And Now for Some Meaningful Hearings Leave Whitewater to the Prosecutor; Let Congress Investigate Its Own Ties to Monied Interests

Article excerpt

IS it just me, or are you also bored to tears with the third and fourth set of Whitewater hearings that the Congress has held during the past two years?

It has cost $25 million in taxpayer dollars to determine, so far, that the president and Mrs. Clinton claimed a few thousand in questionable tax deductions and did not pay as much attention to their personal finances in Arkansas as they should have.

The foot soldiers in both the Republican and Democratic parties on Capitol Hill are sparring and jousting in both banking committees to score political points in a tedious display of partisan one-upmanship.

How Bill Clinton raised campaign contributions and handled (or mishandled) his personal finances in Arkansas in 1985 may interest die-hard opponents of the president, but I suspect most Americans have more immediate concerns about themselves, their families, and their country.

Enough is enough about Whitewater! The special prosecutor remains hard at work, so the Congress should let him do his job. I can think of scores of more important questions that should be front and center in the Congress and on the public airwaves.

Questions such as:

Why is the gap between wealthy citizens on the one hand and middle- and low-income citizens on the other hand wider and increasing faster in the United States than in any other industrialized nation?

Why are so many Americans working longer hours for less take-home pay, despite official claims that the US economy is rocking right along?

Why don't we have a plan to eliminate our nation's record-high trade deficit in addition to a plan to eliminate the budget deficit?

Why do 5 million children go to bed hungry every night in America?

Perhaps more to the point, why not investigate the way special-interest money from the financial industry in America is thrown at virtually every member of the House and Senate Banking Committees for their reelection campaigns?

The 51 members of the House Banking Committee received at least $4.6 million in 1991-93 from political-action committees (PACS) and individuals with financial interests overseen by the committee now sitting in judgment of the Clintons. These special-interest campaign contributions are flowing at an even faster clip this election cycle.

Even worse, the corrosive influence of big money from special interests with well-heeled lobbyists working the halls of the 104th Congress has become epidemic. …