Balance Sheet



Apple Bites. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sheds his squishy-moderate image and proposes the city spend $30.5 billion less in fiscal 1996 than it will this year. This 4-percent cut, the largest since the Great Depression, will hit schools, parks, sanitation, and welfare. Only the cops will get more money.

Weapons Check. The Virginia legislature ignores a personal, emotional appeal from the wheelchair-bound James Brady and votes to let law-abiding adults carry concealed weapons. Joining 13 other states with liberal "concealed-carry" laws, the legislature allows anyone who has a clean record, $35, and a photo ID to get a concealed-weapons permit.

Spanish Lessons. Mexico could learn plenty from Peru. The South American country has weathered 8,000-percent inflation, a four-year spell in which the economy shrank by 25 percent, and Shining Path terrorists to record 12-percent growth last year—the highest rate on the planet. One key to Peruvian success, reports The New York Times, is privatization. The government has raised $3.2 billion selling 49 state companies and plans to sell another 26, including steel mills, electric plants, mines, and the railroad.

Bank Note. Rejecting the American habit of bailing out corporations, financial institutions, and countries (remember Mexico?), British authorities let Barings bank go bust. By letting a 233-year-old institution fail, writes Washington Post columnist Jim Glassman, the Bank of England sent "a strong warning to other financial firms that it will punish poor judgment, poor management or even bad luck." Had U.S. officials eliminated deposit insurance when they deregulated savings and loans, the S&L disaster would have been a mere nuisance.


Labor Pains. The White House ratchets up the war against immigration—and business. The Los Angeles Times says President Clinton wants to hire 570 new INS and Labor Department investigators to harass and, in some cases, seize the assets of businesses suspected of hiring undocumented workers. Even California Gov. Pete Wilson's immigration adviser says Clinton's "employer vilification" goes too far.

Off Message. As the Senate considers reining in government—repealing the 1993 tax increases, curbing federal regulations, and repealing the assault-weapons ban—Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says Congress should take on another regulatory crusade: Outlaw flag burning. On Fox Morning News, Hatch says he'll push a constitutional amendment to protect "our national symbol."

Time Tunnel. Economists Joel Kotlikoff of Boston University, Alan Auerbach of the University of California, and Jagadeesh Gokhale of the Cleveland Fed make a chilling prediction about the true cost of entitlements. They project that Social Security, Medicare, government pensions, and interest on the debt will require future generations to pay "net lifetime tax rates" of 84 percent. Good news, Gen Xers: The bills come due when the boomers retire.

Children's Hours. The Federal Communications Commission considers forcing television stations to carry a minimum number of hours of children's "educational" programming each week. While the FCC would let broadcasters pay other stations to fulfill part of the mandate, this bogus "market mechanism" looks more like a way for PBS affiliates to extort money from commercial broadcasters.