MIRAGE

WHY NEITHER DEMOCRATS NOR REPUBLICANS CAN BALANCE THE BUDGET, END THE DEFICIT, AND SATISFY THE PUBLIC

A gimlet-eyed history from Hager and Pianin (reporters for Congressional Quarterly and the Washington Post, respectively) of the capital's budget follies, culminating in last year's impasse between President Clinton and the GOP-controlled Congress. The nation's fiscal difficulties are nothing new: The last time the budget was balanced was by LBJ in 1969. Although his successors could not fulfill fervent promises to tame the deficit beast, the worst offender, the authors claim, was Ronald Reagan, who, in pushing for tax cuts and defense-spending hikes, ended up tripling the nation's debt. What ensued, they show, was a partisan ``tit-for-tat, revenge-seeking game.'' The problem is that budgets, the government's declaration of major priorities, are as serious as they are arcane, and are especially crucial to special-interest groups. Washington's pols understand three things about this situation: that deficits corrode the nation's economic vitality by causing less private investment and lower long-term standards of living; that entitlement programs must be curbed lest the deficit worsen; and that any serious attempt to do so is ripe for partisan exploitation. Democrats learned this to their dismay when candidate Walter Mondale was hammered for advocating tax increases, while Republicans lost the Senate in 1985 after having tried to freeze Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. In 1990, Democratic intransigence forced George Bush to break his ``read my lips'' pledge against new taxes; in 1995, the Gingrich-led Congress got outfoxed by Clinton and were blamed for causing a ``train wreck'' (D.C. lingo for government shutdown). Hager and Pianin enrich their narrative with portraits of such budget-war veterans as Bob Dole, Richard Darman, Leon Panetta, and John Kasich—all initially hopeful of progress, all knowing better now. In depicting responsible governing checkmated by partisan sniping, the authors present a true-life spectacle as funny as a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and as painful as root canal.

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8129-2452-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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