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Newsletter, Chat with Chic: A report from Washington, September 19, 1986



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Chat Chic A Report from September 19, 1986 By U.S. Senator Chic Hecht During my recent Chat with Chic tour of the state, I was complimented by a black woman in North Las Vegas for voting FOR the bill that imposed sanctions against South Africa because of its racial policies. Although I was aware that she would be displeased with my answer, I politely told her that she was in error: I did not vote| for H.R. 4868 (The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986), I voted against it and I told her why. That major piece of legislation passed the United States Senate in August by 84-14 vote. Among other things, it imposed a ban on loans in the South African government and its entities; put a ban on the export of hi-tech materials; and placed restrictions on imports of arms or military equipment, krugerrands and other South African coins. It also mandated sanctions on new investments by U.S. firms in South Africa and on imports of crude oil and petroleum products, textiles and agricultural products. And it put into effect an immediate ban on all air links between our country and theirs. I assume proponents of the bill believe that these sanctions will make that government bring radical changes needed in solving racial problems in that troubled country. I strongly disagree. First of all, let me make it clear that no senator I know supports the racist policies of South Africa. Consequently, the issue before the Senate at the time we voted was not whether apartheid is evil. The issue was how can the U.S. best aid South Africa in its move to dismantle apartheid and bring greater freedom and prosperity to its people. Sanctions surely are not the answer, despite the emotional lopsided vote in the Senate on H.R. 4868. Currently, we have varying degrees of economic sanctions against a dozen other countries with a dismal success rate. Chat with Chic, page 2 Further, sanctions are going to have the largest impact on non-whites, both South Africans and those from neighboring countries. Last year, in reaction to sanctions and from fear of political instability, 28 American companies withdrew from South Africa. Ironically, it is precisely the American companies which have been a thorn in the side of apartheid. In fact, Ford and IBM both promote trade union recognition and openly defy apartheid's job reservation and workplace segregation. We should recog-nize their role in improving the life of blacks in South Africa. Moreover, not all South African black and opposition leaders favor American and European disinvestment. The leader of more than 5,000,000 Zulus, who also is the president of the largest black South African political organization, opposes sanctions as do other trade union leaders who realize that embargoes only worsen the economic position of South African blacks. Finally, supporters of sanctions have claimed to have captured the moral high ground in this debate. Sanctions are supposed to display our contempt for South Africa's gross human rights abuses. Yet this stand is illogical and arbitrary. How many of those who support sanctions favor sanctions against the Soviet Union, communist China or the communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe, countries among the most repressive in the world's history. South Africans need our continued encouragement and support for progressive change now under way in that country. We should compliment, encourage and reward these changes rather than enact legislation which slows, stalls or reverses economic gains of majority of that country's population. Dear Chic: I wholly support your thinking on this situation, unfortunately Pres. Reagan, did not get the support he nedded to sustain his Veto. Unfortunately to many voted from emotions, ard pressure, rahter than well thought out thinking. Be thfit as it may I congrat ulate you on your stand, and hope that you will always continue to really think out your votes. All good, Personally, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Pete Kelley October 3, 1986 (702) 885-9111 By U.S. Senator Chic Hecht It's been nearly four years now that I've had the privilege of serving in the United States Senate. I like the job and I thank the people of Nevada who, in 1982, gave me this tremendous opportunity to serve. During this time, and as part of my Senate duties, I've presided over the U.S. Senate many, many times. This is a job customarily relegated to junior members, partly to help "break them in," and partly to help them get a real feel for Senate procedures and customs. I've really enjoyed this assignment, and have twice been presented the "Golden Gavel" award for the long hours spent in the president's seat. Sometimes, as most are aware, the Senate floor can be a deserted place with few participants; but, on other occasions it can be an arena alive with heated debate erupting on both sides of the political aisle. It is then that I particularly enjoy the role of presiding officer, for there are many who are excellent debaters, matching wits with one another in an effort to make telling points. Such was the case with the recent debate on the tax reform bill, perhaps the major piece of legislation to get through this Congress. As presiding officer on a number of occasions, I had an exceedingly good opportunity to listen to both sides of this complex issue. And complex it was, for the so-called "revised" bill was more than 1,000 pages long. A Report from Washington Chat with Chic Although I have some reservations about the bill, I voted for it with the realization that it at least is a start in the right direction and brings meaningful reform to our tax code. I fully realize too that the bill, like so many other pieces of legislation, undoubtedly will be fine-tuned with amendments by another Congress. On the plus side, the bill will take six million low-income tax-payers, including 700,000 elderly Americans, off the tax rolls. It lowers individual rates, closes loopholes, and makes more Americans pay their fair share of taxes. However, I'm very concerned that other provisions are clearly anti-business and could have a detrimental effect on our economy. This is one reason why it may be necessary to go back and fine-tune some parts of the bill next year. I'm also against the restrictions placed on Individual Retirement Accounts. IRAS have helped encourage millions of Americans, including many with moderate incomes, to save for their retirement. IRAs have also benefited the economy by generating new savings, by providing capital for business growth, and by enlarging the stable pool of saving available for longterm investment. Also, I'm concerned by new tax rules applied to investors in limited partnerships and particularly to the retroactive restrictions imposed on millions of Americans who have invested and committed future funds in good faith, based on existing laws. Now, to take away the incentives that were a critical part of the investment decision in the middle of the game is outright unfair. The treatment of capital gains as ordinary income, the retroactive restrictions placed on federal employee pensions, and the limitation of business meals and entertainment deductions to 80 percent of actual expenses are other provisions that concern me. But, like it or not, we've now got it and much of it takes effect on January 1. Whether the bill really will bring improvement to our tax situation remains to be seen. Hopefully, it will. Chic: Your points are well taken, just remember that we in business are individuals, and you can't always have your cake and eat it to. I feel that the one Issue that should be amended is the I.R.A, it taught saving for many people that never saved before, and the principle and advantage should be kep in force, and maybe strength-n ened in some way. You think like a business man, and yet you still v / see the individual's view point also, that is commendable, keep it All good. Personally,