The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, January 15, 1980-Page I
Consumer confidence hits low, survey says
By BETH ROSENBERG
Consumer confidence is at an all-time
low and will continue its downward
trend through the first half of 1980, ac-
cording to the University's quarterly
Survey of Consumer Attitudes.,
Tight credit conditions and high in-
terest rates, especially for houses and
cars, have led to considerably lower
buying attitudes, the study indicated.
THE NOVEMBER 1979 survey, con-
ducted by the University's Survey
Research Center, placed the Index of
Consumer-Sentiment at 63.3, down from
64.5 in August 1979. Although the index
has remained largely unchanged since
mid-1979, the current level of consumer
sentiment represents a significant
decline from a year ago when the figure
was 75. The November figure is just 5.3
Index points above the ill-time record
low recorded in early 1975.
Survey Director Richard Curtin said
lately consumers have reacted dif-
ferently from economic downswings
than they have in the past.,
"In prior recessions, increasing in-
flation brought prompt cutbacks in con-
sumer spending," the economics
professor said. "However, in 1978 and
early 1979, as price increases advan-
ced, consumers opted to buy in advance
rather than opting for postponing pur-
BUT ATTITUDES in late 1979 were
pessimistic toward spending, Curtin
said, and consumers expected their
economic situation to worsen in the
The November 1979 survey is the cen-
ter's 112th study providing regular
assessments of consumer attitudes and
expectations and is used to evaluate
economic trends and prospects.
Based on a representative sample of
1,307 respondents, the results have a
sampling error of four per cent in either
Attitudes towards buying houses
declined in the November 1979 survey,
the report indicated. Only 28 per cent of
all families rated buying conditions as
favorable for houses in November,
down from 46 per cent in August.
Nearly two-thirds of all families men-
tioned high interest rates as a factor for
unfavorable buying conditions, up from
27 per cent in August, the study said.
FAVORABLE attitudes toward
market conditions for cars were held by
38 per cent of all families in November
1979, similar to the 39 per cent recorded
in November 1978. High interest rates
were blamed for the unfavorable views
toward automobile sales.
Forty-four per cent of all families
reported they were worse off finan-
cially than a year ago, up from 31 per
cent in November 1978. The shift in per-
sonal financial attitudes was sharper
among high-income families, the study
Nearly half of the respondents said
their financial situation worsened
because of higher prices.
Consumers, the survey revealed, ex-
pected prices to increase by 11.2 per
cent during the 12 months in November
1979, up from 10.4 per cent in 1978
Overall, almost half of all families now
expect prices to increase by 10 per cent
or more during the next year.
Confidence in the government's
ability to' combat inflation and unem
ployment improved somewhat over the
August low point of eight per cent, to a
November figure of 10per cent.
r 112 s and
Lance heads for courtroom
Former federal budget director Bert Lance holds hands with his wife,
LaBelle, as they arrive yesterday at federal court in Atlanta. Lance pro-
claimed his innocence to the bank fraud charges saying, "I'm ready to go."
Area residents debate
Judge bars prosecution
documents in Pinto trial
By PATRICIA HAGEN
The proposed interchange at Inter-
tate 94 and Platt Road evoked more
.than two hours of debate from about 100
concerned area residents at last night's
City Council meeting.
An interchange at the same site was
closed by the state in 1966 because of
unsafe conditions and the closeness of
the U.S. 23/1-94 interchange less than a
mile to the southeast. The council
passed a resolution to build a
replacement interchange in the future.
I& COUNCIL IS scheduled to vote next
Monday.-evening to reaffirm the 1966
resolution or to veto the construction of
an interchange. A state department of
transportation (MDOT) meeting is
scheduled for Jan. 23 to consider the
According to the MDOT's negative
declaration on the proposed inter-
change, the traffic on Platt Road would
increase 53 per cent with an inter-
John Robbins, director of the city
transportation department interpreting
the report, said traffic projections also
indicate that traffic will decrease on
State Road and Washtenaw Avenue.
The proposed interchange would cost
the city about $60,000 with state and
federal funds comprising the remain-
der of the $4.5 million needed for the
project, according to Acting City Ad-
ministrator Godfrey Collins.
RESIDENTS OF the Platt Road area
and representatives of several Ann Ar-
bor citizens' groups said the road
project would increase traffic, destroy
the established residential neigh-
borhoods, prompt commercial and in-
dustrial development, and damage a 16-
acre wetland in the area southeast of
Jack Morris, representing the Pit-
tsfield Township Planning Commission
called. the interchange an "essential
addition" to the area's transportation
From AP and UPI
WINAMAC, Ind. - The judge in the
trial of Ford Motor Co. on charges of
reckless homicide yesterday restricted
the prosecution's use of key documents
dealing with defective Pinto fuel tanks.
Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Harold
\Staffeldt ruled that the prosecution
may make no use of two documents in
which a Ford employee discussed the
cost of fixing the Pinto's fuel system in-
stead of allowing the cars to be sold as
they were and paying damages for burn
PROSECUTOR Michael Cosentino
said the documents showed that the
automaker put a price on human life,
but Staffeldt said they were "pretty far
remote from the defects in the 1973 Pin-
to" and were irrelevant.
Staffeldt also barred use of a third
document dealing with rear-end
collisions in Ford models other than the.
But the prosecution scored a key
point with the judge's ruling that cer-
tain evidence does not have to be
limited to federal guidelines.
THE CHARGES against the
automaker stem from a fiery August
1978 crash in which three teen-age
girls burned to death. Their 1973 Pinto
sedan exploded when hit from behind
by a van traveling 50 mph on a northern
Indiana highway near Goshen.
While restricting use of the documen-
ts as evidence, Staffeldt allowed the
prosecution to argue its claim that a
jury may decide whether the Pinto
should have been able to withstand a
rear impact from a vehicle traveling
more than 30 mph.
The 30 mph limit was set by the
National Highway Traffic Safety Ad-
ministration in 1977, and Ford attorney
James Neal said allowing a jury to set a
higher standard would destroy unifor-
mity in the automobile industry.
"EVERY ENGINEER in Detroit will
be subject to prosecution," Neal said.
"This is what I see as the problem with
this case in its entirety. It's a national
industry. You need a uniform stan-
Later, he added, "One would think if
we met those standards, we would not
be subject to prosecution."
Bruce Berner, a Valparaiso Univer-
sity law professor serving as deputy
prosecutor, argued that the federal
regulation was only a minimum stan-
dard and in no way prohibits the jury
from establishing a higher one.
Berner also said the federal
guidelines should not apply because
they were drawn up in 1974 and were
not in existence when the Pinto in
question - a 1973 model - was
designed and built.
On three other motions by the
automaker, Staffeldt ruled that the
prosecution must show that evidenbce
about general Pinto design has a direct
bearing on the fatal Indiana crash
before it can be used in the trial.
"The state cannot be permitted to put
an expert on the stand to go on about
defects that he doesn't even believe had
anything to do with this crash," said
Malcolm Wheeler, one of Ford's attor-
neys. "It would be prejudicial. Ford
could not unring that bell."
Squid can be as tiny as minnows or as
large as whales, according to National
Geographic. Squid can weigh as much
as two tons and can be as tall as a six-
story building from the tops of their
heads to the lips of their arms.
The Ann Arbor "Y" is now accepting
applications for staff positions at the
Camp AI-Gon.Qulan: A resident
camp for boys and girls, located on
Burt Lake in northern Michigan, June
23-August 10. Senior staff positions,
ages 18 and above, available in fol-
lowing areas: horseback riding, sail-
ing, canoeing, trips, arts and crafts,
archery, woodworking, land sports,
swimming and waterskiing. Salary
plus room and board.
Camp Brkett: A day camp for boys
and girls, located on Silver Lake near
Pinckney, June 16-August 15. Senior
staff positions, ages 18 and above,
are available for candidates with fol-
lowing skills: archery, swimming,
sailing, canoeing, arts and crafts, and
Applications and additional informa-
tion regarding positions at both camps
may be obtained by contacting the Ann
Arbor "Y", 350 S. Fifth Avenue, Ann
Arbor,'or call (313) 663-0536.
South University and Church. Beneath the Count of Antipasto. 668-8411
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Computing Center-Videotape, The DECwriter Terminal and MTS,
continuous from 7 p.m.-10 p.m., multi-purpose room, UGLI.
Cinema II-The Green Wall, 7, 9 p.m., MLB 3.,
Ann Arbor Film Co-op-Dr. Strangelove, 7, 10:20 p.m., Aud. A, Angell.
Ann Arbor Film Co-op-Killer's Kiss, 8:40 p.m., Aud. A, Angell.
International Center-Bangledesh Ambassador Tobarak Hossain,
"Bangladesh and Its Foreign Policy," noon, Intl. Center-free lunch.
SIMS-"Introduction to TM," 12, 3,8 p.m., multi-purpose room, UGLI.
Museum of Zoology-Phillip Ward, "Systematic & Genetic Relation-
ships in a Species Complex of Pnerine Ants," 4 p.m., 1033 Kellogg Dentistry
Bioengineering-Elden Frisch, "Considerations for Biomedical
Materials for Implants of Silicone," 4 p.m., 1042 East Engineering.
Great Lakes & Marine Environ.-Clifford Rice, "PCBs in the Great
Lakes," 4 p.m., Room 165, Chrysler Center.
Geology & Minerology-Arvid Johnson, "Forms of Folds," 4 p.m., Room
4001, C.C. Little.
Areospace Eng. & Computer, Info. & Control Eng.-Bernard Walsh,
"Hughes Communications Satelites: RF Electronics, Present and Future,"
4 p.m., Room 1504, East Engineering.
Center for-South and Southeast Asian Studies-Bangladesh Ambassador
Tobarak Hossain, "Bangladesh and the Burmese Refugee Problem," 8 p.m.,
Human Sexuality Office-Paul Bail, "Self-Energizing and Self-
Education Groups for Therapists,"8 p.m., Guild House.
Barbershop Singing Society-6:30, 8:30 p.m., Briarwood Mall.
Ars Musica-Orchestra-Concert: L, 8 p.m., League Ballroom.
Museum of Art-"Eighteenth Century Prints and Drawings," 9 a.m.-5
p.m., Museum of Art.
Slusser "Gallery-"Art/Book/Art," "Watercolors, acrylic paintings and
collages," Prof. illiam Lewis, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Slusser Gallery.
Kelsey Mus .um of Archaeology-"Faces of Immortality," 9 a.m.-4
p.m., Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
Clements Library-"Eighteenth Century British Architecture," 9 a.m.-
noon, 1-5 p.m., Clements Library.
Bentley Historical Collections-"Women's Athletics at U-M: The Early
Years," 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Natural History Museum-"Indians of the Great Lakes Region," 9 a.m.-
5 p.m., rotunda, Museum of Natural History.
Pendleton Arts Center-"Arts Materials from Around the State," 10
a.m.-4 p.m., Pendleton Arts Center.
Union Art Gallery-"Ceramics, Sculplture and Printmaking,'" Joan
Gallup and Paulene Benio, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Union Art Gallery.
Rare Book Room-"Charles Dickens 1812-1870," 10 a.m.-noon, 1-5 p.m.,
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Stop by and talk with our campus
Ask a Peace Corps volunteer why he teaches business
marketing techniques to vegetable farmers in Costa
Rica. Ask a VISTA volunteer why she organizes the
rural poor in Arkansas to set-up food co-ops. They'll