The Day the Balanced Budget through the Tobacco
Deal Blew Up.
On April 8th, 1998 the nation's major
cigarette makers declared last summer's historic tobacco deal dead. Congress had a
deal on the table with the big tobacco companies to commence on June 20th, where $368
billion were to be paid by the tobacco companies to the Federal government.
However the $368 billions, reported by a
representative of the big tobacco companies was reported as not enough dollars to satisfy
promises to consumers.
The deal could still be salvaged in part by
Congress which could pass limited legislation. Further, the end to the deal will
open up the companies to uninhibited lawsuits.
Please note that $65 billion dollars of the
arrangement has already been allocated by Congress over the next 5 years to pay for social
and medical programs.
President Clinton noted that the dollars to cover
these programs could be found else where and the budget could be balanced. However
the President on his return from a Chicago trip noted "I think they ought to rethink
their position because were going to get this done one way or the other."
Steven Goldstone RJR Nabisco Chairman told the
National Press Club "We have failed in our effort to achieve a comprehensive
resolution of the contentious issues surrounding tobacco in our country" and
indicated the deal was "broken beyond repair".
Now armed with the threat of public product
liability suits and probable sanctions against tobacco companies advertising, the war of
words between our nations politicians and the big tobacco companies continues.
However, the fact of the matter remains that once again, this nation must relieve history,
and please note that the moneys were already spent yet had not been collected!
Goldstone stated "The administration, while
publicly praising the concept, privately dismantled it piece by piece," he said.
"This resolution cried out for strong, bold political leadership.
Precious little was forthcoming."
He acknowledge the industry also shoulders the
blame for misunderstanding public anger about past industry practices such as targeting
"We did not fully appreciate the depth of
the mistrust and anger that existed," he said. "We did under-
estimate how angry people have been over this issue."
By Scott Neff MSOM DC DABCO MPS-BT CFC
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"Justice is Truth in Action" Benjamin
Disraeli , Feb, 11, 1851