To those of you reading your first issue of REASON, a word of explanation is in order. As it says on the cover, this is a "special financial issue"—something we've been doing once a year since 1974. That original issue offered ideas on such radical moves as buying gold (which sold for under $150 an ounce and was then illegal to own, unless you went through the fiction of being a coin collector) and silver (then selling for just under $4 an ounce). People responded enthusiastically to the idea of somewhat unconventional advice on protecting themselves from government-created inflation. And thus we ended up with a tradition of devoting one issue each year to this theme. I hope you find it interesting and useful. If not, stick around—we'll be back to our usual investigative reporting and analysis and commentary next month.
Publicity over our Love Canal exposé continues to grow. On March 18 author Eric Zuesse appeared on the Larry King radio show in Washington—the nation's number-one syndicated talk show, heard all over the country. One of those who heard the show was Ted Koppel, host of ABC News Nightline. Impressed, he contacted Zuesse and during the next week did location filming for a half-hour show on the true story of Love Canal. Originally scheduled to air March 30 or 31, it was postponed because of media coverage of the Reagan assassination attempt. Meanwhile, on March 21, the Hamilton, Ontario Spectator (circulation: 200,000) reprinted REASON's story. Discover magazine devoted a page of its April issue to our findings. And the Detroit News in an editorial and National Review in a news item pointed to REASON's coverage of Love Canal.
REASON people really do get around. Long-time contributor Bruce Bartlett, who has previously worked for Rep. Jack Kemp and Sen. Roger Jepsen, has now become deputy director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. His book Reaganomics has just been published by Arlington House. Health & Welfare columnist Durk Pearson was recently interviewed on the Jim White show on KMOX, the CBS radio affiliate in St. Louis. Durk's and Sandy Shaw's book, Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach, is due out in June from Warner Books. Senior Editor Tibor Machan recently returned from Guatemala, where he delivered a series of lectures at the free-market-oriented Universidad Francisco Marroquin. And on my recent trip to Boston I made a number of appearances to explain how the ideas in my book, Cutting Back City Hall, could help local governments in Massachusetts cope with the revenue cutbacks of Proposition 2½. I spent a very enjoyable two hours on contributing editor David Brudnoy's top-rated radio talk show.
Here's another follow-up to our data privacy article (Jan.). Cryptography researchers at MIT are quite concerned about the recommendations of the Public Cryptography Study Group. MIT provost Francis Low told Science (March 13) that even so-called voluntary prior restraints on publishing research papers "pose serious problems for universities and for society in general.…The prior restraints will impede what we do and will not succeed in keeping secrets." Amplifying on the latter point, Low said, "My impression of cryptography is that the cat is already out of the bag. All you would gain by secrecy is one or two years of lead time in proliferation. What you would lose is commercial dissemination in a society that is rapidly becoming more computerized." Which was precisely the point of our article.
Who says politicians can't learn? Listen to New York Mayor Ed Koch, formerly a big-spending liberal member of Congress: "There is no question that there is a decided difference in what I did as a Congressman and what I am doing as mayor when it comes to spending money. It isn't a difference in philosophy. It is that I didn't understand what I was doing when I was in Congress, because in Congress you spend other people's money. In Congress you are not aware of the cost of the programs because either the federal government is spending it and they print the dollars or, worse, you impose the cost on the cities. You just tell them what to do but you don't give them the money to do it. So now I'm an executive. I look at what has to be done and I say to myself, how could I have voted for those dumb programs?" (Wall Street Journal, Mar. 10).