House Passage of Tax Bill

The media, constantly on the alert for cute and quotable utterances from our legislators in the nation's capital, latched on to Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill's "lame duck" appellation for President Reagan's rebuff by Republican House members' initial rejection of the Democrats' tax bill. However, no member of the press took note of the fact that the real "lame duck" is none other than Tip O'Neill himself. Come 1987, he will no longer be plopped in his commodious chair, gavel in hand, delivering opprobriums, denigrations and other chewy pearls of wisdom for the boob tube to digest.

Washington, D.C., much like our Beverly Hills (Hollywood) syndrome is an insular society, factional and often incestuous. The only difference is the coverage by the media. Show business is fully covered by the media without partisanship except for the usual flackery; whereas, the press in the capital focuses heavily on the White House and very lightly on the Congress.

The puerile antics of the Congress are taken for granted by the press. The President asked for a tax simplification bill in his State of the Union message in January, 1985, and in December, 12 months later, they delivered a complicated, ponderous and arcane 1,300-page mish mash of tax garbage designed to confuse the average American as well as the most sophisticated CPAs of the Big Eight accounting firms. The only thing simple about it is Congress itself.

Whatever happened to "we the people?" As I observed in a movie, actress Goldie Hawn told a congressional committee--paraphrasing, I believe she said--"I never read the newspapers except for my horoscope, but recently I've read the Constitution, and I learned that I am 'we the people,' you are 'we the people,' and from now on I'm going to watch you like a hawk."

Yes, let's watch the Congress, the media and all of government very carefully. That way when the tax bill is finalized, if ever, we'll know what we are paying for in the future.


Sherman Oaks

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