From a Speech By Speaker of the House Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill on Oct. 22:
This weekend, an article by David S. Broder in The Washington Post gave President Reagan credit for spending more time helping his political party than any president in history.
The latest example of the president's party-building is the Senate Incumbents Protection Act of 1985. The purpose of this legislation is to give 22 senators credit for being rough and tough budget-cutters without getting their hands dirty. When it comes to fiscal responsibility, their slogan appears to be: brag now, pay later.
As drafted by its sponsors, Gramm- Rudman would have taken effect immediately. It would have required additional spending cuts in the current fiscal year and deep cuts for next year, just prior to the election.
As redrafted on the Senate floor, the bill serves only a political purpose. To enlist support in the Senate, the numbers in the bill were changed to eliminate any impact this year and to soften the blow next year.
Yesterday, Franco Modigliani of (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) attacked what he called a "nearly meaningless exercise." "If you are not going to cut the budget yourself," he testified, "I see little reason why you should dictate to others how to do it."
It does not take a Nobel Prize-winning economist to see that a political game is being played.