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January 16, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-01-16

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Page 4-Tuesday, January 16, 1979-The Michigan Daily

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420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

Out of the pan and

. . .

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 88

News Phone: 764-0552

-4

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

The resident and women

a
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SIGNIFICANT portion of the
coalition that elected President
Jimmy Carter in 1976 seems to be
crumbling under the excessive weight
of the President's austere budget
policies.
First, Bella Abzug, the co-
chairwoman of the White House
Adivsory Committee on Women, was
fired by Mr. Carter after the
committee had released a statement
critical of the President's anti-inflation
program shortly before the committee
met with Mr. Carter on Friday..
Second, United Auto Worker's
President Douglas Fraser blasted Mr.
Carter's "meat axe" approach to
proposed budget cuts for social
programs Sunday night at the union's
annual legislative conference in
,Washington. Fraser told the 1,000
delegates gathered there, "It's going
to be up to us in the next two months to
make the White House quit listening to
the rhetoric of the dollar traders and
start listening to the voice of the
people."
In an attempt to fight inflation and
slash the budget deficit Mr. Carter is
shuffling the priorities of his
administration at the expense of those
traditionally represented by the
Democratic Party: the poor, the black,
women, and the disenfranchised. In so
doing, the President is not only risking
his chances for reelection, but he is
threatening to split the Democratic
Party down the middle, increase class
and racial tensions in the country, and
inhibit the opportunity for women to
become equal in a society that pledges
equality.
* The firing of Ms. Abzug was
certainly precipitated by political
considerations. The White House
Advisory Committee on Women had
released a critique of Carter's fiscal
policy that simply pointed out some
simple truths. The wage guidelines
proposed by the Carter Administration
will discourage the upward mobility of
women in corporate and industrial
structures. Women, who have been
traditionally paid less than men for
identical tasks, were hoping the Carter
Administration would work
substantively for women's rights. Mr.
Carter's fiscal policies have dashed
those hopes and the advisory panel

wanted to point that out. Ms. Abzug
was told she had been dismissed after
a meeting with two of Mr. Carter's
most politically oriented advisors,
Hamilton Jordan and Robert Lipshutz.
Clearly the administration felt the
role of the committee was to advise,
not to go public with pointed criticism
of Mr. Carter's policies. But if Mr.
Carter was looking for a yes-person, he
made a poor choice when he picked
Ms. Abzug. Women can be justifiably
concerned that the President and his
men will not tolerate honest criticisms
of their economic policies, especially
when the criticism is made public.
MR. FRASER'S sharp criticisms
of the administration's policies
is a cause for further concern at the
White House. It was Mr. Fraser's
predecessor, Leonard Woodcock, who
jumped on the Carter bandwagon early
~in 1976 and showed that a southerner
could garner the support of northern
industrial unions. The UAW hoped to
replace Republican leadership in the
White House and Republican economic
policies on money and the budget. So
they ,opted for the Democratic
frontrunner, hoping to strengthen the
party and elect him in November. Now
they are wondering if they did not, in
fact, elect a Republican who has
recently done away with his donkey
suit.
It was Mr. Fraser and Detroit's
Mayor Coleman Young who led the
fight against Carter's economic
policies at the mid-term Democratic
convention in Kansas City recently.
Mr. Young was also an early supporter
of Jimmy Carter in 1976, a significant
member of the black community who
offered the candidate needed support.
Mr. Young's concern is that the
President's budget advisors will end
the federal assistance the nation's
major cities need, while favoring a five
per cent increase in defense spending,
an area of the budget candidate Carter
had pledged to cut.
What is important is that significant
members of the traditional
Democratic coalition realize the
commonality of their plight. Women's
groups and organized labor should let
Mr. Carter know that his budget
priorities will be met with no support
at the polls.

_ -
THE FALLING DOLLAR
By Felix G. Rohatyn

As we begin the final year of the "Me
Decade," everyone seems to agree what an
undramatic, uneventful and unchallenging
time the 1970s have turned out to be.
But after coping for three years with the
national problems, and downright follies, that
prey not just on New York City, but on
communities all over the country, I don't see
things that way.
America, I am convinced, is on the brink
of a national crisis just as severe as the fiscal
crisis which New York, in its former
arrogance and complacency, never saw
coming back in 1975. We may luxuriate in
apathy. But we live in unusual, confusing
times, and bizarre things are happening.
Condiser the said pass to which our national
political debate has come in so many vital
areas:
Washington proposes to save the dollar by
selling our gold and to control inflation by a
"guaranteed-to-be-mild" recession. We can
balance the budget, we are told, by increasing
defense spending while cutting back on the
poor and the cities, even though the decay of
urban America would be more explosive than
Soviet ambitions. We begin our negotiations
with the oil producing countries, which have
already bankrupted the western world, with,
the proposition that a further seven per cent
price increase would be modest and only
make up for the erosion of the dollar which
the OPEC nations eroded in the first place.
Meanwhile a theological argument takes
place among economists (who, together with
dermatologists, never seem to solve
anybody's problemsbut always travel first
class) as to whether we are headed for amild
recession, or a rolling readjustment, or
stagflation, or anything as long as it doesn't
sound serious and frighten anybody. Then
there is Howard Jarvis-whose Proposition 13
is.as effective a weapon to deal with our
problems as a neurosurgeon operating with a
meat axe-acclaimed in Washington as a
modern Moses down from the mountain with
the tablets.
Just as in the 1960s all truth and wisdom
was supposed to reside in that segment of our
population barely beyond puberty, so today
the conventional wisdoms are handed down to
us by self-styled conservatives whose
economic notions are Alice in Wonderland.
All this may seem a little strange. But it
should not be surprising when we look at how

we elect our government and how our leaders,
once elected, then govern.
How can a democracy produce serious
leadership when the voters don't take the
democratic choice of their leaders seriously?
In the last election, almost two out of three
people of .voting age did not exercise their
franchise. The 37 per cent of the people
dragging themselves to the polls were sold
candidates the way Proctor & Gamble sells}
detergents-through TV commercials. With
opinion polls telling the candidates what the
voters wanted to hear, a minority of the
electorate gives power, with few exceptions,
to men and women who follow rather than
lead.
Today, despite our great wealth and even
greater apathy, we face grave dangers and
uncertainities. Our economy is out of control,
our currency is in danger, our institutions of
government unresponsive or inept.
We tend constantly to forget that our
national wellbeing depends much more on
whether we can make our system work than
on the size of our cruise missile or the killing
range of the neutron bomb. This means
controlling inflation for the housewife in
Columbus, providing education and
employment for the young black in Harlem,
and providing a hard dollar for the gnome in
Zurich.
We are, by any standard, the richest
country in the world. Yet we squander our
resources, and our proud democratic
heritage, with contempt in the way' we
abdicate our responsibility to vote, contempt
in the way we go about our way of life,
contempt in our acceptance of mediocre -
leadership.,
Commitment is not fashionable these days.
Cool is the order of the day. Today, men with
blood thin as water flaunt their passions as
cold as ice.
But commitment is not yet a museum piece.
We have learned that, the hard way, in New
York over the past three years. Commitment
saved New York City from a bankruptcy to
which it had been led by many cool and
sophisticated people. New York did not go
down because we would not let it, because we
willed it not to.
At a time of visible, palpable crisis people
rallied around private citizens and
politicians, Democrats and Republicans,
union leaders and bankers first, with a

program to stem the tide, second with a
program to rebuild the foundation, third with
a program for recovery. Recovery may still
be a long way off, but we have turned the
corner and laid the foundation.
America at the beginning of 1979 is not so
different from New York City in 1975. The
similarities, in fact, are rather striking:
" America as a whole is relying on
increasing deficits, internal and external,
year after year, and papering them over with
accounting gimmicks, in order to sidestep
politically difficult national decisions;
* American as a whole is borrowing more
and more money to finance those deficits
(N.Y. used short term notes, the U.S. is using
Arab oil money), while neglecting capital
formtion, with resulting dramatic
deterioration of physical plant;
" America as a whole is creating greater
and greater hidden fiscal liabilities for the
future in the form of unfunded private and
public pension and other obligations:
" The whole country is losing private sector
jobs, the way New York once did, driving
them out with high taxes and low
productivity.
. And the nation is continuing to absorb
large numbers of illegal immigrants at a time
of high unemployment.
In the face of such problems, New York was
asked to prepare a comprehensive, multi-
year program to cope with its crisis.
Is it too much to ask the nation to do the
samething today?
The truth is that we are at war today-just
as much as we were at war with racial
prejudice during the civil rights movement,
or at war over the morality of our foreign
policy and government ethics during the
Indochina conflict and Watergate.
We are at war today with inflation, with
unemployment, with lack of education with
continuing racial discrimination.
Furthemore, in spite of all the talk and
complacency, we are not winning. If we lose,
our system of government may not survive.
Whether we wind up with left-wing or right-
wing authoritarianism is irrelevant; poision
is as lethal served from the left as from the
right.
New York City found itself at war and put in
motion the equivalent of a wartime austerity
program and coalition government. A
coalition national government should manage
a similar program for America.
The hour is very late, almost as late for the
-U.S. as it was for New York in 1975. In the
city, we fought against fiscal bankruptcy; in
the nation today, we must fight a far more
pervasive and sublte kind of bankruptcy.
Can a democracy only find leadership,
nobility of purpose and sacrifice when the
crisis has already struck, when events
already have started over ,the brink of
disaster?
Or are we capable of rising to our best in
times when the crisis is only dimly perceived,
when intelligent action now can save us so
much grief later?
The answer will determine whether these
will be remembered as the years "nothing
happened," or the time Americans acted
before it wastoo late.
A partner at Lizard Freres, frequently
mentioned as a possible Secretary of
Treasury, Felix Rohatyn helped New
York City escape bankruptcy, and is now
retiring as chairman of the city's "BIG
MAC," Municipal Assistance
Organization. New York may be out of
the woods, but the outspoken financier
fears America may be headed for another
kind of default. This article was written
for Pacific News Service.

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Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con-
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as well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub-
mit them.
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Letters
The need for student activism today

Flt T..R ALYYU WEAK- I HAVE NO
LIVEEC p~ Tb
POLE-CA! PO 50

To the Daily:
In three Daily letters, there
has been some serious doubt
expressed by students as to the
exact nature of the current
generation of college students. In
the discussion of the "young" or
"unselfish" or "Me" type of
generation we are a part of,
several, features of student
activism have been missing (to
varying degrees).
First, the conception of the 60's
are a single, active, generation
deserves examination. The 60's
meant many things to many
people; no one view could hope to
include the variety of perceptions
and events. The task of students
in the late 70's, particularly at
this campus, is now to gather and
organize the history of student
activism, and to learn from it.
For as one studies the history of
60's activism, it becomes readily
apparent that the same social
conditions which gave rise to
activism have not disappeared.
Second, student activism has
not ceased since the fabled 60's. I
use the term "fabled;" because it
is in the best interests of those
known as the "Establisment" to
distort the personalities and
events of the 60's. What is worse
is that our own University seeks
to nromote this myth to students.

In the March 16 Regents
'meeting last year, 500 people
rallied to call for University
divestment of its funds from
corporations doing business in
South Africa. This same issue
provoked the tactic of the "sit-in"
in New York in 1962, with fewer
than one hundred participating.
So the question becomes, what
makes activism necessary
today? Primarily, because the
same social conditions which
gave rise to campus unrest
remain largely unchanged. Since
1973, the University of Michigan
has failed to meet its own
commitment to affirmative
action, for students and for
faculty. 1978 is the second
straight year of declining black
student enrollment, while in the
college of LSA, 18 departments
employ no minorities, and five
have no women members. Last
year, 70 Opportunity Program
scholarships were eliminated;
and outstanding teachers such as
Joel Samoff have been denied
tenure.
In each of these cases,
Univesity and LSA
administrators claim "budget
difficulties;" yet strangely find
enough money to rebuild the law
libarary, the hospital, and to put
rusty hunks of iron on the corner

To put student politics into a
larger context, ,one LSAT Dean
stated last year:
"This is a research institution,
and you can't change it."
That is precisely what
administrators would like
students to believe. Yet on this
campus right now, there are a
number of groups one could call
"active." And it is indeed another
myth to lump all such groups into
one category-the Left is not one
homogenous mass or purpose and
ideology. There a fair number of
groups advocating "the
proletarian line" or something to
that effect, and it is truely
unfortunate that all activist
groups are characterized by the
dogmatic, rhetorical few. For
there are many more groups on
cmapus with a student
orientation, focusing upon the
quality of education which
students receive, and working to
improve upon it.
In looking backwards to the
60's, what is of paramount
importance is that in 1978,
students still have no "right" to
determine who shall teach them,
who their peers shall be, and

where our tuition money goes. In
essence, student activism is the
search for those rights, which are
important to students, and to
pressure administrators into
recognizing them. Groups such
as the Samoff Student Support
Committee, People's Action
Coaliton and others hve made
these issues the basis of our
concerns, and are actively
seeking to unite students around
common concerns.
In essence, the fundamental
paradox of the University is its
claim that students can receive
an education here which will
allow them to shape their
lives-while maintaining that
students have no "right" to
substantially direct educational
process and policy. College is
another step in learning for
students, not the beginning. Until
administrative decision-making
includes full student
participation, the need for
student activism will remain for
the generation of the 80's on an
even larger scale than for past
generations.
-Bob Stechuk
President, LSA-SG

p
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