Sunday, November 10, 2002

Letter to Tim Russert

Here's a letter I just sent Tim Russert of Meet the Press:

Dear Mr. Russert,

I've been watching MTP for a few years now, and I want to commend you on an excellent show. In my opinion, you are by far the best moderator in this format today. You are respectful, yet challenging with your guests. Like every American, you have your own political opinions, but (by and large) they do not enter into your interview questions or style. I hope that you are able to maintain this kind of impartial and insightful interviewing as you continue at MTP.

I would like to make two additional and specific comments.

First, I think it would be very helpful to the American people if you decided to moderate a discussion or debate on one of the most devisive issues of modern American politics: abortion rights. I think that a formal discussion or debate moderated by yourself could be very helpful in allowing each side to make its case in the clearest way possible.

Second, I'd like to comment on the Bush tax cut and its cost, an issue which you often bring up with your political guests. While a static analysis of economics might conclude that the President's tax cut is taking moneys out of the federal treasury that could be used for a variety of excellent programs, such an analysis seems to me to be flawed. Why? Because history does not bear out this perspective. If one compares federal revenue in real dollars at the beginning of the 1980's -- before President Reagan's tax cuts -- and at the end of the same decade, after those tax cuts had taken full effect, one finds that federal revenue increased, because they stimulated long-term economic growth, which led to greater tax dollars being paid, even though taxes were lower as a percentage of income. The deficits of the 1980's came not from lower taxes, but massive spending increases. Is it not at least possible -- if not likely -- that the same will hold true with this president's tax cut?

In concluding, I want to reiterate my high esteem for you and the job you do at MTP.

Chris Burgwald

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