Former Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon, who has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for president, was elected president of the U.S. Olympic Committee on Saturday.
The USOC will surely benefit from Simon's tenure because he is a man of great energy and ability. However, the wire service story we used in our first Sunday edition worried me a little.
It quoted Simon as referring to the "unfortunate boycott of the Moscow Games." That made it appear he considered the boycott "unfortunate."
Just as that edition was going to press, a dispatch arrived from our own staff writer, Barry Lorge, who was in Colorado Springs to cover the proceedings. Lorge's story, which we used in all subsequent editions, put things into perspective by reminding us that Simon had been a strong supporter of the boycott -- as had most Americans.
I called Lorge on Sunday and asked him about the wire service story. Lorge said, "I don't think he used the word 'unfortunate,' and if he did it was certainly not meant to convey the impression that we did the wrong thing. Simon supported our boycott of the Moscow Games and thinks it was highly effective."
I was glad to have that reassurance. I want the world to know that the United States does not regret having taken a stand in opposition to international brigands, and that we make no apology for having done so. MEMO THE REFORMERS
So long as we're talking about presidents, I'd like to say a few things about presidents of the United States.
While challengers campaign for office, they attack incumbents with vigor. They say the incumbent has erred, and they tell us with certainty what they will do differently.
But alas! Once they are elected, they begin fudging.
Reagan is still in favor of eliminating two Departments of government, but maybe not right away. He's still in favor of cutting taxes, but maybe not right away. He's still in favor of cutting foreign aid, but maybe not too much. He's still in favor of a many things, but he's in no hurry to give us specifics, although as a candidate he gave the impression he was certain of the course he would follow.
People out in the boonies may be impressed with campaign rhetoric, but Washingtonians know better. We don't expect too much, but we wish every newcomer well because our well-being depends upon his success.
I hope Reagan doesn't let anybody talk him out of his promise of tax reform. That, more than anything else, is what got him elected.
Carter promised tax reform but chickened out. He left us with a sense of outrage because the average wage-earner pays more than his fair share and the fellow who can afford crafty tax advice does not.
Here, for example, is an advertisement that appeared in the Wall Street Journal this week. It said:
"PAY ZERO INCOME TAX! Internationally known tax and legal experts show you how to reduce, defer, eliminate personal income tax, eliminate corporate tax, avoid probate. Gain a complete understanding of the 'no tax' philosophy. tLearn how to utilize foreign corporations, trusts and banks."
Mr. Reagan, you are well attuned to public opinion. I don't have to tell you how the average American feels about tax laws that punish wage-earners of modest means while some wealthy people pay little or nothing.
One other thing concerns me. Our present system of taxes permits the government to take away half of what a corporation earns, and then to take away to to 70 percent of what is left to pay shareholders for the use of their money. This double taxation of business profits leads to retail prices that are substantially higher than they would otherwise be. It is a major cause of inflation.
Putting an end to the double taxation of business will not endear you to some liberals, Mr. President. But few of them voted for you anyhow, so you might as well take a deep breath and say, as Admiral Farragut did, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead."
It's worth a try, sir. Your biggest problem will be in getting tax reform approved by congressmen who pass tax laws they don't understand and then must ask experts to make out their tax returns for them.
Good luck. You'll need it.