"It's fascinating how independent women have become," writes Bob Orben. "I went to a wedding where the groom said, 'I do,' and the bride said, 'I might'". . . . My column on inflation psychology has drawn much comment. The most pointed response may have been from Frank L. Holloway, former associate professor of international business and marketing at American University. Frank wrote: "The ultimate answer -- not easily achieved -- is productivity leading consumption". . . . Fletcher Cox of Alexandria has been having a bad dream in which he's a freelance writer who has already spent the publisher's advance on a book he's to write titled, "The Wit and Wisdom of Jimmy Carter." An even worse assignment would be a book titled, "The Decisions Carter Should Have made." Would anybody with 20-20 hindsight like to volunteer?
The Wall Street Journal has given us a word that all rational Americans will hate at first sight: "middecade." Newspapers like The Washington Post pioneered the mad rush to banish hyphens from the language, with the result that headlines said silly things like "Dairy Coop Hit By Suit." Now that we have learned that "antibias" is not pronounced an-TIB-i-us, the Journal springs middecade on us, which turns out to mean "in the middle of the decade". . . . George Taylor of Bethesda questions my support for the graduated income tax and points out that even a flat percentage on all income would extract substantially more from the rich than from the poor. He says that what gives rise to the complicated system of deductions, exemptions, allowances, gimmicks and other tax dodges I complained about is that the rates in our graduated schedule go far too high. They take away half of income over $60,000 and as much as 70 percent in higher brackets. I wonder what George would have said about the bad old days in which federal income tax rates ran as high as 94 percent, and then cities, counties and states began trying to tax away whatever was left. . . . Incidentally, Carl H. Clawson Jr. of Rockville has a suggestion designed to encourage more people to file income tax returns: a federal lottery offering substantial prizes to a few lucky people who have filed accurate returns and paid up in full. Carl says the government loses billions of dollars because people who owe modest amounts don't even file. They assume it will not be worth the government's time to check up on them. A chance to win a $250,000 jackpot might help them reform.
The mother of a Washington Post carrier phoned me after she read Friday's column about home delivery routes. "I have a question for you," she said. "How can people who live in homes worth $100,000 to $200,000 ask the carrier to walk 150 feet uphill from the street to their front doors to place the paper carefully inside the storm door every morning -- and then have the nerve not to tip the boy for his faithful service in all kinds of weather?" It's a question I can't answer. A dollar tip added to each 4-week pay period would cost the householder only $13 a year and average out to only 3 1/2 cents a day -- not exactly enough to cause him to be mistaken for an Arab prince or The Last of the Big Spenders. . . . The B'nai B'rith International Convention that begins in Washington at the end of August will honor Danny Kaye for his work as UNICEF's "Ambassador to the World's Children" for more than 25 years.I wonder how many millions of dollars Danny has raised for starving children (and orchestra pension funds) during his long career. . . . Why do advertising copywriters insist on referring to "hot water heaters"? Wouldn't "water heaters" do? If the water is already hot, why heat it?
Speaking of copywriters: Wirth F. Ferger of Silver Spring says the Ford Motor Co. has been using a commercial that causes him mild amusement every time he hears it. The announcer boasts that the car he's selling has "an electronic computer that thinks twice before it wastes gas." Ferger says he'd be more impressed with a computer that avoids wasting gas because it thinks twice. . . . Robert L. Kinney of Silver Spring voices a fear that has been lurking in many minds in recent weeks: Are the Iranian terrorists refusing to let anybody see all our hostages because some have been harmed? Or are they just being sadistic?. . . . Bob Batz wonders whether you've heard about the tattooed sailor who went around with a ship on his shoulder. . . . Herm Albright of the Perry Township (Ind.) Weekly reports there's a car with a personalized license tag that counsels, "GO 4 IT". . . . Politics is like this: When President Carter's budget wasn't balanced, people said, "No wonder we have inflation. The federal budget is in the red." Now that Carter has asked Congress to cut spending and balance the budget, the same people say, "A balanced budget isn't all that important. It will cut inflation by less than 1 percent." Some years you can't win for losing.