Today's Papers

The Loan Arranger

Domestic issues reign today. The New York Times and Los Angeles Times lead with the AFL-CIO’s open-ended loan to the Teamsters to help during the UPS strike. The Washington Post goes with the steep decline in the welfare rolls in the year since welfare reform went into effect–a story USA Today already did earlier this week. And USAT leads with findings that a new heart drug is extremely effective in saving the lives of angioplasty patients.

However, the whole point of the USAT piece is that the drug’s expense could limit its availability to only the very sickest people. But it’s hard to evaluate this claim because USAT’s only statement about expense is the unqualified assertion that the drug “costs $1,350.” For how much? And does that amount yield the life-saving result? (If so, it seems like a bargain.)

The two Times each report that John Sweeney, AFL-CIO president, announced yesterday that the unions affiliated with his organization would lend the Teamsters $10 million a week–to be used for strikers’ benefits–for “many, many weeks.” Both papers quote Sweeney saying, “Because their fight is our fight, we are making this strike our strike.” The loan shows how high the stakes are, not just for UPS, and for the Teamsters, but also for the entire labor movement. UPS chairman James Kelly responded with the warning that a two-week strike could mean the layoff of 15,000 union workers and once again called for President Clinton to intervene.

The NYT reports that UPS is losing between $30-$50 million a day, and the LAT says the dispute “is on its way to becoming the biggest and costliest strike in a generation.”

The Post welfare piece includes this statement made yesterday by President Clinton: “But a year later, I think it’s fair to say the debate is over. We now know that welfare reform works.” There’s also mention of a White House study’s conclusion that about 40 percent of the decline in welfare rolls is attributable to the economy, with 31 percent based on state welfare policy changes, and the remaining 29 percent being caused by “other factors.”

The NYT reports that the American Medical Association has agreed for the first time ever to allow its name to be used in paid endorsements of health-related products–made by the Sunbeam Corp.

The Wall Street Journal’s “Tax Report” reports that corporate taxes now account for only 13 percent of total IRS collections, down from 24 percent in 1960. The column also reveals that since the tax bill began taking shape, the price of H&R Block shares has gone up about 30 percent.

In her column today, Maureen Dowd of the NYT assumes the persona of JFK Jr. to explain the editorial stance of George magazine thus: “I’ve heard about substance abuse, and I’m staying away from substance.”