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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 23, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas I ■ Herald-Zeitung ■ Tuesday, May 23,1906 Opinion ■ To talk with Managing Editor Doug Loveday about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, ext. 21 H e t u n Opinion Online contact ■ To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of * online services or Internet, or to -simply contact staff members, the Herald-Zeitung's address is £ “Seventy-five percent of the public get their information from TV. That means 75 percent of Americans are under-informed. You must read newspapers, you must read magazines, you must read books.” — Bernard Shaw news anchor, 1956 EDITORIAL Phone Call Away Public involvement in government should continue after the elections In our democratic society, eligible voters can voice their opinions at the ballot box during national, state and local elections. Unfortunately, most people end their involvement and even their interest in the operations of government after the elections are completed. That shouldn’t happen. Our elected officials need to know that the public remains interested in the political process between elections. Indifference at the polls is a disappointing thing, but indifference during the other 364 days of the year is unwise. As for those in public office, keeping in contact with constituents and residents of their district is vital. Whether it be a U.S. representative or county judge, feedback from the people is critical. Often this page and the Letters to the Editor page is filled with comments or columns cnticizing our elected officials. But if those same leaders do not hear regularly from the people about their needs and wants, appropriate action or attention to specific issues will not take place. Don’t be bashful, and don’t think you have no right to get on the phone and call or drop by the office of a elected official. It’s what this country is all about. The Herald-Zeitung will begin running telephone numbers and mailing addresses of elected officials on this page on a regular basis. Don’t hesitate to use the information. • President of the United States Bill Clinton 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20500 (202) 456-1414 • Vice President of the U.S. Al Gore Old Executive Office Building 17th St. and Pennsylvania NW Washington, D.C. 20501 • U.S. Senators Phil Gramm 402 E. Ramsey Rd. San Antonio, TX 78216 (512) 366-9494 Kay Bailey Hutchison 961 Federal Building 300 E. 8th St. Austin, TX 78703 (512) 482-5834 Write us ... The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung welcomes letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 250 words. We publish only original mail addressed to The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung bearing the writer’s signature. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included. Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned. Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the previous 30 days. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor do The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung PXJ. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328 Fax: (210) 625-1224 New Braunfels Herald -Zeitung Editor and Publisher............................................................David Sullens General Manager............................................................Cheryl Duvall Managing Editor...........................................................Doug Loveday Advertising Director......................................................Tracy Stevens Circulation Director....................................................Carol Ann Avery Pressroom Foreman...................................................Douglas Brandt Classified Manager...................................................Karen Reinmger City Editor.....................................................................Roger Croteau Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tuesday through Fnday by the New Braunfels Herald'Zeitung (USHS 377-880) 7(J7 Landa St., or PO Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Comal County, Tx. 78131 -1328 Second class postage paid by the New Braun Jels Herald Zeitung in New Braunfels, Texas. Camer delivered in Comal and Guadalupe counties: three months, $19, six months, $34; one year, $60. Senior Citizen Discounts by camer delivery only: six months, $30; one year, $56 Mail delivery outside Comal County in Texas: three months, $28.80; six months, $52; one year, $97 50 Mail outside Texas: six months, $75; one year. $112.25. Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Fnday or by 7:30 a.m. on Sunday may call (210)625-9144 or by 7 p m weekdays or by 11 a rn on Sunday. Pos iMAS'iur: Send address changes lo the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, P O Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Tx. 78131-1328. GOF targets Medicare reform Medicare is a lifeline for 36 million retired Americans. It has reliably provided medical care to people in every corner of our great country, including a large number of Texans throughout the 21st Congressional District. Today, this essential program is in trouble, threatened by exploding costs and impending bankruptcy. According to a just released report from the trustees appointed to oversee Medicare, unless Congress acts to reform Medicare, it will be bankrupt by 2002 and unable to pay for retirees’ medical bills. Medicare’s serious financial troubles can no longer be ignored. The costs of Medicare part A, which pro- U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith vides hospital insurance, are growing at 10.5% per year. Beginning in 1996, this portion of Medicare will spend more than it takes in, and it will be bankrupt in 2002. Costs for Medicare Part B, which provides supplemental insurance, are escalating at an unsustainable 11.5 to 13.5% rate. Unless reformed, Part B of Medicare will roll up deficits of $1.5 trillion over the next 25 years. In contrast to spiraling Medicare costs, private sector health care expenses have leveled out, increasing at a much more modest 4.5% per year. The Clinton Administration understands that Medicare’s health is threatened, but refuses to prescribe any solution to its ills. The President’s own board of Medicare trustees, which includes the President’s Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of Health & Human Services, issued and signed the trustees’ report that predicts Medicare’s impending bankruptcy. Earlier this year, adminis tration officials warned that the present system could only be maintained over the next 25 years if Medicare benefits are cut by 30% or taxes were raised by 44%. Neither of these proposals is acceptable, but the administration completely ignored the problem in its recent budget and ignored Congress’ request to work together to save Medicare. Fortunately, Congress is willing to take steps ensuring that the Medicare lifeline is firmly knotted so that millions of Americans can continue to count on it. We’re working to develop a reform plan that is necessary to save the Medicare system. In developing reforms to save Medicare, we are committed to preserve all of the best features of the Medicare system. Unlike the government health plan pf last year, our plan to save Medicare will maintain Americans’ right to choose their own doctors, and no one will have to give up medical treatments. Our reforms will expand the choices available to Americans who depend on Medicare coverage. Over the next few months, as we work to develop reforms that save and improve Medicare, I’ll be looking to the common sense wisdom of the people of the 21st district. Congress could follow the administration’s example by walking away from this critical issue to retired Americans, or we can work together to solve the problem. The administration appears to have a political agenda. Rather than offer proposals that could become part of the solution, they want to wait for Congress to act so they can criticize and seek political advantage. It might be good politics, but it’s a partisan strategy that threatened the Medicare system we desperately need to save, and Congress won’t play that game. The House is willing to face squarely the responsibilities that come with the job, and there is no bigger responsibility than providing a secure future for Medicare and those who depend on it. Senate mulls House-sponsored tax cuts WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans are facing their most contentious issue as they try to decide whether to join the House and include tax cuts .for millions of Americans in their plan to balance the federal budget. . Senators were expected to reject an effort today by Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, lo trim levies on families and businesses. The proposal by Gramm, a conservative contender for the GOP presidential nomination, resembled the $350 billion, seven-year measure already approved by the House. Waiting in the wings was a more modest proposal by another presidential hopeful, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., who has pledged that the Senate will vote to cut taxes this year. Two Senate sourced speaking on condition of anonymity, said Dole lias said he will offer his plan, but there was no final word from Dole himself. Ihe votes were expected as the Senate continues debating a blueprint for forging savings from Medicare, Medicaid and hundreds of other programs so federal deficits can be eliminated by 2(X)2. 'Hie House approved its own version of the plan last Thursday, and the Senate expects passage of its plan Wednesday. The two chambers would next craft a compromise. The actual cuts would be made in legislation later this year. President Clinton said that after Republicans approve a budget, he will offer a “counter-budget” and negotiate with them. Clinton and administration officials have said Analysis repeatedly they would seek a compromise with Republicans once the GOP drops some of its demands, including revamping Medicare without reshaping the overall health-care system. But Clinton said for the first time that he would respond to Republicans with a plan of his own, although he did not say how comprehensive it would be. “I promised them if they would adopt a budget, that I would negotiate with them in good faith and I would propose a counter-budget. That’s what I gave them my word I’d do, and I will do it,” he said in an interview last Friday with WEVO of Concord, N.H., and other New Hampshire radio stations. The White House did not release a transcript of the interview. Clinton also said for the first time that he believed the budget could be balanced in less than IO years, though he did not commit himself to proposing that. “It can be done in seven years. The question is what is the penalty and what are the tradeoffs,” he said. In the Senate, unlike the House, where tax cuts were a central part of the GOP’s “Contract With America,” many Republicans say lowering taxes would only complicate the larger goal of halting three decades of deficits. With nearly all 46 Democrats against tax cuts, the division among Republicans means it will be difficult for them to corral a majority of voles in the 100- member Senate. The Senate budget as it stands would allow a tax cut once Congress and the president enact a package that is certified to balance the budget by 2002. That cut is supposed to equal the $170 billion some economists say the government would save because of the lower interest rates and extra economic activity passage of such a plan would generate. On Monday, Democrats targeted the tax cuts and the planned slowdown in Medicare spending with amendments, each defeated, that were designed to cast Republicans as coldhearted defenders of privilege. But Republicans stood firm. “Whose side are we on?" responded Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M. “Make no bones about it. We are on the side of all Americans.” Sens. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., proposed shrinking the funds set aside for tax reductions by $100 billion and using them to ease the $256 billion in savings from Medicare Republicans propose. It was defeated on a near party-line 52-46 vote, and afterward GOP senators fired back. By 51-47, the Senate rejected another Democratic amendment, which would have reduced the size of the potential tax cut by $40 billion and used the money to restore cuts in education, another of the party’s top priorities. Today In History By The Associated Press Today is Tuesday, May 23, the 143rd day of 1995. There are 222 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On May 23, 1934, bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death in a police ambush as they were driving a stolen Ford Deluxe along a road in Bienville Parish, La. On this date: In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English. In 1533, the marriage of England’s King Henry VHI to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void. In 1701, Capt. William Kidd was hanged in London after he was convicted of piracy and murder In 1788, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the United States Constitution. In 1873, Canada’s North West Mounted Police force was established. In 1895, IOO years ago, the New York Public Library had its origins with an agreement combining the city’s existing Astor and Lenox libranes. In 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary in World War I. In 1937, industnalist John D. Rockefeller died in Ormond Beach, Fla. In 1940, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, the Pied Pipers and featured soloist Frank Sinatra recorded “ITI Never Smile Again” in New York for RCA. In 1945, 50 years ago, Nazi official Heinrich Himmler committed suicide while imprisoned in Luneburg, Germany. In 1960, Israel announced it had captured former Nazi official Adolf Eich-mann in Argentina. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of former Nixon White House aides H.R. Halde-man and John Ehrlichman and former Attorney General John N. Mitchell in connection with their Watergate convictions. Ten year* ago: Thomas Patrick Cavanagh, an aerospace engineer who admitted toying to sell “stealth” bomber secrets to the Soviet Union, was sentenced in Los Angeles to life in pnson. Five year* ago: The Soviet Union unveiled an economic-reform program that included plans for a national referendum. Neil Bush, son of the president, denied any wrongdoing as a director of a failed Denver savings-and-loan in testimony before Congress. One year ago: Funeral services woe held at Arlington National Cemetery for former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. “Pulp Fiction” by American director Quentin Tarantino won the Golden Palm for best film at the 47th Cannes Film Festival. ;