Balance Sheet



No Chip Dip. For the first time since 1986, American computer-chip makers pass Japanese companies in total market share. U.S. firms have focused on making microprocessors and other "smart" chips. The Japanese instead followed MITI central planners and made memory chips. This cheap manufacturing is now moving to South Korea and Taiwan.

Fanny Fees. How to privately finance a stadium: Make the fans pay. Charlotte, North Carolina, wants a National Football League expansion franchise. It doesn't have a stadium. So, for a one-time fee of $500 to $5,000, a season-ticket holder can purchase the right to buy a specific seat forever. Franchise investors hope fans will ante up $150 million to build a 70,000-seat stadium.

Fruit Looped. Fresno farmer Dan Gerawan tries to sell undersized peaches below cost to markets in South-Central Los Angeles. Sorry, say federal peach enforcers: Marketing orders limit what sizes of fruit can legally be sold. To the rescue comes U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger. He refuses to enforce fines against Gerawan, saying "fruit size should be up to the consumer."

Green Eyeshades. The California Coastal Commission approves construction of a 17.5-mile toll road through wetlands in economically stagnant Orange County. Viros scream. Commission Vice Chairwoman Lily Cervantes replies, "The environment includes people. When someone is unemployed…their environment is changed."


Another WINner? Gerald Ford held an economic summit in 1974. The result: the Whip Inflation Now fiasco. Bill Clinton plans his own summit in Little Rock. Since none of Clinton's economic advisers are real economists, this powwow may be worse than Ford's. At least Jerry came up with those neat buttons.

Revolution Reversed. The annual survey British Social Attitudes bodes ill for Thatcherism. Only 29 percent of the respondents agree that "the less government intervenes, the better it is for the economy." The Economist says the survey also finds "growing support…for state subsidy for industry." Eighty-four percent favor government jobs programs, 67 percent import controls, and 60 percent price controls.

Soggy Bottom. Before the election, George Bush promised to loosen federal wetlands rules. In mid-November, the lame duck ducks this regulatory swamp. Bush will make Bill Clinton define how wet a wetland must be. (See "The Swamp Thing," Apr. 1991.) One Bush official tells the Los Angeles Times, "Why bother?…Let [Clinton] have the headache."

Tax Blight. From 1981 to 1991, notes the Tax Foundation, state taxes rose by 6.6 percent—faster than per-capita income's 5.6-percent rise. Despite the 1991 antitax backlash, states have raised taxes $5.5 billion for fiscal year 1993. No wonder your wallet seems lighter.