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May 24, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-24

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Page 4-Thursday, May 24, 1979-The Michigan Daily
HMichigan Daily
Eighty-nine Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI. 48109
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 17-S News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Toxi waste fight
led by Michigan
mHE PERPETUAL nightmares caused by haz-
j ardous waste disposal will not end soon
despite increasing numbers of public officials
waking up to the consequences and initiating
legislation. Michigan is leading the parade to the
courts now, in attempts to prove liability of the
perpetrators of toxic catastrophe. They seek to
redress damage grievances and to divert the costs
of clean-up away from taxpayers.
A pending lawsuit against Hooker Chemical
Company, brought by Attorney General Frank
Kelley for an unnamed dollar figure, seeks full
reparations. Complete clean-up of the more than
100 toxic chemicals, penalty charges (if negligen-
ce is proven), and reimbursement of state expen-
ditures for investigation and future monitoring
costs are sought in this landmark case. If Hooker
loses, the scene will be set for a nationwide crack-
down on toxic waste disposal.
Even more commendable than Kelley and his
assistants litigative leadership is the influence
they have directed at federal environmental of-
ficials. Last week, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) performance took a beating on
Capitol Hill when Kelley appeared before a
House committee. Representatives echoed
Kelley's furor over lax enforcement. Monday
EPA and Justice Department officials announced
that Hooker will also be sued for fouling several
New York sites. The EPA is apparently trying to
adopt an aggressive posture, while playing catch-
up to Michigan.
It is hoped that the precedents these cases
establish will discourage further defiling of the
environment. Obviously these firms have no
qualms about endangering public safety or
destroying environmental aesthetics. The courts
must then instill a conscience in them through
their pocketbooks.
The complexities of judication may unfor-
tunately delay prompt action from being taken to
cease further pollution. Currently, an estimated
1,200 pounds of poisons are leeching into White
Lake near Muskegon each day, which in turn fouls
Lake Michigan. It is hoped that either through an
injunction or by mutual agreement Hooker begins
pumping out the poisons from groundwater im-
Michigan has a three-year head start on almost
every other state in the enforcement of environ-
mental laws, because the consequences of prior
pollution were noticed here before they were ap-
parent in most other states. New York now awaits
the results of Michigan's endeavors, and will
probably model its program after ours.
We sincerely hope the courts permit Michigan
to carve an exemplary path. The $5 million in
fines and damages collected in Michigan since
1976 from environmental lawsuits is a promising
signal. And the deterrent effect of enforcing the law
is incalculable. The only positive outcome of the
PBB debacle is finally apparent.

Rickshaw remedy
for economic ills

NEW YORK-In Washington,
Jimmy Carter-elected with in-
ner city and black
votes-proposes slashing social
programs for the poor, while in-
flating the Pentagon's budget. .
In California, Jerry
Brown-erstwhile "liberal"
alternative to Carter-has con-
verted from Zen to the new fiscal
conservatism. -
Mayor Ed Koch shuts down
hospitals for the poor while
givingttax breaks to therbig cor-
porations, and increases tuition
at City University while giving
deductions to the affluent who
send their children to provate
From Sacramento to Queens,
Howard Jarvis is a prophet with
honor in his own country,
Proposition 13 is the new political
But is it enough merely to deny
the poor education, medical care,
jobs, social services, housing and
unemployment benefits?
THE RIGHTS OF affluent
America will not be fully secured
until thepreaent political cam-
paign against the poor is carried
to its logical conclusion.
What America needs is
CURE-The Comprehensive Ur-
ban Rickshaw Experiment. A
national strategy based on the
rickshaw will retore the proper
relationship in our society bet-
ween corporate vice-presidents
and unemployed ghetto youths,
between the homeowning class
and the welfare class, between
real honest-to-goodness
Americans and ungrateful,
illegal aliens.
This program, singlehandedly,
also will eliminate unem-
ployment, pollution, dependence
on foreign oil and the balance of
payments deficit. It will ter-
minate inflation, restore the
value of the dollar, cut crime,
turn the federal deficit into sur-
plus, improve health and bring
jobs to rural areas. It will slash
government payrolls and make
the tax cuts from Proposition 13
seem trivial in comparison.
DLING their betters around all
day in a rickshlaw, the poor will
be too tired to indulge themselves
in those baser instincts that so
lamentably proliferate among
welfare mothers and welfare
In short, this is a program that
Jerry Brown and Ronald Reagan,
Jimmy Carter and Jerry Ford,
the House and Senate all can
unite tosupport, because it would
achieve all their current social
objectives in a single, low-cost
CURE is deceptively simple,
and totally effective.
All motorized cabs are banned
from central cities and those
unemployed or on welfare, as
well as the aged and pregnant,
along with all blacks and Puerto
Ricans with incomes of less than
$10,000 a year, are provided with
federal government rickshaws.
The rickshaw replaces the cab,

By Roger Vaughan
rickshaw fares replace income
transfers, and the "rickshaw
class" replaces the welfare class.
program would be immediate
and enormous. The rickshaws
would be made in depressed rural
areas by the thousands of carpen-
try graduates of past government
training programs, augmented
by unemployed autoworkers and
cabbies. A rickshaw capable of
providing gainful employment to
three daily shifts could be built
for less than $500-a pittance
compared to the billions now
spegt on welfare, unemployment
insurance and social security.
The rickshaw operators-who
would all be given special second-
class driving licenses-would
require no special skills, allowing
the dismantling of all those im-
mense and cumbersome job
training programs. Since there is
no need to read or write in order
to peddle a rickshaw, all that
money now wasted on public
education-and busing-could be
plowed back into even bigger tax
breaks for corporations and
those with incomes of more than
$30,000 a year.
The urban environment would
improve immeasurably, In fact
the urban crisis would disappear
entirely as cities once again
became the kinds of places where
real Americans like to live. No
more would the air turn blue with
exhaust fumes and drivers'
epithets. Through the clean air,
we could again enjoy the vistas
that, long ago, inspired poets,
planners, and mediocre architec-
ts. The rhythmic padding of
sneakers would replace the
cacophony of horns and brakes.
The energy crisis would
become a memory. With its best
customer buying less, OPEC
would return to the obscurity it
richly deserves. Service stations
would offer cut price gasoline to
those who can afford cars, give
away roadmaps, and wash win-
dshields again. Those Americans
with the money to travel abroad
would find their dollars earning
more respect and foreign curren-
How many muggers and other

social misfits would have the
energy to ply their trade after
eight hours in the harness? The
birthrate among the poor would
plummet as primal forces are
diverted elsewhere. Medicaid
and Medicare payments would
wither away as the benefits of
jogging all day while pulling a
heavy load improve the nation's
cardiovascular system.
The benefits of the program do
not end here. Taxes would be cut
to a fraction of their present level
as expensive government
programs are abolished. The
Departments of Energy, Tran-
sportation, Commerce and Urban
Devbelopment would be phased
out, and the Environmental
Protection Agency disbanded.
The hulking, marble-lined
buildings that housed these ac-
tivities could be converted into
indoor tennis facilities for those
who ride rickshaws, and to repair
shops for those who pedal them.
Or they could be preserved as
sombre reminders of the con-
sequences of a bloated
bureaucracy. Corresponding cuts
could be made at the local level.
Not only that. Rickshaw riding
would be fun. No more would we
be shut in a noisy vehicle whose
driver delivers ill-informed
monologues on uninteresting
topics. We would ride quietly and
provately behind the hard-
working back of the operative,
secure in the knowledge that he
or she is not swelling the welfare
rolls, mugging our mothers-in-
law, or getting free, all expense-
paid abortions from funds better
spent on neutron bombs and
Cruise missiles.
Above all, the rickshaw would
give the honest, hardworking,
tax-paying middle class people of
this country the real satisfaction
of putting themselves on top
again. It's time to abandon
socialistic half-measures like
Proposition 13 and really give all
those welfare chiselers, illegal
aliens and lazy ghetto poor the
shaft, along with the pedals,
spokes and handle bars of course.
Roger Vaughan is an urban econo-
mist who wrote this piece for Pacific
News Service.

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