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March 16, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-16

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Page 4 l-Friday, March 16, 1979-The Michigan Daily

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

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 131

News Phone: 764-0552

the People of
rnore perfe& union,
the common defence,

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

VV now lobbying for a cause deal
to them than saving the seals
boosting small business. They
fighting against a bill which would I
ce lobbyists to disclose their activit
and just who pays for them.
The bill, currently before the Si
committee on Administrative Law a
Governmental Relations of the Hot
Judiciary Committee, is necessary
assure proper behavior on the part
'"1bbyists, regardless of how wor
while their cause may seem.
Z The current law governing lobby
was passed in 1946 and is filled w
loopholes whereby lobbyists can
struct fair hearing on legislation. W
an astronomical increase in lobbyi
since 1946, new statutes clearly
In the last two Congresses, toug
lobbying bills have passed one house
the other but failed in the final days
the session. This year, howevi
passage of a similar bill is probab
the only question is how strict the ]
r will be.
Most of the argument surround
the bill currently under considerat
centers on the issue of regulat
t 1r bhIn A iric A 'tiv

bill necessary

organizations who urge all their mem-
bers or affiliated groups -to do the ac-
tual lobbying in Washington.
Opponents to stiffer legislation
charge that grass-roots lobbying is dif-
ficult to define and monitor, and that
organizations may unintentionally
violate the law. They also complain the
burden of more thorough reporting
procedures would seriously curtail
their lobbying efforts.
Indeed, lobbying is an important tool
open to citizens who wish to make their
voices heard in Washington. But it is
not too much to ask that lobbyists open
their records, to provide fair
Congressional decisions. The ad-
ministrative problems inherent in such
legislation just do not outweigh the
benefits of a tougher law.
The current law does not demand
enough accounting by lobbyists,
especially the large grass-roots
organizations which may now easily
distort the actual make-up of their
groups in reports to the government.
Lobbyists have basic rights which
must be preserved. The government
should never establish restrictions on
particular interest groups but a new
law, justly applied to all lobby groups,
can only improve the Washington
decision-making process.

urfevcs and our poftcritY,
'~ it;A


James Madison

The inherent dangers of
a Constitutional Convention

By Jonathan Reiskin

e l

'1ci -iUJt'J l U1.1Hj Cja. hri Ci .lV~~~i
new technique, grass-roots lobbying is
being used increasingly by large

Iran's new repression

W ASN'T IT just about a month ago
when millions of Iranians poured
into the streets of Tehran to celebrate
the return from exile of their beloved
leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini?
Massive demonstrations across the
country were supposed to signal an end
to any resemblance of the Shah's.
repressive regime and a beginning of
an Islamic Republic.
But now, just two months after the
Shah's departure into his own exile,
Iran remains a troubled country whose
people are having to put up with new
repression. Though the Ayatollah's
gang has so far committed none of the
atrocious crimes perpetrated by the
Shah's secret police, Savak, the new
regime has certainly not been very
tolerant of the human rights of some of
its citizens.
Within weeks after Khomeini and his
supporters seized power, they
executed many of the Shah's former
aides. They claimed it was necessary
to punish those responsible for years of
repressive rule.
Also, to pursue the rigid doctrines of
past Islamic Republics, the Khomeini
regime has instructed women to wear
the veil and the chador, the traditional
head-to-toe covering of Moslem
Protesting the new strict standards
established by the Khomeini gover-
nment, thousands of women left their
jobs and university classrooms for
several days to demonstrate in the

streets of Tehran. They issued many
demands including equal civil rights
with men, no discrimination in
political, social and economic rights,
and a guarantee of full security for
women's legal rights and liberties.
But instead of listening to those
demands, supporters of the Ayatollah
stoned and verbally abused the
dejnonstrators, stabbing at least four
of them. Khomeini backers moderated
the tone of the new dress code by sim-
ply calling for the women to wear
'modest dress.-
It is clear now that Khomeini's vow
to follow the ancient guidelines of an
Islamic Republic was tragically
serious; women are now relegated to'
an inferior role despite their en-
thusiastic participation in over-.
throwing the Shah and his hand-
pointed successor Prime Minister
Shahpur Bakhtiar. Is this the fair and
equal society that Khomeini promised
to institute from his exile base in Fran-
ce? The Shah's departure has opened
up an excellent opportunity for a new
and democratic society in Iran. That
new society, however, should be foun-
ded on the principles of equality among
all Iranians without discrimination
against anyone.
"In the dawn of freedom, there is an
absence of freedom," has become the
slogan of the women's movement.
And also the disappointing slogan of
Khomeini's Islamic Republic.

.California's governor, the
possibly Honorable Edmund G.
(Jerry) Brown, Jr., has Potomac
Fever. Sensing a' conservative
mood in the country, Brown has
decided the Constitution needs an
amendment which would require
the federal government to balan-
ce its budget. Now the pros and
cons of a balanced budget are
certainly worth pondering.
Such topics should be of con-
cern to everyone. Scholars and
legislators who deserve their
paychecks ought to argue
rigorously the economics of
budgeting. More important' in
this case, however, is not
Brown's goal of tight financing,
rather it is the means suggested
for achieving his end-tinkering
with the Consttution.
Every marginally intelligent
American is certainly aware of the
existence of the Constitution. If
questioned, a citizen may be able
to list a few matters referred to in
the Constitution. It is doubtful
though, if a large percentage of
the population has thought about
what a constitution is supposed to
vagaries, constitutions have
specific purposes. It is just as
unoriginal as it is accurate to say
that a constitution should be a
framework or a foundation for a*
nation's laws. A constitution
delineates the fundamental prin-
ciples on which a society is based.
It should leave an unmistakable
impression as to the mode of life
in the state. Yet it must also lend
itself to interpretation over time.
It must limit government of-
ficials without binding them to
trivia. Its substance is in its style.

Our current constitution meets
these lofty goals. For this reason
Washington, D.C. boasts a "Con-
stitution Ave." There is no
"National Labor Relations Act
Rd.", no "Sherman Antitrust Act
Blvd.," no "Title IX Ct.," and,
most assuredly, there will never
be a street memorializing a
Federal Trade Commission
The original framers were
wonderously successful, in that
the institutions they created were
mainly checked with jurisdic-
tional limits. Hamilton, Madison,
and company specifically
avoided telling these governing
bodies how they should conduct
business. Indeed, this most
splendid of documents stumbles
to banality, a rarity albeit, only
when it attempts to deal with the
hum-drum affairs of daily gover-
nment operations.
ARTICLE III of the Con-
stitution is a good example of the
framer's restraint. Less than 400
words in length, this passage
establishes the entire judiciary
system of the United States, one-
third of the federal government.
The article created the Supreme
Court and sketches its duties,
defines treason, and then leaves
all else to Congress.
In general, the document
avoids specifying dates and in
only one place does it mention a
definite amount of currency.
(Art. I, ec. 9, clause 1) The
framers further showed that they
realized their temporal
limitations by inserting dozens of
options to change wording which
might one day become incon-

At this point it is still
reasonable for the reader to ask
why I so detest Gov. Brown's ac-
tions. After all, is it not a
plausable "jurisdictional limit"
to require Congress to spend only
the money it collects and no
more? I cast my vote as a nay.
Economic theory has no business
in the Constitution. The reason
for this is that economists are
rather ignorant of the exact
workings of the economy.
Milton Friedman is a popular
man to quote in economic mat-
ters these days and is a leading
advocate of a, balanced budget
amendment. Much of what the
former University of Chicago
professor says is correct, for he is
unquestionably a brilliant human
being. While Friedman raises
great controversy, one thing is
certain. In 50 years, half of what
he is currently saying will be
thought grossly .incorrect. For
this, he will be enshrined in the
economists' hall-of-fame, and
rightly so. An economist becomes
immortal when the following
generations, thinks that half of
what he wrote is somewhat
reasonable. Therefore, when
someone says that Milton Fried-
man or any other economist
thinksorthe budget should be
balanced, the proper response is,
"So what?"
THE TOP "40," in economic
theory changes almost asrapidly
as it does in popular music. New
ideas and definitions of "reality"
are constantly rising and topping
old ones. Economists are far from
fickle. They are simply faced

with a gargantuan task. They
must logically explain that which
is illogical and irrational,
i.e.-why people do what they do
with dollars.
If we were to rewrite the Con-
stitution every time a new.
economic theory came into
vogue, we would have a con-
stitutional convention every
other :decade. Issues such as
these are best left to Congress'
Brown and his fellow fiscal
vigilantes it seems, have dubbed
deficit spending as the. biggest
threat to Christendom since the
Black Plague. While amusing,
this is also ludicrous. Brown him-
self admits that exceptions must
be made to the balanced budget.
Depressions, recessions and
wars would all require deficit
Brown intends to give Congress
the power to fine-tune the
budget-a power if already has.
He is unnecessarily cluttering the
Constitution in order to garner
support for his 1980 Presidential
bid. He is a man of a much lesser
mold than was a formerdCalifor-
nia governor named Earl
Until economists become more
accurate than readers of tea
leaves, the Constitution's
economics should not prescribe
policies to promote national
economic efficiency. Economic
situations which change almost
yearly should be dealt with by in-
stitutions which are elected
almost yearly, namely Congress.
Jonathan Reiskin is an LSA

Figh ting n uclear power

PIRGIM (Public Interest
Research Group in Michigan) is
giving its support to the Edison
Shareholder's Initiative as part
of its continuing battle against
nuclear power. The Initiative is
being conducted by shareholder
David DeVarti. DeVarti will ap-
proach other stochholders at an
annual meeting on April 23 to try
to convince them to pressure
theutility to halt further invest-
ment in nuclear power.
The Initiative's arguments
against nuclear power will be
mainly economic. The cost of
nuclear fuel, for example, has
gone from $8./lb. to $43./lb. in
just 5 years. "Many costs are still
unknown, such as waste disposal,.
disposal site management, and
decommissioning of spent reac-
tors," points out DeVarti.
"Estimates for waste disposal
alone range from hundreds of
millions to billions of dollars."
REACTOR construction costs
often exceed estimates. Edison's
Fermi II reactor, being built in
Monroe, Michigan, is a prime
example. Originally estimated to
cost about $300,000,000., it is now
expected to near $1,000,000,000.
by the time it is finished. The
plant is already five years past
the scheduled completion date.
In n n Pinlatinof t henucleanr

By Caroline Burns

of the amount of federal dollars
given to the nuclear industry.
Three new reactors (Green-
wood II, III, & IV), to be built in
St., Clair County, are now in
Edison's plans. To finance these
and other construction costs for
1979, Edison is requesting a $166
million rate increase. Edison
claims they actually need to raise
rates $221 million, but they have
trimmed the figure to stay within
President Carter's Wage and

Shareholder's Initiative feels this
will dilute the value of already
held stock, and plans to point this
out at the stockholder's meeting.
There has been some
disagreement between the
Initiative and Edison over this
point. Edison doesn't believe
issuing more stock will have an
effect on already held shares.
To aid the Initiative, PIRGIM
is sharing its office and some
members with DeVarti. DeVarti

radioactive waste-makers when
there is no safe method of waste
Plutonium, one of the many toxic
wastes produced by nuclear reac-
tors, has a half-life of 25,000 years.
This means it would have to be
stored some 250,000 years before it
is safely dissipated. Plutonium
poses its greatest threat when
inhaled. According to a study by Dr.
John Gofman (M.D. and Ph.D. in
nuclear physical chemistry) of
University of California, eleven
billionths of a gram of plutonium in
the lung of a cigarette smoking
male will cause lung cancer.
DR. GOFMAN calculates that,
could plutonium be stored 99.99 per
cent perfectly, just the one part in
every 10,000 released by the nuclear
industry would eventually cause
500,000 extra lung cancer deaths per
year. Already the most rapidly in-
creasing cancer rates in the U.S.
are found in states with the largest
nuclear facilities-Washington,
Connecticut, Tennessee, Rhode
Island, New Jersey, and South
Carolina. Conversely, states
showing a decline in cancer rates,
Alaska, Montana, and New Ham-
pshire, are without nuclear reac-
As Ms. Bowmaster concludes, "to
continue to build these plants in full
knowledge of the innumerable

"Already the most rapidly increasing cancer
rates in the U.S. are found in states with the
largest nuclear facilities- Washington, Connec-
ticut, Tennessee, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and
South Carolina. Conversely, states showing a
decline in cancer rates, Alaska, Montana, and,
New Hampshire, are without nuclear reactors."

Price Control Guidelines.
nU nr m I4 a s...-r mr -nv? e - n

has worked with PIRGIM in the
nrct garvino as a hnrd member

AM1 I I )Am fit. - mm

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