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April 16, 1982 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-16

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Page 4

Friday, April 16, 1982

The Michigan Daily


.Edited and managed by students W4 The University of Michigan

The U.S.



Vol. XCII, No. 156

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

A dangerous mail

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

Redefining poverty

rjr BUREAUCRATS in Washington
have devised a clever new way to
reduce poverty in the United States
that doesn't even require additional
spending. And while Ronald Reagan
seems to oppose most programs con-
cerning the needy, insiders say the
president likes this innovative plan.
What exactly is this plan? Quite sim-
ply, it changes the definition of the
term poverty. Under current federal
standards, the Census Bureau adds
social security and welfare benefits to
total income when measuring poverty.
4ow the bureau wants to add money
rom food stamps, Medicaid, and
several other aid programs to income
totals. If the new standard is im-
ylemented, it will drastically reduce
$he number of people eligible for aid
pregrams by artificially increasing in-
tome levels.
The measure, of course, won't
educe the number of people who are
poor. It merely decreases the number
pf people placed below the poverty
tevel. The recalculation would serve
Teenagers and
HE OBSTACLES teenagers face
before obtaining birth control
:devices often seem insurmountable.
!Besides overcoming the pressures of
vparental and societal disfavor, they
gnust also muster enough courage to go
eo a clinic and ask seemingly em-,
$arrassing qluestions. Now the federal
~government wants to enforce a
regulation that would make this
elicate matter even more difficult for
teenagers to approach.
- The issue of teenage birth control is a
complex one, involving a parent's right
to responsibility, a minor's right to
privacy, and sexual morality. The fac-
ts are equally intimidating-nearly
two million teenagers are estimated to
be sexually active.
' The government currently is
.proposing regulations requiring paren-
;ts to be notified before minors are
given contraceptives. The argument
for notifying parents merits con-
sideration, but once the facts are
separated from the emotions, the case
ifor regulation becomes extremely
Proponents of the bill argue that
T parents must be clued in when their
Ochild wants birth control, because of
the health risks and the need for'adult
guidance involved. And parental
Sguidance on such a personal matter
a certainly deserves to be promoted.

the needs of politicians, not the poor. A
new figure on poverty would seemingly
indicate great strides of progress in
mitigating the plight of the poor since
the days of President Johnson's "war
on poverty." It would also serve to vin-
dicate Reagan's cuts in aid to the
needy-by making it seem that much
of the nation's poverty has been effec-
tively eliminated.
Poverty cannot, however, be erased
by a simple change in the rules. The
new definition of poverty would only
exacerbate the problems lower-income
citizens have in getting adequate
relief. Under new rules, the aid one
receives on, say; Medicaid would only
take away from the amount of food
stamps one could receive, even if both
were necessary for survival.
The poor have been knocked about
enough by Reagan's tax program and
slashes in social aid. A new definition
of poverty will only add to the suf-
fering. And poverty, instead of ac-
tually being reduced, will merely be
hidden away.
l birth control
The supporters of the proposal,
however, often use this valid point to
obscure their overriding aim-using
the bill as a morality tool. They cling to
the outdated notion that what
teenagers don't know about sex, they
won't attempt to do. They ignore the
harm such a regulation would impose
upon teenagers.
Young people will not abandon sex if
the federal rule goes into effect. They
will more likely abandon birth control
when they grow fearful of a parental
discovery. Rather than upset a parent,
teenagers will likely forego the best
way to avoid the problem of unwanted
teenage pregnancy.
The regulation also will discriminate
on the basis of sex and income. The
ruling mainly will affect girls, who
bear the largest burden for birth con-
trol and who face stronger stigmas on
matters of sex. The rule will apply~only
to teenagers attending a federally-
funded clinic-often those who can't
afford a private alternative.
Planned Parenthood announced
yesterday that it will disobey the
proposed rule, even though it may
mean losing some $30 million worth of
federal funds. The rest of the country
would do well to join in the opposition,
to ensure that teenagers get an unhin-
dered opportunity for help on birth

By T. H. Barnett
Although the cries and rallies for that
elusive creature known as social justice often
seem countless, not one voice has been raised
against a dangerous and unjustified power
that is part of our everyday lives-the United
States Postal Service.
"Dangerous" is hardly too strong a word if
you look at the situation. In the 'allegedly free
and democratic United States, it is against
federal law (specifically the private express
statutes) to deliver first class mail at
anything less than the present postal rate. In
other words, you could be fined or thrown in
jail for the heinous crime of charging a nickel
to deliver local mail. Who or what inspired
such legislative claptrap? Ask yourself who
stands to gain the most from such a law and
the answer becomes clear: the U.S. Postal
HOW CAN laws prohibiting free trade bet-
ween consenting adults be justified? It's ac-
tually quite simple. One need only put
together a brief argument illustrating that
this new restriction will serve something
called the public good, and the justification
has been made.!
Postal officials attempt to defend the
private express statutes in several ways.
They claim that the Postal Service is a
natural monopoly, and that free-market com-
petitors would merely "skim the cream" off
the most profitable part of the mail service,
leaving remote customers out in the cold,
without mail.
The first argument-that the Postal Service
is a natural monopoly-is false. A natural
monopoly does not need government protec-
tion. If the Postal Service were such a
monopoly, it would have no difficulty in

overcharge some of their customers to sub=9
sidize others. Just who is being ripped off 'id
this scheme is unclear. I can assure you,
however, that the nation's' wealthy are not
among the victims.
The claim that entrepreneurs would not
provide adequate service for customers in
remote and inaccessible areas deserves
serious consideration. Although mail delivery
costs for out of the way places could be higher
than average in a free market, this may not
be such an inequitable solution. Why shou
city dwellers subsidize mail delivery for rurq.W
districts? Is this a hidden welfare taxc?',If, sox.
why is it disguised? It is hardly convincing toy
argue that we should maintain a vast, expen-
sive, postal bureaucracy to keep prices low
for country dwellers. Besides, it is more than
likely that competition between delivery ser
vices could significantly lower prices for.
everyone, including those in remote areas.
If, as I have argued, a government-protec-
ted postal monopoly is neither necessary nor
desirable, then why does it persist? Why
aren't reformers rallying around a campaign
to stamp out the postal monopoly?
THE ANSWER lies in the American addic-
tion to the illusory powers of the state. The
idea of handing over the task of mail delivery
to the creative genius of the marketplace no
longer occurs to the average taxpayer. This
country has progressed so far down the road
to complete state control that truly liberal
solutions are greeted with sneers and
A rational defense of state-intervention in
human affairs is no longer either supplied o
expected. If such a defense of the postal
monopoly's grip on the nation's mail doe
exist, the public certainly deserves an oppor-
tunity to hear it.
Barnett is a sophomore in the
engineering college.

Opening the market on mail

driving any potential competitors out of the
market. The argument that the Postal Service
requires legislative protection is no more
than a weak attempt to obscure an obvious
fact: the Postal Service would never survive
in a free market. Its competition would be so
far ahead in efficiency, speed, cost, and
dependability that the current system would
probably not survive for more than five
THE SECOND argument against open
postal competition is far more interesting and
revealing. The argument that entrepreneurs
would "skim the cream" off of the mail ser-
vice implies that cream-excess
profit-exists. By making such a claim,
postal authorities are admitting that' they


By Robert Lence

r rAtV E c.E.

' 1.



. .
; .


Getting involved iln the

To the Daily:
I wholeheartedly agree with
your editorial assessment of the

reallocation process (Daily, April
9)-no one is worried! The deans
of the School of Art and the School

. .. to save the University

itemissile ap.

To the Daily:
Congratulations and thanks to
Bret Eynon for his clear and ac-
curate analysis of what is being
done to the University of
Michigan (Daily, April 14).
Eynon calls the Shapiro-Frye
plan "an administrative effort to
drastically reshape the Univer-
sity," with an emphasis on
"technological expertise" and
other research with high com-
mercial potential.
Vice President Frye says that
what he and President Shapiro
are doing to the University is in-
deed drastic. "Think," he says,
'of the metamorphosis of a tad-
pole (or a caterpillar) into a frog
(or a butterfly). Each is a very
different creature after this in-
tensive developmental change."
What used to be the University of
Michigan turns into the Michigan
Research Corporation,. with its
adjunct Industrial Technology
Institute. And where there used
to be an art school and a School of
Natural Resources there's a
robotics institute.
May I suggest that between
now and September students in*

terested in saving the University
get to work? Take a copy of
Eynon's essay home with you.
Take a copy of Frye's five-year
plan, too-it was published in the
University Record on March 1.
Think things through for your-
self. Then write or call several of
the Regents. Talk to your
parents. Talk to alumni whom
you know. Urge them to write to
the Regents. Go talk to your state
representative or your state
senator about what this public in-
stitution of higher education is
turning into. Ask them to talk to
the Regents.
The Regents are the ones who
can save us. Ordinarily they hear
only from the administration. We
have to change that-or, rather,
you have to change that. The
faculty aren't going to do
anything. We will sit here quietly,
and let the University go to hell.
We will shake our heads sadly,
and draw our salaries. But we
won't do anything. So it's up to
Good luck!
-Prof. Bert Hornback
April 14

of Natural Resources hav
and stymied any active
movement to become inv(
this process. "Don't
waves !" is what we
(reminiscent of the
Rumor' has it that ti
ministration has urged th
ce to the deans. If they di
And if they didn't, why do
attitude exist?
I believe that ii
ministration is scared of
activism. These people
bureaucracies-can only f
when the climate is "busi
usual." However, adminis
have studied their history,
at the calendar, and;
receive an- "A." Any
movement in America
labor in the 1930s; civil r:
the 1950s and 196Os, or th
movement in the 1960s) wa
successful when it was
create a crisis situation. G
Motors only allowed the un
form when society wo
longer tolerate the kill
autoworkers or the further
of scabs. Racism in the Sou

reviews .. .
e lulled began to change when cities were
student paralyzed by the mass resistanc4
olved in of the oppressed blacks.
make If the administration and ou4
hear deans can successfully suppres
1960s). the student voice now, the battle
he ad- will be half over before it ha4
ds stan- barely begun. Recent qu'otes b
d, why? Billy Frye indicate that th
oes this review process is not dependen
e ad. only in "reference to the overall
student goal of reallocation." Hey Art
and all School! Who is next on the "hit
unction 'list"-Residential College, Afro,
ness as American studies, women'
nss atos studies, ad nauseum'?
looked An interesting fact: women'
should studies lives and geography died
social Compare the two programs
(be it (women's studies was reviewed
ights in and was considered weak y
e peace geography was reviewed and was
as most considered a fine program-no
able to malice intended) and then the
General outcomes. Look at what the ad-
nions to ministration and the deans are
uld no saying, and think! The time to act
ling of is now. Remember, extinction i1
hi i forever.
1111 Ui .


r h nng
uth only

-Jonathan Weiland
April 12



Letters and columns represent the opin-
ions of the individual author(s) and do not'
necessarily reflect the attitudes or beliefs of
the Daily.



\N Nemi(AL AND


0.5. (7ovFRIgml j,





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