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February 03, 1982 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-02-03

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, February 3, 1982-

The Michigan Daily

A

Im

Screwing the

poor: Right

and Left

By Dan Aronoff
-n the current political debate over
the proposed reductions in federal
spending, the poor in our society find
themselves both as scapegoats - for
conservatives - and decoys - for
liberals.
Conservatives in Congress argue that
the'budget deficit must be reduced in
order to control inflation and stabilize
the economy. They tell all Americans
that they must tighten their belts in or-
der to "spread the sacrifice" of the
budget cuts. But when it comes time to
Vote, Jesse Helms gets his tobacco sub-
sidies, Bob- Dole keeps his agricultural
subsidies, the American Medical.
Association retains its monopoly status,
and the state of California is awarded
the lion's share of defense contracts.
IT HAS BECOME apparent that
those who call themselves conser-
vatives are really just the same as big-
spending liberals, only for different
constituencies. They talk about free en-
terprise and supply-side economics, but
the substance of their actions has to do
with politics, not economics. They are
engaged in a cynical competitionto see
whose ox gets gored (and whose gets
fattened). It turned out to be a lot easier
to cut CETA, food stamps, school lun-
ches, and welfare than to attack the
preserves of traditional conservative
conistituencies..
The problem conservatives face is
that there just isn't enough money
going to the poor in -the first place.

Therefore, cutting expenditures on
social welfare programs hasn't offset
the budget deficit. Once again, conser-
vatives are trying to argue that the
huge welfare-state transfers to the poor
are responsible for the persistence of
the deficit. So those who have already
taken the brunt of the spending cuts are
now being made scapegoats for the
inability of others to shoulder their
share of the burden.
Liberals, for their part, are closing
ranks in defense of the poor. They
stoutly defend the continuation of
government social programs that aid
the poor and rightly protest the unfair-
ness of the spending cuts. But liberals
rarely offer alternative spending cuts
or streamlining of existing programs.
The welfare-state empire that they
largely created can be preserved best
if selective spending reductions are met
with public outrage against "heartless
cuts to the podr" and translated into a
vindication of big government. As one
commentator recently observed, "Big-
spending liberals have been so
thoroughly discredited that they can be
rescued only by big-spending, conser-
vatives." That is exactly what the
liberals are hoping for.
IF LIBERALS should win that'
does not, however, necessarily mean
that the poor themselves will win. It
will only ensure that a lot of money will
be spent in their name. For example,
Michael Novak of the American Enter-
prise Institute has estimated that for
less than one-fourth the cost of CETA'
every black teenager in America could

-4

noted, "Ethnic minorities have never
seen social reformers as they have seen
themselves."
It should come as no surprise to
anyone that inequality in income has
not been seriously altered by the
reforms of the Great Society. What has
occurred is a massive transfer of power
and resources from the private sector
to the public sector. As neoconservative
social critic Irving Kristol put it,
"When modern liberals talk about "the
redistribution of income," they rare-
ly mean a simple redistribution among
individuals; more often they mean a
redistribution to the state. . . That is
the "dirty little secret"-the hidden
agenda-behind the current chatter
about the need for "redistribution.''
The talk is about equality, the substan-
ce is about power."
THE POOR are a good decoy for
those who want to increase their own
power and ability to impose their ideas
on the rest of society. They are ex-
cellent scapegoats for those who wish
to fatten their own bellies at the public.
expense while trying to balance the
budget. In both cases, unfortunately,
the poor end up getting screwed. Maybe
this result is inherent in all
arrangements of human society; cer-
tainly, it is the case wherever political
leverage has become the criterion for
allocating wealth-as when the central
government controls all of the resour-
ces.
In his book, Race and Economics,
economist Thomas Sowell charac-

terized the process by which politically-
based decision-making works against
the interests of the poor.
"Government programs, like all
other forms of human activity, have
their benefits and their disadvantages.
Those best able to maximize the
benefits and minimize the disadvan-
tages are those already well-off, finan-
cially and socially, and those most
likely to end up with the smallest
benefits and the largest losses are the
poor, the less educated, the less
organized, and the less prestigious,"
Sowell wrote.
One can debate the effects that a
more market-oriented economy would
have on the alleviation of poverty. One
cannot, however, deny that the increase
in the size of the public sector has
mainly benefited those who are already
well-off. The substance-as opposed to
the rhetoric-of the current debate over
the federai budget is essentially, a
struggle between competing elites. As
Sowell put it, "The poor did not inverzt
this game, nor are they the best at
playing it. The ultimate question,
however, is not who wins most at this'
game. The real challenge is to put an
end to the game before we all lose
through the crippling effects of inflation
on the economy."
Pointing at the poor, from whatever
perspective, won't solve anything. The
poor are not a part of the problem, they
are just pawns in this game.
Aronoff is an Opinion Page staff
writer.

be employed 40 hours a week for one
year. It has been estimated that it
would cost one-third of what is presen-
tly spent on anti-poverty programs to
lift every man, woman, and child in
America out of poverty. Whoever has
been getting the bulk of the money
earmarked for anti-poverty programs,
one thing is certain; it hasn't been the
poor.
Moreover, the poor must humble
themselves before the "wise"

bureaucrat or social reformer . The
poor are presumed incapable of making
their own choices. They are not allowed
to spend their money as they see fit,
rather they must dispose of their assets
just as the welfare state tells them
to-they are treated as undignified and
inferior human beings. An arrogant,
elitist and paternalistic mentality per-
vades those who oppose direct transfer
payments while still supporting social
programs. As one black historian

________________________________ T

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Weasel

By Robert Lence

XCII, No. 102

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

F

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

i ..._ _

KAPPA P141 OMEGA sORORI11f
AMP 'THE WHOLE EARTH CO-OP
UNIVERSITYof M'IcII6At CAMPUS5.
HOWE-VER, IEO Lt*4CAL 4 THEY

WE ASKFP 4 MEMBER OF EA«,4.1
Na*G TO TRADE Pt-AC 5 AND W V-
!N THE M461t 14006E FOR A WEEK.
Wt. WILL SE ON NAND TO REPORT
THEW. ExPER{EMLES.
a
R

RIGHT Now, SoRoRi Y
SISTFR! SUStE RovhER
IS ABo(5r To EN3oY i4eK
FIRST MEAL. AT IUF-
WHOLE EAM C..O-OP.
t
Ilillll 0
2-3

Negecting hi
pR'SI-DENT~ Reagan made it
absolutely clear Saturday that he
has no real concern for future higher
education of the nation's youth.
The Reagan administration announ-
ced this weekend that the monetary
constraints of next year's federal
budget would make graduate
professional students ineligible for
Guaranteed Student Loans. The
proposed budget, which must be ap-
proved by both houses of Congress, will
eliminate more than 650,000 students
from the federal GSL payroll.
The administration claims that cut-
ting graduate and professional studen-
ts out of the program will be a "cost-
cutting measure." But the potential
long-run loss to the nation should far
outweigh the immediate savings.
The GSL program is an essential
part of the American concern for the
further education of our nation. Our
national mix between privately sup--
ported and publicly supported
'education has allowed for the tremen-
dous diversity of our culture. Reagan's
attempt to halt the flow of federal fun-

glier .education
ds for the GSL program is a short-
sighted political move that could have
serious repercussions.
These repercussions would center
around the fa'ct that the GSL is one of
the roots of our system of higher
education. A middle-class family, just
barely able to afford the education of
its children, will now find itself at a
financial crossroads. Students may
now have to put off their higher
education, and students considering
graduate school may have to
reevaluate their plans. The GSL had
allowed financially strapped students
to wait until after graduation to pay for,
their educations, but now these studen-
ts will not even have this chance.
Certainly there were abuses in the
GSL program. On occasion, low in-
terest loans were taken and then rein-
vested in something other tha higher
education. But massive cutbacks in the
system, such as those currently
proposed by Reagan, point to a growing
neglect for the educational foundation
of our nation.

ARE YOU SERIOUS ?Y
YOU EX PELT ME TO
HELP COOK?' BUT I
MIGHT_ BREAK A NAIL!
i
LENcE MrHr6WA'NL 98L

E

0

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Turning the U' into a servant of war

To the Daily:
The Daily editorial of Jan. 28
tells Bret . Eynon and the
Michigan Student Assembly "Not
so fast", concerning Eynon's
defense-sponsored research
report. Yet human life and our
moral integrity as a University,
community are at stake. Those
who are silent and inactive on
this issue are accompliceds of
those who are remaking our
University into a servant of war.
Bret Eynon and MSA are working

in the name of peace against
powerful forces. Therefore, they'
cannot work fast enough.
The Daily editorial criticizes
Eynon's report because he did
not talk to the researchers who
have Department of Defense con-
tracts before submitting his
report to MSA. But when the
Daily spoke to two of the resear-
chers, George - Haddad and
Thomas Senior, it found out that
the researchers did not know how
the Department of Defense was

going to use their research.
It is the researchers, not
Eynon, who deserve criticism.
They are oblivious to the moral
and human consequences of their
work for the Department of
Defense, and that is deplorable.
The Regents have imposed a
reasonable limit on academic
freedom in their guideline
prohibiting classified research
"The clearly forseeable and
probable result of which ... or
any specific purpose of which is
to destroy human life." '
The defense researchers who
do not know how their work will
be applied, and the University of-
ficials who sanction that resear-
ch, are violating.the spirit of the

Regents' guideline.
When researchers and Univer-
sity officials do not act respon-
sibly, on this issue, it is our
responsibiliity to hold them ,ac-
countable. Thanks to Bret Eynon
and MSA we know who is doing
what for the- Department 'of
Defense on this campus.
Now we must enjoin the defen4
se researchers and University of-
ficials to determine whether the
research being done will result in
the destruction of human life. It if
will, or if they cannot or will not
determine its application, we
must then enjoin the researchers
to cease their research.
-Susan Harding
January 30

Hasty judgment

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To the Daily:
Your editorial entitled "Not so
fast, MSA", regarding the.
Michigan Student Assembly's
look into Defense Department
research on campus, should be
entitled more properly "Not so
fast, Michigan Daily," and
should aim its comments at
your own editors.
You, quote Eynon as saying,
"Much more work remains to be
done before a complete, entirely
accurate picture can be assem-
bled." Then, clearly not having
read Eynon's report, you claim
that he was hasty. Next time you
should read the report that you
criticize, then shoot off your
mouth.

Had you read to report, you
would have seen that it is,
although preliminary, a very
complete, accurate view of what
might be called the tip of the
iceberg of' University defense-
sponsored research. The work
that remains to be done, as noted
by Eynon, to assemble a com-
plete picture, is taking a long,
hard look at the rest of the
iceberg.
Your own editors, if they were
not so busy being hasty, could set
to work onIthis story themselves.
Rather than criticizing others,
the Daily should take its own
hard look at the war research
going on at this University.
-David Devarti
January 31

To the Daily:
As faculty members at the
University, we would like to ex-
press our support to the teach-in
called "Central America: The
Next Vietnam?", being spon-
sored at the University of
Michigan by the Latin American
Solidarity Committee.
Because of the general urgency
of the current situation in Central
America-especially the danger
of U.S. intervention and the plight

of refugees-we hope that the en-
tire University community will
make a special effort to partici-
ate in this educational event.
--Buzz Alexander, Prof. of
English
June Howard, Prof. of
English
Patricia Sipe, Prof. of Math
Alan Wald, Prof. of English
Tom Weisskopf, Prof. of
Economics
February 1

Latin American teach-in

Wasserman

At

NMORF ?OWON &A5

IT-MI r& (T-8 B ILLIONI,'
WIPE OUT ONLY CIVILIANS

ftu I AND WhE DONiE

AP'P A -To FE

1

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