A Capitol Hill Faux Pas – November 27, 1982

President Reagan and Howard Baker - Apparently, what he said and what he meant were two different things.

President Reagan and Howard Baker – Apparently, what he said and what he meant were two different things.

. . .or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS World News Roundup – November 27, 1982 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

November 27th in 1982 fell on a Saturday. Thoughts of Thanksgiving were now fading into memory. And even though it was a holiday weekend, that didn’t prevent a goodly degree of dust flying up from Capitol Hill and the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara.

Seems the flap had to do with talk of a proposed tax on Unemployment Benefits. Nothing like hitting people the most who needed it the least. The rather maladroit reasoning came via White House Counsellor Edwin Meese who was reported to have said taxing unemployment benefits made it more of an incentive for the unemployed to find work. The shock reverberating around Washington made it all the way back to Santa Barbara where President Reagan, still smarting under the recent polls which said he was regarded as a leader who cared little about the unemployed and the middle-class, took Meese to task for his out-of-touch proposal. The proposed legislation quickly and quietly vanished, amid back peddling the idea had not been formally presented to the President for consideration. But not before polls concluded Reagan offered further proof he cared little or nothing about the poor and unemployed.

Meanwhile, Japan had a new Prime Minister in the form of Yasuhiro Nakasone, and this was hoped to be a sign of easing trade frictions between the U.S. and Japan. Reagan called Nakasone to offer congratulations and an invite to Washington for a sit-down and talks. Smiles accompanied by crossed-fingers. However, all was not so gleeful in Tokyo as Nakasone was in the midst of withering accusations of Cabinet packing.

In India, French President Mitterand arrived in New Delhi for talks and approval of a plan to supply India with much-needed fuel for their nuclear reactor program. The concern arose as India had refused to ratify their nuclear non-proliferation treaty. However, French officials claimed to have received adequate assurances from the Indian government that spent fuel for the reactor would not be reprocessed into weapons-grade plutonium for an Indian Atomic Bomb. Two reasons the French were eager to accommodate the Indian government were the  $3 billion order for Mirage jet Fighters and bypassing the necessity for the Indian government to seek similar aid from the Soviets who, it was felt, would offer many more political strings in exchange.

The subject of World Protectionism came  up during the last day of talks in Geneva with the meeting of Free World Trade Ministers, with much hanging in the balance and disagreements still apparent.

And the KKK were planning a march in Washington this day, from the Capitol to the White House – the first such march since 1925.  It was expected to be considerably smaller than it was in 1925, when some thirty-five thousand showed up. The 1982 version promised less than 100 to join in the march. What was expected were many thousands more turning out to protest the presence of the KKK, and that had Washington D.C. nervous. With some 300 law enforcement stationed along the 1 mile parade route, civic leaders were asking for restraint on all sides – but nobody made any promises and there was a collective holding of breath on this day in 1982.

All that, and so much more as presented via The CBS World News Roundup.

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