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December 04, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-12-04

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OPINION

Page 4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCII, No. 70

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

Friday, December 4, 1981
Weasel
1: /ANT TO
THANK You ALL
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Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

The Michigan Daily
By Robert Lence

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01

A victory for labor

O RGANIZED labor won a well-
deserved victory Monday. The
Supreme Court ruled that employees
whose jobs give them access to con-
fidential information do not lose the
protections of federal labor law.
A federal appellate Court in Chicago
earlier had created a broad "confiden-
tial employee" exclusion from the
National Labor Relations Act, also
known as the Wagner Act. Under the
Wagner Act, workers are given the
right to join unions or participate in
other "concerted activity" with
workers without threat of job ter-
mination. However, the appellate
court had made an exclusion for "con-
fidential employees."
The high court unanimously and

wisely overturned that ruling. No em-
ployee, regardless of his or her em-
ployment status, should be barred
from joining a union if he or she
chooses.
It was unfortunate, however, to see
the court split, 5-4, in applying the
decision to the employee in Monday's
case. The court only narrowly rejected
a lower court's decision that allowed a
company to fire the chief executive's
personal secretary because she signed
a petition with other employees asking
the company to reinstate a disabled
person. It was unfortunate to see four
of the justices-including recent ap-
pointment Sandra O'Connor-go
against, in practice, what they had just
approved in theory.
"

f

Defeat of a compromise

TOWARD BAKER himself described
x it as "one of the shortest-lived
tial balloons in history." And it was.
:Less than 24 hours after he launched
his effort to get a simple 10-year exten-
sion of the Voting Rights Act passed
by the Senate, Majority Leader Baker
gave up-defeated as well as dishear-
tened by the intense opposition his
pt-oposal stirred.
The action by Baker stalls the drive
to extend the Voting Rights Act, which
has proven to be one of the most effec-
tive civil rights laws passed in the
1960's. But though the action stalls the
movement to extend the law, Baker's
reasons for withdrawing the proposal
s'ggests that there is at least some
sentiment in the Senate for the passage
of a meaningful extension.
To be sure, the Baker proposal en-
countered opposition not only from
senators-like Strom Thurmond of

South Carolina-who would just as
soon gut the act all together, but from
more progressive senators like Ed-
ward Kennedy.
Baker's proposal was a com-
promise; it sought to obtain a simple
extension of the act without the
changes proposed by either Kennedy
or Thurmond. In fact, Kennedy's in-
sistence that the extension contain a
provision eliminating a requirement
that the government has to prove that
a jurisdiction intended to violate the
rights of minority voters may have
doomed the compromise effort.
It's a sad comment on the times
when the Senate purposely avoids
dealing with an issue such as the
Voting Rights Act. But the fact that a
proposal for compromise was drop-
ped-at least in part--because of
strong Senate support for propogation
of civil rights is certainly encouraging.

After hearing the likes of Jesse
Jackson, Benjamin Hooks, and
Carl Rowan accuse thb Reagan
administrationof everything
short of wanting to bring back
slavery, the recent emergence of
Thomas Sowell is a welcome
relief for those of us who know
that our President's economic
policies are not racist in intent.
Thomas Sowell, 51, is a black
economist at Stanford Univer-
sity's Hoover Institution and an
advisor to President Reagan. In
the words of syndicated colum-
nist Joseph Sobran, "Sowell has
taken his empirical ball-and-
crane to liberal mythology." He
does not attack the civil rights
movement for removing some of
the legal barriers to black oppor-
tunity. However, he rejects
racism as the sole explanation for
the plight of minorities. He sees
government action to help blacks
as nothing more than a cosmetic
move in the direction of "social-
progress." Moreover, he shows
that statist remedies for the
"black problem" are doing
positive harm.
SOWELL'S HYPOTHESES
deserves special con-
sideration when one looks at the
histories of other ethnic groups
that immigrated to the United
States. When the Jews, Irish, and
Poles arrived in this country in
the 19th century they did not find
an easy life. They lived in
subhuman dwellings, worked in
sweatshops for a dollar a day,
and faced rampant
discrimination. Furthermore,
many did not even speak English.
There was no minimum wage, no
rent controls, no compulsory at-
tendance laws for schools, no af-
firmative action, and no welfare.
The attitude of the federal gover-
nment was "sink or swim."
For the most part, these
minorities "swam." Despite all
of the road blocks thrown up by the

By Douglas

bigots, there were no insurmoun-
table economic barriers to op-
portunity such as those that th-
wart today's blacks. Through
self-reliance, these groups even-
tually moved out into affluent
suburbs. Predominant ethnic
populations-e.g. New York
Jews, Chicago Poles, Boston
Irish, New Orleans French-still
remain. But these ethnic en-
claves are de facto, not de jure.
Certain groups simply prefer to
"stick together."
SOWELL POINTS OUR that
those ethnic groups which have
chosen the economic route to in-
tegration have always fared bet-
ter than those who have chosen
the political route. Long ago, the
Oriental and Jewish leaders
deliberately chose to stay aloof
from the political arena and rely
on hard work and education in
order to attain their goals. Hence,
their rises from poverty to af-
fluence have been the most
dramatic. Conversely, the ethnic
group with the closest in-
volvement with the United States
government-namely, the
American Indians-has
remained at the bottom of the
economic ladder.
"I don't havefaith in the
market," says Sowell, "I have

evidence about the mark
believes that individuals,,
on first-hand knowledge o
own situations will almost,
make more profitable de
than bureaucrats who h,
personal interest in then
notion that blacks canno
and get for themselves sug
very patronizing attitude
part of the current black1
ship and those who symj
with it.
Thus, Sowell opposes mi
wages, rent controls
cupational liscensure laws
renewal programs, etc. as
fering with transaction
would, in the long run,
blacks. Jews, Irish, and Or
were left to their own d
and, as a result, have inte
very smoothly into the Am
socio-economic mainstreai
IT IS INTERESTING t
that while a plurality of
Americans favor tuitio
credits for schools an
minimum wages for teen
the black leadership ar
Congressional Black Cau
pose both.
To illustrate Sowell's th
there is no better place to
than with the minimum w,
the 1940's when blacks

So well:
Racism as
my th ology

Newman

northward into the cities looking
for their day in the sun, there was
a minimum wage, but it was at
such a level that employers in
poor neighborhoods could afford
to pay it. In 1948, the unem-
ployment rate among black
teenagers was lower than that
among whites! But successive
increases in the minimum wage
have simply priced countless jobs
out of the market! Not even the
most strident black activist
would say that racial prejudice
has increased fivefold since 1948.
It is worth mentioning Sowell's
life story, which Time magazine
has termed "an advertisement
et." He for the American Dream."
based Sowell was born poor in North
f their Carolina where he attended a
always segregated school ("We never
cisions wondered why there weren't any
ave no white kids there.") He moved to
n. The Harlem at age 13 and eventually
t think quit high school. He later joined
gests a the Marines and used his GI Bill
on the money (the government can do
leader- some good) to attend Howard
pathize University in Washington. He
performed so well there that he
nimum transferred to Harvard where he
oc- obtained his B.A. in economics
, urban He received graduate degrees
s inter- from Columbia and the Univer-
s that sity of Chicago. He has taught at
benefit several universities and last fall
'ientals he rejected an offer to become
devices President Reagan's Secretary of
grated Education. He is the author of
ierican eight books.
in. The chief value of Sowell's
o note work is his demonstration that
black good laws do not always make
)n tax good men, and that "racism" is,
d sub- literally, nothing more than a
iagers, skin-deep explanation for the
nd the plight of black Americans. The
cus op- chief value of Thomas Sowell is
the courage he displays in being a
inking, lone thinker pitting himself
begin agains a swarm of demagogues.

age. In
moved

Newman is an LSA sopho-
more.

"SORRY, KI, WUT THAT'S SHOW IZ"
r AEI
---V
M Ys
a \,

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

NASA needs, deserves more funds

To the Daily:
I would like to correct one false
impression in the article you ran
on November 25 entitled " 'U'
lecturer brings outer space
odysseys alive."
President Reagan has (I think
deliberately) not taken any
position about the value of future
space exploration. The horror
stories about a possible cessation
of all future U.S. planetary ex-
ploration, or a turning off of
Voyager 22 before it can become
the first spacecraft to reach
Uranus and Neptune, are-so
far-just rumors about what
Stockman's Office of
Management and Budget might
do; they aren't yet facts.
The terrible danger is that they
might become self-fulfilling
prophecies, if people are led to
believe they're inevitable.
Fortunately, a president whose
very fame came from films on
the exploration of the American
West hasn't yet actually said
publicly that he's against further
exploration.

It's very important, for the
sake of whole futire of the human
race, to write the president now,
in care of the White House,
Washington, D.C. 20500, to urge
an expanded space program
before he's been forced to state a
public position on it.
The obvious question is:
Why shouldn't NASA be cut
when so many other programs
have been? Fortunately, there
are good answers.
First, NASA is the only federal
expenditure of its size (just one
percent of the federal budget)
that makes the U.S. economy a
huge profit (at least $14 for every
$1 spent). In the long run, it
reduces both inflation and unem-
ployment, instead of just trading
off one for the other.
Second, NASA, unlike all the
rest, has already been cut-every
year for the past decade and
more.
Third, the U.S. public realizes
these differences; opinion polls
show that Americans support in-
creased space spending at the

same time they (rightly or
wrongly) support decreased
federal expenditures in general.
Reagan has already received
more than 50,000 letters suppor-
ting an expanded space
program-more than he has
received on any other single issue

in his economic program. I men-
tion that fact to you because it is
the greatest single fact space
supporters need to learn: You're
not only not alone-you're the
great majority.
-Jim Loudon
November 25

Stones were pebbles

To the Daily:
If one got the impression from
the Daily's coverage that the
recent Rolling Stones concerts at
the Pontiac Silverdome were
"crowd pleasing," we sould like
to speak for a substantial portion
of the crowd which wasn't too
pleased.
The evening was off to a great
start before we even entered the
Silverdome. The parking was a
real bargain at $6. We then
walked along the now infamous
barrel-lined entrance gates only
to be greeted by a sneering
policeman who frisked us from
head to toe.
Once inside the intimate con-
fines of the Silverdome, we were
treated to 2 and a half hours of
watching a video screen with
binoculars amidst torrential win-
ds. The sound was so horrible
that we literally could not under-
stand one phrase that Mick
Jagger said. For example, a gem

The main pebble, Mick, was con-
stantly in motion. Let it not be
said that this Stone is out of
shape. Preparing for this tour,
Mick ran ten miles a day around
his rented Massachusetts man-
sion, while other lazy slobs
around the country were just sit-
ting behind desks and working in
factories 8 hours a day. Though
many fans obviously relished -
Mick's movements, we foundy
them a tad frantic.
However, Mick and Ron's fran-
tic behavior was better than the
boredom conveyed by the rest of
the group. Question: how can
they play "Satisfaction" for the
millionth time and still remain
sane? Answer: Thirty-five:
million dollars. Well at least we ,
learned two valuable lessons
from this experience: 1) If you.-
can avoid Pontiac in your future
travels, by all means do so. 2)
Limit yourself to concerts with
attendance of, oh, say, less than

A llocation un warran ted

To the Daily:
I am writing in response to
your article entitled, "Banner
Protests 'U' Research," which
appeared in the Daily on Novem-

during the Ohio State game.
I feel that it is extremely im-
portant that the students in the
College of LS&A are aware of
how nrt of nur mnnev is being

i

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