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November 15, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-11-15

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OPINION
Page4 Sunday, November 15, 1981 The Michigan Daily

Time to resist

the

Three hundred days and counting. Lord in
the high heavens, be merciful.
* * * *
Three hundred days and counting. Lest we
become short-sighted, there are more than 1100
left. Yes, the fun is just beginning.
We knew it would be a major pain in the ass,
this shameless and cretinous Reagan ad-
ministration. We knew the shit-hammer was on
the way down. But we tried to console ourselves
by rationalizing, "The longer Reagan's in of-
fice, the better Carter will look. The
longer .
BUT THAT DOESN'T work anymore. In less
than a year, the Reagan "team" has
systematically gouged the humanity out of our
government, alienated and/or terrorized half
the world, and pitifully sniped at each other in
the process. Its performance has exceeded our
wildest expectations.
Our former sympathy for former President
Carter has been replaced by deep resentment.
* * * *
A monster, to say the least. And where do we
go from here? The American electorate has in-
stalled a muddle-minded demagogue in the
highest of offices, and there's little to do now
but sit back and witness the fireworks. The
display has already been impressive, and it's a
safe bet the rest of the show will be even more
so.
THE WHOLE rigmarole would be quite
comical, actually, is the inhabitants of our
nation and world had little at stake. Unfor-
tunately, there is the small matter of survival
here, and-our cold-warrior leaders are putting
us all in jeopardy. Secretary of State Alexander

Haig warns us not to "delude" ourselves about
the Menacing Soviet Threat; we hadn't also
deluded ourselves about the perilous, blood-
soaked course of human history. Our stay on
this planet has been odiously fraught with
plunder and violence. It would seem consistent,
then; that Reagan and his fellow lunatics-with
their bigger and better tools of death-will per-
form the finale. So much for humor. We're
playing with fire.
* * * *
With this in mind, fellow students, the time
has clearly come to emerge from our shells.
Sure, the post-Vietnam era has. been pleasan-
tly apolitical-our leaders managed to refrain
from the outrageous inhumanity of that war,
and it was damn comfortable kicking Richard
Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter
around. But the seventies are long gone and, by
all indications, the eighties are not going to be
pretty. The time has come to mobilize.
* * * *
EVERY DAY in the newspapers we read
another horror story about the pathetic Reagan
Romp. Whether Interior Secretary James Watt
is gutting conservation initiatives or CIA
Director William Casey is proposing renewed
domestic surveillance, the horror stories keep
on coming. And, like any doomed enterprise,
there is the usual self-destruction: Haig and
National Security Advisor Allen feud; Haig and
Defense Secretary Casper Weinburger con-
tradict each other; William Casey is nearly
ousted from the CIA for dubious private prac-
tices; Budget Director David Stockman
publicly doubts the wisdom of Reaganomics.

By Steve Hook
Now we have Allen under an FBI in
All the elements of a successful sit-c
But again, the comic elements
shadowed by tragic ones. On th
front, to name a few injustices, soc
are cut by the same 30 percent1
budget is increased. Food stamps;
Dependent Children are reduced
vironmental Protection Agency is
its potency. Funding for alternative
ploration is reduced while nuclear
the green light, despite its mountin
unfeasibility. Mass transit projects
or curtailed.
JUST LAST WEEK, we wer
Medicaid, Medicare, and Social S
not far behind. Get ready for the trio
These horror stories can be stom
great effort, if heard individually
you consider the collective mass
administration antics, you'd better
bag handy.
* * * *
In foreign affairs, where does one
WE HAVE A wondrously concei
policy that has, for the most part,
We learned in beginners politicals
the main purpose of foreign p
reassure allies and alarm adversa
The Reagan team, from Haig
Secretary Casper Weinburger
Nations AMbassador Jean Kirkpa
given this a new twist. We haver
alarm our allies-with one-dimen
talk that has inspired huge ant

Reagan Ri
demonstrations throughout Western
Europe-so that today the NATO alliance is
frayed worse than during the "indecisive" Car-
ter years. And our adversaries, namely the
vestigation. Soviet Union, cannot help but feel relieved that
com. the Americans have stolen the spotlight once
and over- again, so their own equally lamentable
Le domestic behavior has been less conspicuous.
ial services
the defense In England, West Germany, and the
and Aid for Netherlands, the "pacifism" our leaders con-
1. The En- demn has mushroomed in recent months. And
stripped of let's not kid ourselves, Uncle Sam is the focal
e energy ex- point of this movement-the Reagan ad-
power gets ministration's superficial red-baiting has sim-
Zg economic ply failed to move our European allies, and the
s are halted stability of the alliance is severely shaken.
The "monolithic" communist threat, eviden-
e told that tly, has been perceived with more alarm here
ecurity are than in its own backyard. Do we know
ckle down. something they don't know? I doubt it.
ached, with We have further eroded our already floun-
. But when dering relations with the third world, never
of Reagan mind Reagan's post-Cancun gibberish. The
have a barf good citizens of Thailand and Tanzania have
simply not bought our president's free enter-
prise line. They somehow feel that their
begin? agonizing poverty is not due to a suicidal
ved foreign dedication to socialism-and they wonder how
back-fired. the most prosperous nation can ignore this.
science that
olicy is to IN THE MIDEAST, where the players are
ries, right? catching their breath before the next con-
to Defense vulsion of killing, American policy is seen as
to United capricious at best. The Camp David accord is
trick-have dying a slow death, and our leaders have failed
managed to to evaluate the present-day, complicated
isional war realities that make it unworkable. We were too
ti-American busy squabbling over asenseless AWACS sale to

omp
Saudi Arabia, which estranged Israel and crip-
pled the "peace process," to approach the un-
derlying conflicts with any sensitivity.
Our sabre-rattling has also estranged Japan.
Rather than appreciate the grim Reagan-Haig-
Weinberger-Kirkpatrick scenarios of an im-
minent communist thread, the Japanese have
pointed right back at Washington for the distin-
ction of Number One Menace. Anti-American
demonstrations began after one of our sub-
marine skippers politely rammed a Japanese
barge last summer, leaving the crew ter-
minally treading water, and their apprehen-
sion-if not utter hostility-continues today.
We have seen unprecedented ignorance at
work in our international relations. And this
mismanagement has accompanied a flurry of
high-volume arms sales to every corner of the
world, and a visible reluctance to talk arms
control with the Soviet Union. Two wonderful
examples for the world's most powerful force
to set.
S * * * *
Three hundred days and counting. These
loathsome developments have been reviewed
extensively in domestic and foreign
publications, but the level of alarm here in the
states remains curiously low. We have a gang
of clowns running this country, with all the
resources, necessary to dismantle our
civilization (and the mentality to do it), and our
citizenry remains complacent. Lord in the high
heavens, be merciful.

Steve Hook was the
Page editor last summer.
News Department intern
Detroit.

Daily's Opinion
He is currently a
at WXYZ-TV in

rt

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Feiffer

Vol. XCII, No. 58

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M! 48109

Editorialtsrepresent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
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IT'SALWAYS nice to know that the
government is being run smoothly.
Unfortunately, the Reagan ad-
ministration hasn't made things that
nice;-especially over the past week.
First of all there was David Stock-
man. The OMB's whiz kid-the high
priest of supply side economics-said
that the administration's plan really
wasn't anything new and that the
Kemp-Roth tax cut was a "Trojan hor-
se" designed to give the wealthy
bigger tax breaks.
Well, that's old news by now. And
besides, it's been obvious the Reagan
administration has certainly made no
efforts to help the non-wealthy. But
then there's this little thing about
Richard Allen, the administration's
natonal security advisor.
Ikseems that Allen received $1,000
frcix a Japanese magazine publisher,
forijrranging an interview with Nancy

Reagan. Allen has insisted it was not a
bribe and that he received the money
on Jan. 21-the day after the
inauguration, and immediately put it
in a saf4 in his office in the Old
Executive Office Building. When he
moved his office to the west wing of the
White House, he said, he simply forgot
about the money. A secretary has since
found the money.
Allen says he forgot about the
money. That's not a comforting
thought. Let's hope the national
security advisor doesn't forget about a
few MX missiles or a couple stray
AWACS.
Allen insists it wasn't a bribe-and
there's a good chance it wasn't. But
whether it was unethical behavior or
just Allen's stupidity, both demon-
strate a fundamental problem with the
people who are running the gover ;
nment.

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Just a little more than a year
from now, a central principle in
the American dream will be of-
ficially laid to rest.
Simply put, the principle held
that the common man in this
country not only had an
inalienable right to property, but
be a nation of home-owners.
NOW THE Reagan ad-
ministration has taken steps
toward a landmark policy change
which will, in effect,
acknowledge the withdrawal of
home ownership from the main-
stream of American expec-
tations.
Beginning in 1983, the Depar-
tment of Labor has announced,
monthly Consumer Price Index
estimates of the U.S. cost of
living no longer will include the
cost of buying a
home-prevailing mortgage 'in-
terest rates and the current
market value of real estate. In
addition, the proportion of the
CPI which is accounted to
housing will be reduced to 14 per-
cent of the index, from its present
25 percent.
According to Commissioner of
Labor Statistics Janet Norwood,
the change is intended to more
accurately measure the cost of
living. Because relatively few
Americans purchase homes in
any given month, she argues, un-
stable interest rates and soaring
real estate prices are not
relevant to the actual living
costs of most citizens.
THE NEW POLICY has been
warmly received in Congress,
where it is viewed as an effective
means of curbing federal
budgetary increases in such

SWhittling
away at
the American
Dream
By Frank Viviano

discovered in recent years: the
emergence of a vast chasm in the
United States between those who
purchased homes in the era of
low interest rates and reasonable
real estate, and those who never
will own a home. The latter
category includes most young
people and recent immigrants, as
well as millions of others who
waited too long to enter the
housing market.
IT IS A CHASM measured
not only in dollars and dreams,
but also in historic political im-
port.
Since the day Abraham Lincoln
signed the Homestead Act in 1862,
the U.S. government has actively
endorsed he concept, of a society
composed almost entirely of
property owners. The concept
was modernized by Franklin
Roosevelt in 1934 with the
Federal Housing Authority,
.vlin n1.. - -'f* nl fi . l.. - k

California, to purchase a city
home at a monthly cost of little
more than $200.
TODAY, A renter in virtually
any American city must expect to
pay in excess of $500 for a modest
apartment, and look forward to
yearly rent hikes as well. By con-
trast, the 1972 home buyer's mor-
tgage payments remain
$200--with property taxes frozen in
some states.
Yet under the revided Con-
sumer Price Index, the gap bet-
ween the renter and the owner
would be quite invisible.
This by no means is an unusual
contrast. It is, in fact, typical of
our times, and it will grow
steadily more typical as the
number of those who cannot join
the ranks of American property
owners rises. In the meantime,
the cost-of-living gap also will.
grow.

nation of a gargantuan defense
budget. Washington must go to
the private lending institutions
for defense money when the tax
intake is insufficient, and interest
rates soar accordingly.
But in the years ahead, the
decision to abandon the active
endorsement of mass home
ownership could prove to be
social dynamite. "Always before
in North American history," the
eminent land ."economist Mason
Gaffney observed in 1977, gover-
nment policies and "the
exuberance of land developers"
have combined to keep real
estate within the common reach
and "blurred the distinctions
between the haves and have-
nots."
f*NOW, HOWEVER, with gover-
nment simultaneously deserting
the common buyer and
discouraging the construction of
new housing through its fiscal
policies, warned Gaffney, "we
are in danger of developing a
class structure more rigid than
anything ever seen before over a
long period of time on this con-
tinent."
We are in danger, in other wor-
ds, of repudiating the egalitarian
materialism of the American
dream which has been a 'fun-
damental stabilizing force in U.S.
history.
Ironically, the rise of ,Ronald
Reagan to the White House was in
no small part due to his in-
vocation of that dream-his
promise to return us to the days
when no one could challenge the
material superiority of the
American way.
He replaced a president who
had the temerity to declare, in- t

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