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October 27, 1982 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-27

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I

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, October 27, 1982

The Michigan Daily
- - ' 1 - 1 ., - 6

Who really keeps the poor

impoverished

By Dan Aron off
Much debate has taken place recently over
what types of government policy benefit the
wealthy and what types benefit the poor.
Although the Reagan administration has been
accused of being a lackey for the well-to-do (a
recent study of top administration officials
revealed that they were rich. white. and male).
it may prove helpful to expose the types of
policies that confer wealth and power on the
elite and affluent in our society.
Here is a partial list of such policies:
1. Guaranteed Student Loans and aid to
higher education. The present student loan
system benefits the children of the middle and
upper classes, since the loans-subsidized
though they may be-are still beyond the reach
of most poor people. Most forms of aid to higher
education are, in effect, a net transfer of wealth
from the average taxpayer to more affluent in-
dividuals when the future earnings of students
are taken into account.
2. Social Security. Social Security is a forced
annuity program. It is in no sense an insurance
program-individual payments do not pur-
chase equivalent actual benefits. It is a com-
bination of a particular tax-a flat-rate tax on
wages up to a maximum-and a particular
program of transfer payments, in which all

sorts of considerations other than the amount
paid determined the amount received. Hardly
anyone approves of either part of the system
separately. Yet the combination has become a
sacred cow.
3. All forms of welfare state social programs.
Instead of simply giving poor people money-
like a negative income tax or guaranteed in-
come scheme-the welfare state creates
"programs," which allow whole armies of
bureaucratic administrators to rule over other
people's lives. It's like playing chess with poor
people-the recipients of welfare state benefits
must conform to the ideological preconceptions
of their superior elitist administrators.
Banish the thought of just giving money to
the poor. Our social reformers and moral
crusaders will not allow it.
And even most of the money that is supposed
to go directly to the poor never actually
reaches the poor. In fiscal year 1981, something
like $250 billion was spend on social programs
at the federal, state, and local levels. If all of
that money had gone directly to the poor, then
every family of four that earned less than the
poverty level income would have received bet-
ween $54,000 and $57,000 in cash. Obviously,
this did not happen. What happened was that
somebody else got their hands on the money
before it got to the poor. Guess who.
4. Environmentalism. As one commentator put

it, "The Sierra Club arranges many kinds of
trips, but its speciality is the ego trip."
To the rest of us, Sierra Clubbers and other
woodsy types are just another special interest
group doing their own thing. But they do not
view themselves as a special interest group-
they see themselves as the guardians of the en-
vironment, or the "eco-system."
Who appointed them guardians? God? The
Constitution? Or has there been some election,
referendum, plebescite, proxy vote,
coronation, or other procedure investing them
with the right to override other people's wishes
in favor of their own?
Even the most laissez-faire economist will
admit that air and water pollution require
government action. But there is a difference
between taking direct action against pollution
and using pollution as an excuse for a massive
expansion of a fanatic minority's political
power.
These people are on the inside looking out. As
one cynic puts it, ". . . Sierra Clubbers are
overwhelmingly high-incomed professionals.
Faded jeans and all, they are monied people
using the government to take things from
others to satisfy a special interest group."
They oppose economic development because
they have already reaped its benefits and now
want to preserve their ground. Average, grub-
by mortals are being kept away from choice

property so that our elites can dwell in splendid
isolation.
5. Statism. It seems that many of the children
of the affluent-the "new class" of socialist-
minded intellectuals, professionals, and
bureaucrats-and the establishment elites of
the business world have convergent goals
where the issue of state control of the economy
is concerned. The "new class" wants to gain
,control in order to reshape the whole society.
Successful business people want to guarantee
their continued prosperity by eliminating com-
petition and politicizing the economy, so they
can rest assured that the government will
patronize them.
A centrally administered economy-in other
words, a coercive authoritarian order-serves
the interest of those already at the top. They
can assure themselves a niche in the hierarchy
of wealth and power (although the whole
economy will most assuredly stagnate and
decline).
These elitists flock to politicians like the neo-
socialist Ted Kennedy or the neo-corporate
syndicalist (I speak literally here) Paul
Tsongas. They tend to favor statist economists
like John- Kenneth Galbraith and Lester
Thurow. And they think highly of anti-capitalist
technocrats from the business community like
Lee Iaccoca, and Robert McNamara. Their at-
traction is based on crass snob appeal, not in-

tellectual appeal.
This list of policies benefitting the elite is
partial and incomplete. A clear pattern,
however, does emerge. The pattern shows that
policies generally associated with "campus
liberalism" actually grant power to the elite
and to those who populate campuses-the rich,
the intelligentsia, the social elite, the children
of affluence.
For those of us who reject this hypocrisy and
who want to see a world where life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness exist equally for
everyone, all we have are our ideals. Still,
there is hope. The masses of humanity continue
to vote overwhelmingly for liberty with their
blood and their feet. They fight and leave
places like Poland, the Soviet Union, China,
South Africa, Haiti, and other places where
darkness and brutality reign. They risk life and
limb to enter places where the flame of
freedom is still lit.
There is a name for that social order that
protects liberty, promotes prosperity, and
gives a reasonable chance to the common man.
It is called liberal democratic capitalism.
That's right, capitalism. Shocking, isn't it?

Aronoff, a
studying at
Economics.

University junior, currently is
the London School of

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Stewart

NIOW ML G

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Vol. XCIII, No. 42

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Winning through inanity

i

BEFORE THE obligatory round of
election endorsements begins,
we'd like to give a hearty round of boos
to one election issue that has reached
new heights of stupidity-television.
campaign advertising.r
This year sprouted such classic elec-
tion commercials as Sen. Donald
Riegle's televised stroll through his
hometown. Viewers got to meet Don,
Don's wife, Don's parents, and Don's
old neighborhood (full of }wholesome,
healthy, just plain folks like you and
us). And that's the dignified stuff.
Republican candidates Richard
Headlee and Philip Ruppe prefer to
sling the mud, not the sap. Ruppe
charges that his opponent Riegle is the
most disliked man in the Senate (gee,
and his family looked so nice).
Headlee, in his titillating race for
governor, places a nice, smiling pic-
ture of good ole Dick next to a dour,
frowning portrait of opponent James
Blanchard. Blanchard, by the way, is
looking away-just like he ducks those
issues, right Dick? Then a Michigan
mitten comes on the screen and gives
Blanchard the big thumbs down.
Proposal D-now there's an insight-
ful, probing commercial. A forlorn fac-
tory worker glumly gives a spiel
something like, "D is dumb. D will
make me lose my job. D will drive

business out of the state." D will do
everything, it seems, from kick your
dog to dig your grave. Just what is D?
A rash proposal to turn over top state
offices to the Hells Angels? You'd
never know from the ad. It never men-
tions anything about changing
procedures on utility rate increases-
D must be too dull to explain.
These commercials are innocuous
and inane. That's their strong point.
They insult the eyes, the ears, and the
mind-not necessarily in that order.
They never bring up an issue, those
complicated things that voters can't
deal with. But they do have lots of nice
photography and state-of-the-art
graphics. They let voters choose can-
didates just like they choose bleach-
by the pretty label.
Things are looking up, though. Those
high-priced TV rates are driving some
candidates out of the market. Ruppe
recently had to cancel $60,000 of TV
spots-something that may wind up
winning him a few votes from ad-
weary citizens. But from the rest of the
representatives and proposals and
judgesand county commissioners,the
ads keep on coming.
Thank goodness for November 2. It'll
be nice to watch Johnny Carson again
without sitting through all those
special prepaid political guests.

I

UNIVERSITY
S A U t A. r o lO c o
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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
The ignorance of miitary research

I

To the Daily:
Let's salute America, Peter
Ford. In your article (Daily, Oct.
20) supporting military research,+
you successfully spouted the
arguments of our country's +
militarists for technologically
advanced armed forces. You
seem to consider the U.S.
military faultless with its grand +
designs of building stronger and +
stronger "deterrent" forces
through the support of university 1
research. You also claim that to
question this research is ignorant
An importa
To the Daily:
There are several reasons that
I would like to share with your
readers as to why the upcoming
election is important:
* For the first time in our
history, we as citizens will be
able to express our opinions on
the nuclear arms race. The
nuclear freeze proposal will cer-
tainly let our Washington policy
makers know whether we want
the present ever-continuing

and liken it to a crime against the
state.
To put the academic-military
connection in that perspective is
itself ignorant and, for an
engineer and ROTC cadet as
yourself, dangerous. You correc-
tly named some technological
advancements that were
developed through Department
of Defense support. It is probably
true that without military sup-
port, these innovations would still
be on the drawing boards of
researchers.
nt election
basically anti-government. He
makes complicated issues sound
simple and offers solutions which
sound good when first heard but
when examined more closely are
bound to be porous. His support of
the 1980 Tisch tax proposal,
which would havedruined our
state's fine higher educational in-
stitutions, makes his candidacy
unacceptable.
We are going to elect Lana
Pollack to the state senate for the

However, the few beneficial
projects developed with defense
department funds are negligible
compared to the many weapons
grants funded at universities.
The useful findings of military
researchers do not rationalize
nor justify the basic thrust of
military support, namely the
development of better equipped,
more potent "deterrent" forces.
Studies have shown that the
majority of DoD-supported and
directed research conforms to
specifications incompatible
with civilian technological
needs (Glanz & Albers, Science,
1974). Now Mr. Ford,does the
military always act in the best in-
terests of the civilian population?

One look at this year's federal
budget should answer you.
Mr. Ford, you claim opponents
of military research are ignorant
of military goals and strategies.
Come now, your plans really
aren't that complex. On the con-
trary, it is through open, con-
structive criticism by civilians
that the safety of the United
States can be maintained. It is
thinking like yours, an inability to
listen to ideas from others than
your superiors, which has
brought this country to its state of
near nuclear destruction. Come
on Mr. Ford, who can claim
ignorance?
-Henry Rice
October 21,

4

The Liddy/Leary con

To the Daily:
What do the Michigan Theatre
and the Ann Arbor News
have in common? Both have con-
tributed to the cultural enrich-
ment of our community and both
have seemingly run out of
creaveideas.

As one who has provided hun-
dreds of top speakers to univer-
sity campuses across the nation,
I realize the drawing power of
well-known names. But a little
ingenuity could have produced a
high quality program and
brought more net proceeds to the

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