man can’t connect. New: Getting good wood on the ball." Bush got the down arrow: "Says he ‘will work to end terrors and tariffs and barriers.’ Like sather, like fon." Looks like both Time and Newsweek utilized their spell-checks to make light of Bush’s gaffes.
All three news magazines compared and contrasted Al Gore and George W. Bush’s tax plans. All claimed Bush’s tax cut was more of a hindrance than a help. Newsweek’s Howard Fineman blamed, in part, Bush’s tax plan for his lost week on the campaign trail, "The plan has been as much an albatross as an aid ever since. Gore, who proposes $500 billion in ‘targeted’ tax cuts, from the start had called Bush’’s plan a windfall for the rich that would ‘wreck’ the booming economy. In New Hampshire, McCain called it fiscally irresponsible – and joined Gore in calling it a threat to Social Security and Medicare. In Des Moines, Iowa, last week – ironically, the city where he’d launched his plan in the first place – Bush tried to argue that the still-rising budget surpluses make his plan even more sensible and even less of an either-or choice between lower taxes and ‘saving’ traditional programs. But he jumbled the numbers again and again, and what was supposed to be a weeklong discussion of education (tied to $5 million in campaign ads on the topic) turned into a week of pundit chatter about his ability to handle the higher math that the presidency requires."
Time’s Amanda Ripley dismissed Bush’s plan as one that overwhelmingly favors the rich, while Gore’s helped the poor. "Generally speaking, you can believe the hype about the two plans. Bush's tax cut is almost three times as costly as Gore's and heaps most of its benefits onto wealthy Americans. Bush offers a couple of middle-class goodies – doubling the existing $500-per-child tax credit and reducing the marriage penalty – but since the thrust of his plan is an across-the-board cut, the wealthy folks who pay the bulk of the taxes would enjoy the greatest gains (the top tax bracket would drop from 39.6% to 33%). Bush would also repeal the estate tax, which in addition to providing needed relief to family farmers and small-business owners would deliver a windfall to the very rich. Result: a small number of affluent people would get almost half of the benefit from Bush's plan." Ripley found Gore’s plan was geared to help the poor and downtrodden. "Gore's proposal would have a narrower impact, and is harder to understand, but count on this: those it would affect are solidly low- and middle-income people. Essentially, Gore would reward them with tax credits and refunds for government-approved good behavior: sending children to college, caring for an elderly relative or setting up certain kinds of savings accounts. It's social engineering via the tax code – something the Clinton Administration has been doing for years, and the sort of federal meddling that drives conservatives and libertarians crazy."
Over at U.S. News and World Report Steven Butler declared that the public just wasn’t hip to tax cuts anymore. "George W. Bush seemed a little puzzled last week. Why was he having such a hard time convincing voters that a simple, across-the-board tax cut was a good idea? Maybe because while the plan is simple, its implications are not. With jobs plentiful and wages rising, many voters seem uncertain that they need such a windfall from Uncle Sam, given that there are other priorities such as paying down the federal government's long-term deficit." Butler critiqued Gore’s tax plan as one based on social engineering but then noted Bush’s plan benefits the rich: "Bush says his program offers significant tax relief to middle class and even poor families because they receive the biggest percentage cut in taxes. But the claim opens Republicans to charges that they are only dressing up a huge tax cut for the wealthy. Citizens for Tax Justice, for example, calculates that the highest 1 percent of income earners, with average incomes of $915,000, would get an average tax cut of $42,072, amounting to 42 percent of the entire tax benefit. Poor families, ones earning between $13,600 and $24,400, would get just $187 on average. Of course, these disparities reflect the fact that rich people pay most taxes to begin with."
U.S. News owner Mortimer Zuckerman also pushed the idea that Americans don’t feel the tax burden: "The Bush tax cut seems to worry rather than excite most voters. They do not feel the need for the cut, and it's easy to see why. For most Americans, the federal tax burden is the lowest in more than two decades, while incomes have soared." Perhaps Mort could chip in a little for the rest of us.
For Al Gore it’s raining Republicans! U.S. News reporter Roger Simon repeated Gore’s claim that since his convention Gore has had a "flood" of Republicans come up to him on the rope lines willing to bolt the GOP for his campaign: "How well has it been going for Al Gore since he planted that kiss on Tipper, delivered that speech to the Democratic National Convention, and visited a series of Mississippi River towns in which he quacked like a duck, pretended to eat a child's nose, and autographed a couple's cantaloupes? This well: In an interview with U.S. News, the vice president said that it is not just Democrats and independents swarming to him at rope lines but an actual ‘flood’ of Republicans willing to bolt their party and climb onto his newly tuned-up bandwagon.
Simon pointed out the polls don’t necessarily back up Gore’s assertion: "Though polls do not show massive defections of Republicans to Gore and give him at best only a modest lead over George W. Bush, Gore believes the comments of the people on rope lines are more reliable than any polls and believes the Republican defections are real." After Simon relayed Gore’s new image as "The man who is on your side against the wealthy and the powerful who seek to do you harm," he did note some Democrats were concerned about Gore’s class warfare message.
Then Simon noted, "But make no mistake, there is a powerful populist underpinning to Gore's approach. Asked if there is something about wealth and power that's intrinsically bad or that people should be suspicious of, Gore responded with a firm: ‘Yeah!’ Nor is his stump speech sunny and bright as was Bill Clinton's in 1996. Instead, it is filled with warnings of how the good times can come to a shuddering halt if the wrong decisions are made and the wrong people are put in power."
U.S. News was the only news magazine to look into Gore’s ties to the darker side of the unions. Michael Barone examined Gore’s attitude regarding union corruption: "More disturbing are the questions about Gore's attitude toward union corruption raised by his campaign's closeness to figures convicted or implicated in violations of law revolving around the hotly contested election for Teamsters union president in 1996. That election ultimately resulted in the ouster of incumbent Ron Carey, a strong supporter of AFL-CIO head John Sweeney, and the election of James P. Hoffa. But not before pro-Carey union officials and consultants Martin Davis, Jere Nash, and Michael Ansara siphoned $885,000 out of the union treasury in a scheme to reimburse others for contributions to the Carey campaign. All three pleaded guilty in 1997; unusually, none has yet been sentenced. In November 1997, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka took the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer investigators' questions whether he had procured $150,000 from the Teamsters treasury which, three days later, resulted in $100,000 to Carey campaign consultants. Under a rule dating to the Teamster scandals of the 1950s, AFL-CIO officials were removed from office after taking the Fifth; Sweeney said the rule didn't apply to Trumka, who remains secretary-treasurer––and a prominent supporter of Gore. Trumka flew to Iowa to campaign for Gore in the January caucuses, and he got a featured speaking spot at the Los Angeles convention."
Barone concluded: "In 1960, John Kennedy campaigned as a backer of union positions but an opponent of union corruption. Gore takes the first stance but not, it seems, the second."
Time sounded an alarmist call on global warming or was it global freezing? They can’t seem to make up their mind. Environmental missionary Eugene Linden wrote about "The Big Meltdown," taking place in the Arctic and how the melting ice will affect the earth’s climate. "Growing numbers of scientists fear that the warming trend will so disrupt ocean circulation patterns that the Gulf Stream, the current that warms large parts of the northern hemisphere, could temporarily shut down. If that happens, global warming would, ironically, produce global cooling-and bring on a deep freeze."
At the end of this article Linden feared we wasted our time worrying about the Soviets and instead should’ve focused on the environment: "At the entrance of the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, a base for investigations of regional climate change, a rusting rocket is a mute reminder of the complex’s earlier life as a part of defenses against Soviet nuclear attack. That threat never materialized, and now, belatedly, scientists venture from the base to study a threat that has materialized but against which no adequate defense has been mounted. Despite the danger that climate change poses, the resources currently devoted to studying this problem – and combating it – are inconsequential compared with the trillions spent during the cold war. Twenty years from now, we may wonder how we could have miscalculated which threat represented the greater peril."
Yeah, because their nuclear winter is so much less daunting than their global freeze.
-- Geoffrey Dickens