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April 01, 1982 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-01

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OPINION

Page 4 Thursday, April 1, 1982 The Michigan Daily

en f
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

A grand ideological design

0

Vol. XCiI, No. 143

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Leonard Silk, an economic columnist
for The New York Times, came to cam-
pus last week for a brief stay as a visiting
professor within the University's com-
munications department.
Silk, a former fellow at the Brookings
Institution, met with Opinion Page staff
writer Kent Redding to discuss President
Reagan 's current budget proposals. Silk
outlined two areas where the president's
budget has gone overboard-deficits and
military spending.

Faking a freeze

native budget proposals coming out of
Congress?
Silk: The, politics are so compli-
cated with liberal and conservat-
ive wings in both parties that without the
president's willingness to compromise, I
don't know whether we'll reach a compromise.
I think the administration is going off on a
Rolitical toot, simply trying to avoid political
damage from heavy deficits, instead of
buckling down to the real job-straightening
out our whole budgetary problem.
Daily: What exactly do you mean by
straightening out the budget?
Silk: In a nutshell, I mean reducing the
amount we are planning to spend on the
military and increasing our. tax structure
again.
Daily: What's responsible for the recent
drop in the rate of inflation-Reagan's policies
or the recession?
Silk: I think the recession is the primary fac-
tor. The international recession has also con-
tributed by reducing world demand for oil and,
food, thus reducing prices.

P RESIDENT Reagan has come up
with an amazing policy sleight of
hand. This week he magically helped
turn a proposal to .freeze nuclear
weapons into an excuse for building
even more arms.
The president, under pressure from
the nuclear freeze movement that has
recently swept the nation, is now ready
to support a freeze on the building of
destructive nuclear weapons. But it is,
a freeze of a most peculiar sort.
The president is ready to endorse a
proposal by Senators Henry Jackson
(D-Washington) and John Warner (R-
Virginia) that calls for an end to
nuclear arms testing, development,
and deployment-but only after the
United States catches up with the
Soviet Union in nuclear capabilities.
Under the Warner-Jackson plan, the
administration could continue to build
its proposed strategic bombers,
missiles, submarines, and other
weapons with a nuclear application.
Once arms levels reach what Reagan
and the senators consider parity with
the Russians, the freeze.would take ef-
fect and plans for reduction would,
begin.
A build now, freeze later plan,
however, will not work. The proposal,
endorsed by a majority of senators,
stands the goal of a freeze upon its
head. The purpose of a freeze is simple-

calling a halt to nuclear weapons. A
plan, such as the Warner-Jackson one,
that allows-even encourages-an
increase in nuclear armaments is by
definition hardly freezing-it would be
more aptly described as heating up.
The past has shown that no amount
of weapons is enough to ensure
security-fear breeds growth when it
comes to military machinery. The
Senate proposal for freezing from a.
position of strength would only serve
as a cleverly hidden excuse for a faster
race in the nuclear arms arena. With
the Soviets constantly escalating their
cache of arms, what end is in sight for
U.S. efforts to attain parity?
The plan primarily is an ap-
peasement to those Americans who
have cried "enough" on the nuclear
arms race. Popular opinion has grown
too strong for the president to ignore;
60 percent of his backers in the 1980
election now favor a nuclear freeze.
Reagan, however, is not even meeting
these demands halfway with this
deceptive proposal.
The nuclear freeze movement is out
to rid the world of its potential for
destruction, not enhance it. We cannot
afford any freeze that makes for more
weapons.
Some freeze plans are worse than no
freeze at all.

Daily: Should the president balance the
budget?
Silk: It is not crucial to balance the budget
when you're in the midst of a slump. In fact,
an effort to balance the budget now in a period
of high unemployment and a lagging economy
could worsen our slump.
Daily: You have suggested in one of your
columns that the huge deficits of Reagan's
current budget proposal are part of his grand
ideological design. What exactly do you mean
by that?
Sills: Mr. Reagan has never made a secret
of his aim of reducing the government
drastically. That is his ideological objective.
I'm suggesting that the grand strategy is to
reduce taxes and to have a balanced budget
amendment that forces you to cut social ex-
penditures and everything that moves, except
the military.
Daily: Do you think the budget's large
military expenditures create an imbalance in
the economy?
Silk: Yes, I do. An imbalance means more
money to the military and less money for in-
vestment in new equipment and things that
raise productivity, less money for hospitals,
schools-all those things.
The administration seems to think that you
can solve problems of security in the world by
throwing money at them. But you have very
little security if you get blown up in a nuclear
war. The administration has been criticized-
very heavily by conservatives and liberals for
not having a military strategy. We cannot'
have a compulsive, mindless military policy
which imposes heavy strains on our economy
that we're not willing to pay for. If we are not
willing to formulate a strategy and pay for it,
then why do we have a policy that even many
military experts question and criticize?
Daily: What do you think about the alter-

avoid trade warfare, which is not going to dQ
autoworkers, or anybody else, any good in the
long run.
Daily: What do you think of Reagan's New
Federalism? .
Silk: The president keeps using rhetoric
which says that anything the government does
is bad or wrong, with the exception of the
military. Undoubtedly there are things the
states could do better. But New Federalisn.
is not designed to be some beautiful reform
program, it is designed to reduce government.
If you believe with Mr. Reagan that welfare
ought to be eliminated or cut drastically then
you should back New Federalism. If you think,
as I do, that our country ought to try to help
people who are in considerable trouble, and to'
help them get off welfare, then you shouldn't
be cutting everything that helps people get a
first step on the ladder out of poverty. I'm
biased. My social values incline me to think
that equity and a decent society meani that you
help people who are in trouble. We're a
democratic society and let's hope it's a fair
fight on New Federalism-and that we don't
get smeared.
Daily: What will it take to get the country's'
economy back on its feet again?
Silk: We need to lower interest rates and get
the support of the nation for a more equitable
economic program. We need what I and your
own Prof. Gardner Ackley would call "true
supply-side economics." This would include"
measures 'to improve productivity and in-:
crease research and development, improve'
the skills of our workers, improve
education-a policy that would deal with the
needs of our human as well as our physical
capital.
Dialogue is a weekly 'feature of the
Opinion Page and appears every Thursday

The madness of guns

Daily: Will inflationshoot back up when the
recession ends?
Silk: Not necessarily. Inflation tends to rise
when we get into periods of recovery. We
hope that prices and wages will not simply
snap back to what they were before the
recession, but I think the odds are against that.
The huge deficits that the administration has
produced cause worry about future inflation.
Daily: You have said you are against protec-
tionism. What should we do to help the auto in-
dustries combat the flood of auto imports?
Silk: When we turned to protectionism in
1929 and 1930 it caused the world economy to
collapse when other countries retaliated.
There are other ways to help the auto workers,
such as industrial readjustment. I'm trying to

LONE MAN went crazy Tuesday
night. For Thomas Hackman, life
became a bit too hectic, or being
unemployed was too depressing, or the
marijuana he had just smoked was too
potent. Something pushed Hackman
over the edge - and, consequently, he
became dangerous. He holed himself
up in a house in downtown Ann Arbor
and started firing a .22 caliber rifle he
had bought the day before at anybody
who passed.,
We all face problems in our lives-that,
seem, at a specific instance, insur-
mountable. The pressures of the real
world are not easily faced by any of us.
But, in this country, there is one thing
that often turns everyday problems in-
to potential disasters: guns.
Because Hackman could walk into a
sports shop and purchase a .22 caliber
rifle, the lives of bystanders, neigh-
bors, and police officers were en-
dangered. Because any American
citizen of legal age can purchase a gun
in Michigan - with or without
registration, if one tries hard enough -
a crisis occurred.
Hackman, and the police officers
who surrounded his house at 314 N.
First St., are all lucky to be alive
today. So are Hackman's roommates
and everyone who passed by that area
of Ann Arbor Tuesday evening. No one
was seriously hurt, but the fact that
such a danger is legally allowed to

exist is too absurd to be tolerated.
Why must we constantly face the
potential danger of a bullet? Is our
civil liberty to own a gun - ensured by
the "right to bear arms" clause of the
second amendment to our constitution
- worth the incessant threat of a
violent death by shooting?
Our society is plagued with many
dangers besides guns. But these
dangers are mitigated by the existence
of an important controlling factor -
laws. And alaw is just the remedy for
Tuesday's incident on First Street. A
law that would make it illegal for
American citizens to own handguns. A
law that would slap stiff prison senten-
ces on anyone caught- with an
unregistered firearm.- A law that
would help control the danger of death
by shooting for all Americans.
Gun control may be an uncomfor-
table rights infringement for a people
used to doing whatever they please, a
people.used to having few restrictions
placed upon their lives. But it might
have helped save the more than 10,000
lives that are taken by handguns every
year.
Guns bring the threat of death close
to everyone - as Tuesday's incident on
First Street proves. And that threat
will stay close to home until an ef-
ficient, solid, and severe gun law is
enacted.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Saving academic freedom in Israel

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To the Daily:
Recent Israeli government ac-
tions, including the annexation of
the Golan Heights, threats again-
st Lebanon, and vicious verbal
attacks on foreign statesmen,
have tended to overshadow the
accelerating Israeli campaign to
suppress academic freedom in
the occupied West Bank and Gaza
Strip. The past few months have
revealed, in particular, a major
assault by the Israeli military
authorities upon the institutional
viability of Birzeit University,
the largest center of higher
education serving Palestinians in
the occupied territories.
On Feb. 16, 1982, the Israeli
military ordered the closing of
Birzeit University for a period of
two months. This latest closure
order, the second in less than four
months, emphasizes the deter-

classes.
Constant military harassment,
frequent closure orders, and the
growing threat of direct med-
dling in the affairs of the univer-
sity by hostile occupation
authorities present an obvious
j danger to the academic integrity
of Birzeit University.

This is especially tragic in view.
of the fact that Birzeit provides
an all too rare opportunity for
students from the West Bank and
Gaza Strip to obtain a quality
university education in their own
country. As a faculty member at
Birzeit University and a Univer-
sity of-Michigan alumnus, I urge

the members of the University of
Michigan community to support
this beleaguered institution and
the principle of academic
freedom in the Israeli-occupied
territories.
-David Wasmuth
Birzeit University
March 10

Robots aren't all that bad

To the Daily:
I am writing in response to
John Schloerb's article (Daily,
March 27) entitled, "University
robotics: The military link." I
agree with Schloerb's assertion
that the relationship between the
funds for the University's
CRIM and the decisions made
regarding research budget
allocation must be watched
closely-especially since it has

machines that work with more
precision, increasing produc-
tivity and the quality of produc-
tion, are"detrimental to our in-
dustrial sector. Today, U.S. in-
dustry is falling behind that of the
Japanese and the Europeans. An
increase in the ability of
American firms to churn out bet-
ter quality products at a lower
cost would benefit the entire
nation, not simDv hurt "volatile

can be made cheaper and with an
increase in reliability. Further-
more, robotics may be a step
toward more advance weapons
that allow us to better protect
ourselves and our allies.
The current fiscal crisis means
that universities . such as
Michigan receive fewer federal
and state grants. It seems that
the Reagan administration, along
with many legislators, believe

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