Page 4 Wednesday, February 10, 1982 The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Saving the Clean Air
Vol. XCII, No. 108
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Another student obsession
A MERICA'S growing obsession
with money has finally invaded
our college campuses and the students
who inhabit them. It seems as if
students have turned their backs on
their normal idealism and instead
plunged into the current financial
pragmatism of the age.
A nationwide survey recently
revealed that this year's college fresh-
person class is more obsessed with
making money when they graduate
than any other class in recent memory.
Sixty percent of those surveyed at
universities around the nation said
they thought being financially "well
off" was a major, if not the major goal,
in their college and post-college.
This attitude, which already
dominates the thoughts of most
working Americans, seems to be the
one concern that students should be
avoiding, not embracing. Certainly
making money is important, and so is
having the abundant luxuries of
American middle-class life, but basing
one's educational experience on how to
achieve financial security appears
The college years are a time when
students should be able to educate
themselves unhindered by the nagging
concerns of financial well-being.
Students should devote some planning
to their future career, but the
broadening of horizons is equally im-
portant. College provides people with
the chance to learn about subjects they
may never again encounter. If one is
limited to a narrow vocational field too
early' in life, then a closed-minded
future is bound to follow.
When students ,eventually graduate
into the turmoil of everyday life they
will discover that money-and all that
is associated with money-is a driving
force behind their lives. Then they will
realize too late that broadening their
educational perspectives in college,
while they had the chance, could have
been a truly enlightening experience.
By Steven Dobbs
Pardon our ignorance, but we thought this
issue was solved over a decade ago.
The Clean Air Acts of 1965, 1970, and 1977 all
stamped the protection of the public welfare
from air pollution into the fabric of American
law. So what is the problem, you might ask?
THE PROBLEM IS that the Federal Clean
Air Act has come under attack from the
Reagan_ administration, the auto industry,
and the utility companies. If these anti-en-
vironment types succeed in gutting the Clean
Air Act, the effectiveness of the act to protect
the public health will be destroyed.
For example, the auto industry wants to
ease the carbon monoxider(CO) emission
standard from 3.4 grams per car mile to 7
grams per car mile, and the oxides of
nitrogen (NOx) emission standard from 1
gram per car mile to 2 grams per car mile. In
other words; the auto industry wants to
double the amount of pollution that comes out
of our nation's cars. The industry claims that
loosening these standards is needed to get the
auto industry back on it's feet. According to
the major car companies, the easing of CO
and NOx standards will allow manufacturers
to reduce car prices, thus improving the sales
of American-made cars.
However, there are several problems with
this line of reasoning. First, since foreign
cars must meet the same standards as
American cars, emission standards for
foreign auto makers will also be relaxed and
they will be able to further reduce their
already. lower prices. Second, the pollution
device the industry wants to eliminate is a
fuel-saving computer that actually saves the
public's money-on inefficient gas consumption.
Last, the easing of CO and NOx standards will
allow the Ford Motor Company to reduce its
car prices by only $80, and General Motors to
reduce its car prices by only $360. When you
consider that the average cost of a car is close
to $10,000, an $80 to $360- reduction is
AT A RECENT news conference Philip
ployment in pollution control activities. This
is in comparison to the 24,971 jobs lost by
plants being closed partially due to environ-
mental regulations. Also, over 7 million sick
days are saved annually due to the Clean Ari
More importantly the federal Clean Air Act
is a health-based standard, regardless of cost.
The act is designed to protect everyone, based
on the principle that all Americans have the
right to breathe clean air. For most healthy
people air pollution is not a serious problem,
but for 20 percent to 30 percent of the
population (45 to 68 million Americans), it can
be a matter of life and death. This group of
people, more sensitive to air pollution than
the average person, consists of children, the
elderly, pregnant women, people with asth-
ma, diet deficiencies, and especially those
with heart and lung disease.
Illness is expensive. The loss of crops and
the deterioration of buildings from corrosive
pollutants is expensive. Hospitalization for
lung and heart disease is expensive. And the
cost of cleaning up the mess we make in our
environment will be far more expensive in the
long run than the cost of preventing the mess-
in the first place. A recent Environmental
Protection Agency study estimates the
monetary benefits of the Clean Air Act totbe
$13.1 billion as compared to the costs of the
act, which amount to $3.9 billion.
What the economists and industrialists
don't seem to understand is that the Clean Air
Act has been- improving the quality of our
nation's air for more than a decade, with'
significant results-almost 8Q percent of the
cars produced today meet the present
emission standards. Why go backwards now?
A recent Harris Poll indicates that 80 percent.
of the American public supports the extension
ofrthe Clean Air Act as it is; many even want
Dobbs is chairperson of the Public In-
terest Research Group in Michigan's clean
Fuming cars on an Ann Arbor road.
Caldwell, chairman of Ford, actually admit-
ted that "a hundred dollars, or anything ap-
proximating $100 (does not solve) the
problem that the companies have. . . from
the standpoint of the consumer, I think we
have ample evidence that $100 will do ap-
proximately nothing when rebates that are
out there are $500 to $1,000 a car." Many auto
analysts have voiced -the even more
pessimistic view that prices would have to go
down ten percent to have any significant im-
pact on new car sales.
The argument used to back up the proposed
relaxation of the federal Clean Air Act is that
the bill has been responsible for slowing down
the economy by requiring the use of expen-
sive pollution controls. In reality, the bill had
little overall effect on the economy, and has,
in fact, created 677,900 jobs in direct em-
S INCE A 1973 Supreme Court ruling,
abortion has been a legal option for
all American women, but President
Reagan's "New Federalism"
proposals may now limit that choice to
women who can afford it.
Undef "New Federalism" economic,u
trade-offs, Washington will turn over,
several social programs to the states,
while assuming responsibility for the
state's share of the state Medicaid
program. But once Medicaid comes
completely under the realm of federal
control, the consequences for
Medicaid-funded abortions may be
In- the past, Congress virtually
legislated federal funds for abortions
out of existence when in 1976 it passed
the Hyde amendment. This amen-
dment prohibited federally-funded
abortions for Medicaid recipients, ex-
cept in rare cases when the mother's
life was endangered. The entire matter
was thus thrown- into the lap of the
The states, however, responded
feebly to this responsibility. Fourteen
states decided to allot Medicaid funds
for abortions; the rest scrapped their
support altogether. The effects upon
lower income women were sharply
felt. Medicaid-funded abortions drop-
ped by nearly a third.
Worse is in store for women with low
incomes if "New Federalism" pulls
the states out of Medicaid. Because of
the Hyde "amendment, the federal
government will be legally barred
from providing funds' for Medicaid
Shifting Medicaid to federal control
will, in effect, set'up a deplorable
double standard. The federal gover-
nment simultaneously will be charged
with upholding the legality of abortions
for all women through the judiciary,
while withholding the economic
assistance necessary for poor women
to exercise that same right. Abortion
may thus become too expensive for an
entire class of American women.
The "New Federalism" swap seems
destined to put an end to Medicaid-
unded abortions. By implementing
such a plan, the federal government
will play a cruel hoax upon
women-by offering them the right to
an abortion, while at the same time
denying them the opportunity.
By Robert Lence
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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Chapman: Astonishing artistic ignorance
To the Daily:
In attacking Andrew Chap-
man's essay in the Daily (Feb. 6)
bemoaning the state of the arts in
America, I hardly know where to
begin. The piece contains so
many misconceptions and fallacies
that it would scarcely be possible
to enumerate them.
First of all, Chapman seems
totally unaware of the distinction
between art and popular culture.
In citing the sad situation in the
arts, he refers frequently to
television and movies. Just what
does Chapman expect? Most
television programs and movies
are not art, nor are they intended
to be. Neither are the novels of
Harold Robbins. While it is
lamentable that writers such as
Robbins enjoy a popularity
unknown to novelists with artistic
intentions, such popularity of the
former in no way reflects on the
quality of work done by the latter.
Nor will it do to make a facile
argument that our society is
diseased and therefore our art is
diseased. Great art is produced
as much in defiance of the spirit
of the age as in harmony with it.
Flaubert would have been sur-
prised to hear that his work was
shallow because it reflected a
Every age laments "the
decline of the arts," but every
age tends to underestimate its
own art. It is trite to say that
judgment must be left to the
fqture, but it is nonetheless true.
In the 1920s, it was commonly
assumed that America had failed
to produce even one great writer,
despite the greatness which we
now take for granted of Whitman,
Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson,
James, Twain, and Thoreau.
displays an astonishing ignoran-
ce about the arts in general.
Robert Frost is the "greatest
recent American poet?" What
about Wallace Stevens, Ezra
Pound, and William Carlos
boredom" is far from my respon-
se to a Jackson Pollock
retrospective-I suggest reading
what Robert Hughes has to say on
this. Chapman's essay aboundsin
such insensitive, thoughtless
remarks, and I believe+it is an
embarrassment for the Daily to
publish such inane drivel.
DI. 1 ' 't
A n entertaining mess
" may., 1 A/ .
To the Daily:
Along with seemingly hundreds
of others who purchased tickets
in advance for the B. B. King, 0,
J. Anderson performance at the
Second Chance this past Sunday,
my wife and I found there were
no seats available. We feel that
not representing tickets as
possibly standing room was a
In addition, we felt serious con-
cerns for our safety as stairs
were occupied, exit signs were
not visible, and capacity limit
seemingly was far exceeded.
Our concern is n6r that our
money was not refunded (it was
refunded without our asking) but
rather that we had to stand out-
side in the /cold for 45 minute-
from the time the doors were
supposed to have opened only to
find out that our tickets did not-
entitle us to seats.
- Charles Newman
The wart of generalizations
To the Daily:
Andrew Chapman's article
(Daily, Feb. 6) which begins,
"There is only one term that
describes the current state of the
arts in America-insipid," is
bound to receive a negative res-
ponse from most readers. I
thought one of the primary rules
of journalism is to avoid gross
generalizations, especially when
dealing with so vast and con-
troversial a subject as the
Stevens? John Ashbery?
Chapman is focusing on the
blatantly mediocre, which may
seriously outweigh the few
aesthetic gems being created.
But Chapman can't say that
Sharkey's Machine is as good as
recent movies have been or that
highest critical acclaim has been
awarded to The Four Seasons.
I think one can safely say,
'k. , s ,
. O ,
To the Daily:
I am growing increasingly an-
noyed at the unreasonable
demands of the volunteer
usher/students while they
"maintain security" at all of the
major concerts here Fat the
crowds who attend these shows?
All too often the "ushers" con-
tinually harass a large portion of
tiMe crowd who are trying to enjoy
themselves and the music.
It seems those who don't enjoy
such music are intent on denying
that pleasure to others who pay
A 1 --