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July 29, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-29

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- - WR OB
' t
Thle Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University af Michigan
Friday July 29, 1977
News Phone 764-0552
Carter addresreel
SIMMY CARTER has finally done it. The President of
'these sovereign States campaigned on the premise
that he would be different than all his predecessors;
there would be none, he skillfully Implied, of the LBJ
deceit or the Nixon grandiosity. But Carter has finally
shown his colors.
At the conference of the National Urban League
earlier this week, Carter gave a speech in which he ad-
monished black and other minority leaders for their
criticism of Administration policies regarding social and
economic development.
On the part of a President "of the people," this Is
intolerable and obnoxious behavior. It is intolerable on
several fronts at once; it is obnoxious to white and mi-
nority citizens alike.
FIRST, IT ASSUMES criticism is not allowed. This is
an old Nixonian trick. It combines, furthermore, with
an equally Nixonian attitude that the American public
are children, that the affairs of government are na-
body's business but the President's. You want to know
what we're doing for minorities? Read about it in the
A more sinister offense this attitude offers, how-
ever, is Carter seems to be piqued not as much lsy the
criticism as by the pageantry - that Is, he is irked be-
cause the very people who voted him into office are
"turning" on him at a time when he has tried his beat
as poliica sabotage Carter mrpresses one as, a Presi-
dent whose chief concern in office is re-election,
This conference and the speech become quite signifi-
cant. Seen in this light, the dynamics behind the "ethnic
purity" gaffe of last summer's campaign become evident.
Carter Is NOT a racist in any classic sense; he Is a
Papa figure who knows best, and resents infringement
upon this role. He is not a Nixon; he will probably never
nake up an enemies list.g
But Carter will gently and stubbornly try to mold the
nation in his Image, correcting Its excesses with a firm
but benign hand. Never has this been seen so clearly

"Interest" groups are frequently perceived as dirty,
selfish things. But there are groups, such as the Na-
tional Urban League, the NAACP, and others, whose
leaders and members have a legitimate interest in the
welfare of those they represent. To tell them, in effect,
to run outside and play, is disgraceful behavior for the
Chief Executive.

Sweden's housing model
sets .example for U.S.

It sametitrs seems the hous-
is crisis in the United States
so deep it would be impossible
t:> reshape the housing market
i such a way as to make it
provide decent hotising at af-
fordable coats to mst citizens.
l"st there are successful n-
tiotal housing systems, such as
Swsedens, .which do tteet the
ho'tsing needs of their countries
-by catering to people, not pro-
fit. Sweden is similar enough to
our country that we could learn
some useful lessons from the
way the Swedes rtun their hous-
ing system.
Housing expert Sven Bengston
describes some of the merits of
Swedish housing in an article
contained in the anthology Pub-
lic Housing in Europe and Amer-
ica. The Swedes have managed
to keep rental costs down, Beng-
ston writes, and at the same
time keep the housing stock new
and attractive.
He notes, "One indication of
the degree - o which rents have
been kept under control is that
the average worker today pays
about the same share of his in-
come for renting a three-room
apartment, plus kitchen, as he
did in the 1930s for the renting
of a one-room apartment, plus
kitchen." He adds, "If the ten-
ant is not satisfied with the rent
he is paying, he may demand a
review of the rent and a govern-
mental organization has been es-
tablished to handle such ap-
A MAJOR FACTOR in the suc-
cess of the Swedish housing sys-
tem is the government has not
peen afraid to tinker with the
market. Bengston explains, "A
cornerstone of Swedish housing
policy is, generally speaking,
that housing shall not be a
source of profit-making revenue.
Housing should be built and
rented as near to cost as pos-
sible ...."
To cut down on profit from
housing-ad thus cut down on
what people must pay for a
place to live-the Swedish gov-
ernment has itself acquired
large amounts of property which
it uses for non-profit housing,
and has provided benefits to
non-profit companies and coop-
erative societies tostimulate
their growth. As a consequence
of the government's housing pol-
icy, over two-thirds of Sweden's
housing is publicly-owned, co-
operatively-owned, or non-profit.
When the government buys
property, it cuts down on profit
from housing in two ways: by
charging low rents for the dwell-
ings it leases out, and by mak-
ing it difficult for private specu-
lators to buy and sell land for
quick profits. A 1967 law, Beng-
ston says, has cut down on spe-

usutathion bh dictating 'any par-
cel of land cuild be bought by
the maunicipal government, if the
owaer chese to sell it.. . . This
prevented speculators from buy-
ing for a possible profit because
the muni.:ipat government can
come in and buy in his place."
The Swedish government buys
property through city govern-
msents, by providing municipali-
ties with funds for the purchase
of land. This publicly-owned pro-
perty is developed according to
a national housing budget.

rent. "About 90 per cent of alt
bousi:g in Swede I receives
some gorernimeust assistance,
Bengstsn says. Public and co-
operative housing are eligible
for larger shares of assistance
than privately-owned housing.
Sweden's housing system isn't
perfect, of course. One problem
it faces is there aren't enough
dwellings in the country to meet
demand. But this is true of vir-
tually all industrialized coun-
tries, including the U.S.
FOR US IN the United States,


the policy in Sweden," Bengston
writes. "Each year the govern
meat lays down a framework
for the granting of building
loans, which is based upon a
plan which takes account -of all
the construction needed.". Na-
tional plans allot money for con-
struction to the cities, And the
cities develop plans for what
kind of housing will be built with
the money. This public housing
is non-profit.
Housing subsidies are another
means the government uses to
keep housing cheap. The poor,
the elderly, families with many
children, and students, are all
eligible for financial aid for
housing. And for consumers not
falling within these groups, the
government provides indirect
aid by subsidizing large portions
of the mortgage costs of all
types of housing.
for part of the operating costs
of rental units, tenants pay less
With the government paying

the lesson of the Swedish hous-
ing is it can be practical as well
as humane for a national gov-
ernment to treat housing not as
a commodity, but as a necessary
service which should- be avail-
able cheaply to all citizens.
We should remember Swe-
den's housing system didn't
spring full-blown into existence;
it is the product of decades of
planning and effort, aimed at
steering housing away from pro-
fit and towards service. Al-
though today over two-thirds of
Sweden's housing is run on a
non-profit basis, as recently as
1945 over 85 per cent of the hous-
ing in that country was operat-
ing for private profit.
The U.S. housing system could
be reforged to make it take the
not-for-profit approach. T h i s
would take lots of time and
trouble, but Sweden has proved
it's not an impossible task. And
it's probably an indispensible
task if we are to relieve our
country's housing crisis.

Contact your reps
Sen. Donald Riegle (Dem.), -1205 Dirksen Bldg., Washing-
ton, D.C. 20510
Sen. Robert Griffin (Rep.), 353 Russell Bldg., Capitol Hill,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Rep. Carl Pursell (Rep.), 1709 Longwvorth House Office Bldg.,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
Sen. Gilbert Bursley (Rep.), Senate, State Capitol Bldg.,
Lansing, MI 48933.
Rep. Perry Bullard (Dem.), House of Representatives, State
Capitol Bldg., Lansing, MI 48933.
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a I



Letters to The Daily


To The Daily:
Since last winter, I have witnessed a trend in
Ann Arbor that is alarming. Every day I travel
to all parts of the city, from North Campus to
Washtenaw Ave. to Main St. to Briarwood. Every
time I get in my car, someone causes me to slam
on my brakes, coming within inches of my life.
These occurrences appear to happen mainly as
a result of hostility on the part of many drivers
in the city towards other drivers, and even pedes-
trians. Often, I have been dangerously cut off by
another car and given "the finger" when I honk
for caution's (and anger's) sake.
-Another thing I have noticed is a free-for-all
attitude at four-way stop signs. Right-of-way is
now contingent upon whose car has a faster ac-
celeration rate.
Another dangerous situation is driver's ignor-

ance of the importance of using one's turn signals.
Again, for the sake of bicyclists and pedestrians
as well as fellow motorists. The driver who uses
the turn signals has become quite the exception,
rather than the rule.
Pedestrians could stand a little improvement in
this war as well. I've seen many a car wait long-
er than it deserves for oblivious students to fin-
ish dawdling across the street and for those who
make a mad dash just as the car begins to move.
I am frightened by what seems to be a complete
lack of regard for other people's lives. Having
grown up in-New York City, Ann Arbor was, un-
til last year,.a wonderful change of environment.
Unfortunately, Ann Arbor has grown willy-nilly
into a jungle of hostility, apathy, and self-center-
edness. At least in N.Y.C. drivers will cut you off,
but they'll use their turn signals to do it.
-Beth Michele Kolk

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