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January 07, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-01-07

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Page 4-Saturday, January 7, 1978-The Michigan Daily

EigylitI -Eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The nationwid
is a matter

e farm strike
of survival

vol. LXXXVII, No. 80

News Phone: 764-0552

I Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Double-bottomtanker ban
What took yoolong?

0

t HE RECENT spate of double-bot-
tom tanker accidents in southeast-
ern Michigan has prompted a ban on
these vehicles by Gov. William Milli-
ken, in a move which we can only think
of as better late than never. The current
ban removes double-bottom tankers
from the streets of Wayne, Oakland,
and Macomb Counties between the
hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The move was finally prompted by
two explosions - the first occurring
December 15, when a tanker partially,
overturned and burned, setting fire to
four cars and injuring three persons,
not including the driver. The second
catastrophe came a scant two weeks
later, when a pedestrian was killed and
fires raged for hours following the col-
lision of a tanker with an automobile at
the intersection of Ten Mile Rd. and
Collidge in Oak Park. Once again the
driver escaped serious injury.
Clearly these tankers pose a serious
danger to the public. One need not be
driving next to one of these mammoth
machines to be in danger should they
lose control - street and sidewalk traf-
fie are endangered alike.
The Daily called for a ban on these

tankers a year ago, pending a study ofl
their feasability. In the weeks before;
the Warren accident, and even in the
time between then and the Oak 'Park!
trash, Milliken publicly opposed such a
ban, on the grounds that it would incon-
venience shippers of gasoline andi
might cause an incidental rise in gas
prices.
A PPARENTLY the Oak Park crash
convinced him of the necessity of
the ban; oil company spokesmen, after
some hemming and hawing, haves
recently stated that the ban will not af-1
fect gas prices after all.iUnder the cir-
cumstances, it seems that a lot of wor-!
rying about a comparatively minor side
issue has gone for nothing.
Why, then, should it have cost lives
and injuries and great amounts of fire1
damage, before preventive measures
were taken? Milliken's conversion to
the idea of a ban came late, and he was
under intense political pressure when
he made the decision. Can we then I
assume that nothing would likely have?
been done had it not been for the crash
in Oak Park?
An immensely unsettling question.I

Police officers must
respect suspects,' rights

By MARTIN BROWN
Pacific News Service
The nationwide "farm strike"
by the fledgling American Agri-
culture movement bears all the
signs of a desperate political ges-
ture without any real economic
threat, unless it be to the farmers
themselves. Spring planting time
is a long way off, and in any case
farmers are rarely able to co-
ordinate production decisions
even in the best of times.
What the strike may accom-
plish, at best, is an awareness
that farmers and the Department
of Agriculture are no longer the
sole masters of farm policy. For
since the early 1970s farm policy
has become more and more a
matter of food policy, inex-
tricably linked with foreign
policy, energy policy and do-
mestic economics.
FOOD POLICY has thus
become the concern of a wide
variety of competing interest
groups, and in the current
program of the Carter Admini-
stration it is no longer possible
for activists from the farm sec-
tor, alone, to destabilize it.
Even the slogan of the Ameri-
can Agriculture movement -
"100 per cent parity" - is more a
political gesture than a real goal.
Such parity would give farmers
the kind of purchasing power
they enjoyed during the prosper-
ous years of 1964-1975. But the
real intent of the activist farmers
is encompassed in legislation pro-
posed by Sens. Robert Dole (-
Kan.) and Herman Talmadge (D-
Ga.) that would tie farm support
payments to the rate of, inflation
of farm production costs. This
would result in farmers always
receiving at least their cost of
production.
Yet even this proposal has met
heavy opposition from the non-
farm interests in Congress who
argue that, because it would in-
clude a portion of land prices in
the cost of production, it would
ensure an inflationary spiral in
farm costs and food prices.
MANY IN government believe
the farm bill signed by Carter
earlier this year, guaranteeing
farmers 60 per cent parity, al-
ready gives too much to farmers.
It provides for government loans
and a minimum price of wheat,
currently set at $2.90, to farmers
who agree to keep a portion of
their land out of production or
their wheat off the market. The
intended result is a reduction in
wheat output to stop the price
slide.
Yet even this program, modest
compared to the demands of the
American Agriculture
movement, only passed over
strongmopposition from those who
see it as a return to the ill-
conceived farm policies of the
1950s and early 1960s.
Del Gardner, director of the
Giannini Foundation of
Agricultural Economicsnat the
University of California, esti-
mates the cost to the taxpayer
under the current program for
surplus storage and direct pay-
ments to growers at $6-$10 billion
for 1978. And, says Gardner, "If
we continue to stimulate further
increases in output, the stockpile
will be enormous."
CIARLES SCHULTZ, Carter's
chief economic advisor, also
warned against the type of sup-
port programs encompassed in
Carter's current program in a

1971 study for the Brookings In-
stitution. Schultz found that the
price support programs provide
disproportionate benefits to large
farmers, as well as drive up the
price df farmland in relation to
farm income.
For instance, Schultz found
that agricultuial land rent and
net farm income rose at about the
same rate from 1940 to 1960. But
from 1960 to 1966, a period of

large increases in farm price
supports, agricultural land rent
rose by 124 per cent compared to
a 27 per cent rise in farm income.
"In the long run," concluded
Schultz, "farm subsidy
programs, related as they are to
the production of farm commodi-
ties, tend to benefit farmers
chiefly in their role as landown-
ers and not in their role as farm
operators."
FROM THE POINT of view of'
foreign policy, too, many are con-
cerned that the kinds of farm
support programs promoted by
American Agriculture could
wreck efforts to use food as a tool
for international stability.
In a recent issue of the in-
fluential journal Foreign Policy,
Swarthmore College political sci-
ence professor Raymond Hopkins
argues that "America's responsi-
bility for managing global food
supplies is inescapable (and) and
be a source of strength for our

international markets.
Fred Sanderson, staff econo-
mist at the Brookings Institution
and head of the State Depart-
ment's food, policy office, worries
that the wheat acreage set-aside
in the Carter program, if com-
bined with unusually bad weather
next year, could drastically un-
dercut foreign policy goals. Says
Sanderson, "The world remains
as vulnerable to crop failure as it
was in 1972."
THE LACK of consensus' on
farm policy extends even beyond
the farmer/non-farmer interests.
For there is not even a united
front among farmers. '
Fred Herringer, president of
the powerful California Farm
Bureau Federation, says his
organization is against any "in-
tervention into the free market."
He contends that too high a sup-
port price for wheat could price
American wheat out of the inter-
national market and result in an
accumulation of unsalable wheat

Farmers Organization has taken
a position similar to that of the
American Agriculture
movement. Robert Lewis,
secretary and chief economist of
the organization, argues that
"There is an urgent need to im-
prove the income of farmers.
Farmers' purchasing power is at
its lowest level since 1932." The
NFO supports substantial in-
creases in the level of federal
loan payments.
But most critics of such a poli-
cy insist that the farmers in the
most desperate financial shape
today - the approximately 10 per
cent of all farmers who make up
the hardcore of the American
Agriculture movement - are the
victims of the very farm policies
they are promoting.
THESE hIARDEsT-1hIT farm-
ers are the ones who over-invest-
ed in response to the high prices
of the early 1970s. Thus, they are
burdened today by an inflated
cost of production - as high as

L AST WEEK the Justice Depart-
meht petitioned the U.S. Supreme
Court to overturn a lower court ruling
which held that the police had violated
the constitutional rights of 1,200 demon-
strators during an anti-war protest in
Washington in 1971.
The Justice Department is, in effect,
a king the Court to grant police officers
immunity from damage suits "for
d ing their duty"; this is wholly unac-
c ptable.
The most basic tenet of American
d.mocracy is that "all men (and
women) are equal before the law." But
haw can this be true if certain members
of, our society are not subject to the
same laws as others? While it is cer-
tainly true that a police officer must be
giVen some special privileges when
making an arrest, it is also true that the
officer could overstep his or her bounds.
In such a case the officer ought to be
liable to a damage suit.
In its legal brief, the department
said:
""Imposition of possibly multimil-

lion-dollar personal liability for the
supervisory law-enforcement decisions
made in response to such a difficult and
delicate situation would be likely to
deter such officials from taking the
kind of vigorous and forthright action
that effective law-enforcement
frequently requires."
IT IS PROBABLY true that police of-
ficers would have second thoughts
before getting rough with a suspect if
there were a chance they could be sued.
But is this necessarily bad? Police
should think twice before arresting or
accosting anyone. While some crimi-
nals might escape punishment if an of-
ficer rethinks the situation, the loss is
minimal compared to the innocent peo-
ple who will be spared the ordeal of
either a false arrest or mistreatment.
Police officers have a difficult and
thankless job, and an awesome respon-
sibility. But regardless of the strain un-
der which they operate they must be
'held accountable for their actions and
overactions even in the line of duty.

Ar Poto
GEORGIA FARMERS WALKED off their farms and drove their tractors to Atlanta last month to protest
low food prices.

-

foreign policy."
Yet, he claims, the "consider-
able pressure from narrow
domestic interests" had undercut
the efforts of diplomats attem-
pting to use food for foreign
policy objectives.
REFERRING to a World Bank
study that estimated some 1.2 to
1.3 billion underfed people in the
developing nations, Hopkins
warns that "the degradation of
life, loss of human resources and
potential for violence represen-
ted by this situation can be
ignored only at great peril to
human values and long-term
world stability."
"For Hopkins and other foreign
policy planners, "desirable poli-
cy changes" means the estab-
lishment of an international grain
reserve with administrative
mechanisms to guarantee rea-
sonable but stable prices and a
reliable supply to domestic and

stocks.
"We would rather see the price
of wheat drop this year and let
the surplus supplies be sold off'
for animal feed," says Herringer.
"That way, the farmer will have
higher prices next year. The real
return to the grower will be
higher over the five-to-10-year
period without government inter-
ventions into the free market."
THE NATIONAL Farmers Or-
ganization (NFO), represented
among Midwestern wheat grow-
ers, generally favors the current
Carter program. Says NFO Pres-
ident Charles Frazier, "It all de-
pends on how the wheat farmers
respond. If at least 75-90 per cent
of the producers participate in
the acreage set-aside, then the
current downward price trend
will be halted, but not reversed.
Wheat supplies will still be ade-
quate for next year and consuln-
ers won't suffer," he predicts.
In fact, only the small National

$4.75 per bushel of wheat - be-
cause of the high' price of newly
acquired land and machinery.
They are also under heavy
pressure to pay off the large deb-
ts they incurred in making new
investments.
The more conservative or well-
established wheat farmers, with
more equity in land, better credit
and lower production costs - as
low as $2.00 a bushel - will have
an easier time riding out the
price slump.
What is needed to prevent the
disastrous ups and downs of
farmers' fortunes, many say, is
an integrated program taking in-
to account the interests ,not only
of farmers, but of all parties who
since the early 1970s have come
to view food as a kay to national
and international stability. What
is needed, in short, is an entirely
new approach to the future: a
"food policy" rather than a
"farm policy."

Letters to

The Datly

To The Daily:
On Wednesday night, Decem-
ber 7, I attended my first Wom-
en's Basketball game. At Crisler
Arena, I am met with signs stat-
ing "Sold Out" on all the doors.
After trying 4 sets of doors, I
finally am in luck. Inside I am
met with "Where is your ticket,

When the game starts, I find
myself eagerly watching the ac-
tion. Numbers 23, 42, and 13 im-
pressed me, however, I was mes-
merized mostly by No. 12, Denise
Cameron - she was always
where the action was, both on of-
fense as well as defense. Her
speed as well as her accuracy

women's game moving. At
around 3:38 the clock began to
run, never to be stopped. Balls
went out of bounds, fouls were
called and time marched on!
What a sham! Both women and
men alike realize the importance
of the last few minutes of play,
especially when there is only a 5-

tionally imposing limits on the
women's basketball game by
manipulating the time clock
shows to all who want to see how
women's sports are viewed at U-
M.
I do not want this injustice to
happen again. Women in sports
must be respected. As women

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