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August 08, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-08-08

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Page 4-Tuesday, August 8, 1978-The Michigan Daily
michigan DAILY
Eighty-eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI. 48109
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 60-S News Phone: 764-0552
Tuesday, August 8, 1978
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Neither Tisch nor
Headlee satisfy need
T HERE IS NO question that the Michigan
state tax system is unfair and inefficient.
The question is how to improve the situation.
There are two proposals on today's primary
ballot which attempt to do just that, the Headlee
tax limitation amendment and the Tisch proper-
ty tax proposal. The goal of Headlee is to "put a
lid" on government spending, to prevent the
state from taking a bigger portion of everyone's
paychecks in taxes. Tisch, on the other hand, is
more direct. Unlike Richard Headlee, an in-
surance company president who only wants to
keep the state budget where it is, with allowan-
ces for inflation, Robert Tisch, the Shiawassee
Drain Commissioner, says the state has too
much money already. Tisch is asking for a 50 per
cent cut in property taxes, and would permit a 1
per cent increase in the state income tax of the
state legislature deems it necessary. Tisch's
scheme also allows coters in a particular ditrict
to increase their own taxes, by vote, up to 1 per
We see both these amendments as failed at-
tempts to ease the tax burden. It isn't that we
have too much government spending, it's just
that the system is inefficient, the money is going
to the wrong places, and the tax burden is on the
wrong people.
None of Michigan's taxes are based on a per-
son's ability to pay, and therein lies the problem.
Instead of the Headlee and Tisch proposals, the
state would profit most from a graduated income
tax, similar to the federal income tax. Currently,
state income tax is a flat 4.6 per cent whether you
make $10,000 or $1,000,000 a year. But this is ac-
tually a regressive tax because persons in the
lower income brackets need their income just to
meetdaily necessities, while those in the higher
brackets have money to save, invest and even
waste. The $460 per year the citizen who makes
$10,000 pays means more to him or her than $4600
does to a millionaire.
Many areas, notably social services and
higher education, are in need of increased fun-
ding, not less. State government has sufficient
revenue to fund these programs, but its fiscal
priorities are simply misguided. What we need is
a wholesale restructuring of the tax system, not
cosmetic attempts to cut or limit taxes. As
gubernatorial candidate Zolton Ferency said
during a debate with Headlee and Tisch, "This
(Headlee plan) merely puts a ceiling on a rotten
tax system. It's not the ceiling that needs fixing,
it's the foundation."
Editorials which appear without a byline
represent a consensus opinion of the Daily's
editorial board. All other editorials, as well as
cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals
who submit them.

By Gregg Gordon
It has been six weeks since the
Supreme Court handed down the
Bakke decision, and still the dust
has not cleared. Some who decry
"reverse discrimination" feel
vindicated by Bakke's personal
victory, while many of their
allies express moral outrage
that race may ever by considered
by anyone, for any purpose, un-
der any circumstance. Conver-
sely, many who support affir-
mative action originally took
heart from the concurring
justices who emphatically un-
derlined the basic right of gover-
nment to take race into account,
yet more recently civil rights
leaders have retreated from this
initial sigh of relief.
The real meaning of Bakke,
however, will not be determined
by columnists or social activists,
but only by future court
challenges questioning the ap-
plication of this ambiguous
decision to other situations.
this case, with four justices
claiming race could not be con-
sidered in government funded
programs for any reason; four
justices arguing there were suf-
ficient societal imbalances to
justify some racial preferences;
and Justice Powell, the crucial
swing vote, holding racial con-
siderations to be appropriate in
some situations, but claiming the
University of California-Davis's
program was improper because
it restricted a certain number of
positions to exclusively minority
The critical aspect of Powell's
opinion is not, however, his rejec-
tion of quotas as a tool for in-
tegration. The broader impact on
future litigation and society
results from the limited goals
which in his view make race con-
sideration allowable. He rejects
any attempt to cure past societal
discrimination or to achieve a
more equitable distribution of
social welfare among races in
America. He is unable to draw a
line between blacks and
Hungarians. He rejects an at-
tempt even of increasing
availability of medical services
for minorities, for who can
predict that a minority doctor is
more likely than anyone else to
serve a minority community?
Powell can justify race con-
sciousness only on the grounds
that diversity within a university
student body is beneficial to all
the class members. That is, the
very quality of the educational
experience, the ability of the
graduates in their fields, the fun-
ction of the university itself
justifies that an admissions
program be race conscious to a
certain extent.
BUT HOW FAR will this fun-
ctional analysis extend beyond
academia?- There are laws
demanding that certain percen-
tages of public works projects be
subcontracted to minority
businesses. Does Powell's
opinion protect them? Does it ex-
tend just outside the ivy walls to
the construction pits where law
library additions are built? Is
diversity a value among ordinary
I have not taken the time to
meet those who- daily rattle the

limits diversity
walls where I work, but one national average, and more than
presumes there are few Eric Hof- 2 per cent of the nation's doctors
fers who .to Mr. Powell's should be black, the line that may
thinking would benefit from ex- be difficult to draw ten or twenty
posure to cultural diversity. And or fifty years hence is a chasm
even if there were, the today. When the precise location
educationlal role which diversity of that line is a serious
plays in a university would serve issue-when we have come that
little purpose. for Powell is ap- far-we can rationally evaluate
parently not concerned with the the effect and future utility of af-
more social and psychological firmative action.
benefits which diversity breeds,
steps toward a more harmonious Furthermore, affirmative ac-
society. Diversity is a value in tion cannot-in fact it does not
education because the students propose to do so-completely
emerge better able to perform obliterate the effects of hundreds
the role in society for which they of years of discrimination. So we
have been trained. need not worry about where
Will an integrated work crew minority group members would
add durability or beauty to the be had there never been any
structure? "Build it. Just do it discrimination. At the point
right. Your education is over. where a member of a racial
Cultural broadening will do you minority can have, at birth,
no good. Here's your paycheck. the same expectations of
Go have yourself a beer."y achievement as members of the
THE CONSPICUOUS society at large, the super-
narrowness of the opinion invites fluousness of affirmative action
challenge on precisely this point, affirbeve den When the goal g
and Powell's reasoning givesafdedeton theeitemet
those who support affirmative independent of the existence of
action little hope that non- the specific programs, they will
admissions programs will be become .inoperative as the
sustained. Mr. Powell rejected workings of society as a whole
the Davis program at the crucial serve their function, of
juncture which all affirmative establishing a society where race
action programs share-the at- is truly not a factor, for any pur-
tempt to redress and undo past pose, under any circumstance.
societal discrimination Heis THE NEXT ATTACK on affir-
unable to imagine the criteria mative action will almost surely
and guidelines by which some be on an employment rather than
minorities, such as chicanos and university admissions program,
blacks would be included in such and it appears to be in jeopardy.
programs while others, say There is no reason th believe the
Greeks and Lithuanians, would other eigtht justices will find such
not. But such a dilemma programs any more or less ac-
bespeaks a difference of degree ceptable than the Davis program,
and not kind, so Mr. Powell will once again
STo be sure, non-racial etic hold the balance. At the wide
minorities have beenrsubjected t disparity in material well-being
prejudice and discrimination in between the races he throws up
this country. But are we unable to his hands, unable to perceive
distinguish between groups possible rational steps toward a
whose children substantially solution. And the totally unaccep-
achieve assimilation by the table non-economic consequen-
secondvor third generation and ces of pervasive de facto
those who have not been segregation do not have a place in
assimilated in 350 years in this his calculations, except in so far
land? Can we not draw a line as they have functional con-
between those who carry nothing sequences.
but a surname as direct evidence This is not the place, nor am I
of their heritage and those who -the person, to analyze the
are discriminated against on economic impact of such a
distinctly visible grounds? Does possible result. , But if only
the experience of blacks, impor- minority group members at the
ted as slaves upon freedom sub- university level can take advan-
jected to vicious, sustematic tage of such programs, those
legal and political dis- already at the top within their
crimination, not differ in kind groups, it is unlikely that
from those groups who im- inequalities within minorities will
migrated with already strong be improved. And disparity bet-
national identifications and con- ween groups will only be tipped at
sequently a solid base on which to the very top of the scale. Those
build a measure of political in- who are in greatest need of af-
fluence? firmative action will be excluded,
MR. POWELL IS concerned and whites at those same levels
that even if affirmative actionw d eroadeinr
programs are successful, we will benefits of diversity of which Mr.
not know at what points minority Powell is so acutely aware, at
group is achieving at the level, least for people like himself.
nationwide, it would have without But his attitude is apparently,
a history of discrimination. That "Who cares?" The buildings will
we cannot easily quantify goals still be built as sturdily as ever.
for affirmative action is no objec- And the lawyers who inhabit
tion. Will the programs have ser- them? They will be inside. lear-
ved their purpose when black ning, discussing among them-
median income is 80 per cent, 90 selves, the best our country can
per cent, 100 per cent of the produce, thanks to the diversity
national average? Must the provided by minorities. In this we
proportion of black doctors equal can take some consolation.
their ratio in the nation as a Perhaps in thirty or so years, five
whole? Certainly these ines are of these fine, open-minded
difficult and somewhat arbitrary, lawyers can change this decision.
but surely median income must Gregg Gordon is a Uiver-
be more than 60 per cent of the sity awstudent. -

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