Don't Ask, Don't Tell

If money is the mother's milk of politics, then organized labor has been the udder for the Democratic Party. In 1995-96 unions spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to defeat Republicans in hopes of recapturing the House of Representatives for the Democrats. It was for them a Gettysburg. A victory could turn the war in their favor. A defeat would likely mean a continuing decline into oblivion, including congressional investigations into labor's financial dealings, campaign contributions and even its own internal elections. Most of all, a Democratic defeat would mean continuing scrutiny into labor's secret accounting practices.

The Economy's Good News: The Upside of Downsizing

Job losses are less harmful than they are often thought to be. To the contrary, the upside of downsizing lies in a reinvigorated economy. Indeed, the layoffs of the early 1990s can teach important lessons about how the economy operates to turn the bad news of lost jobs into the good news of higher living standards.

Hiding Behind the Children

Maybe the Third Big Lie, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you," should be amended to "I'm from the government and I'm here to help the children."

Can Social Security and Medicare Be Saved?

President Clinton wants to use any possible budget surplus to save Social Security. Republican leaders in Congress want to use any money from a possible tobacco settlement to save Medicare. But neither approach will work unless we replace our chain-letter approach to elderly entitlements with fully funded systems, under which each generation finances its own retirement and health care expenses.

Misplaced Criticisms of Medicare Private Contracting

Under a new law passed by Congress, seniors on Medicare who want to "privately contract" with a physician – that is, pay out of pocket for some service that Medicare pays for – must find a doctor who is willing to forgo all Medicare reimbursements from any patient for two years. That's no easy task considering 96 percent of all physicians take some form of Medicare reimbursement.

The Marriage Penalty

A marriage penalty results when a married couple pay more taxes by filing jointly than they would pay if each spouse could file as a single person. A couple face the marriage penalty only when both spouses have earned income.