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January 26, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-01-26

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday, January 26, 1983 The Michigan Daily

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Sinclair

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIII, No. 95

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Coercing the refusniks

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HE REGULATIONS are simple
enough: If you don't register for
fhe draft, you don't receive financial
aid.
.The injustice is simple enough, too.
Students must show proof that they
have registered before they are
eligible to apply for financial aid. As
three anonymous University of Min-
nesota students have pointed out in a
lawsuit, however, the regulations
assume the student is guilty of being a
ffusnik until he proves himself in-
*ocent.
That makes the rules obviously un-
constitutional. Although a federal
judge has decided not to issue an im-
mediate injunction against the
regulations, he has agreed to hear the
case some time in March.
If the regulations are not struck
down in court before they take effect
July 1, the implications are ominous.
SHow much is the Reagan ad-
ministration willing to barter in order
to enforce its will? What will stop the
administration from taking the
regulations a step further to threaten
registration evaders with the loss of
food stamps or welfare?
As was the case in the ad-
: ministration's cuts in social service
programs, the draft regulations stop at
the door of the poor. Rich students
Monument t
HE FEDERAL government, even
at its best, seems to be running on
ideas about 20 years behind the times.
So it's fitting, in a way, that senators
;ire finally moving into the Philip Hart
:enate Office Building, a monumental
:monolith that was born outdated.
The building really isn't an eyesore;
qt's too bland for that. It looks, in fact,
Mike it might be more comfortable sit-
ling on the off-ramp of a 1960s freeway.
tark -and boxy on the outside, its
:avernous inner atrium has all the
lignity and grandeur of the Fairlane
Iyatt Regency.
In achieving all this institutionalized
;rdinariness, however, those ingenious
senators still managed to spend their
;sual inordinate amount, mostly by
dlapping up enough marble to reach
:he $137 million final pricetag.
But now that they have a new white
elephant to call their own, not too
:nany senators seem willing to claim
.wnership. Only a few have moved out
:f their cramped Capitol digs, finding
he new offices too dull, or isolated, or
dust plain embarrassing, to inhabit.
- Why was it built in the first place, the

have little to fear; the federal gover-
nment only has the means to get to
those most in need of federal aid.
Several universities have responded
to this gross inequity by setting up
alternative programs. Yale University
students who refuse to register are still
eligible for loans through the school.
Students, however, must pay market
interest rates for those loans.
To their credit, this university's ad-
ministrators have recognized the un-
fairness of the rules. But so far, the
University has refused to take a stand
on the issue pending the outcome of the
lawsuit in Minnesota and more serious
discussion among officials here.
The caution is understandable. But
in spite of a tight budget and possible
recriminations from Washington, the
University need not buckle under to
federal pressure. The University's
purposes are not served when it
becomes an extension of the policing
arm of government. Nor should an
educational institution help perpetrate
the grossly unfair and unconscionable
actions a government resorts to in or-
der to prepare for war.
Instead, the University can buck the
latest marching orders from
Washington and work to find funds for
those who will otherwise suffer from a
discriminatory federal government.
o mediocrity
inquisitive taxpayer may ask. Who
really knows? In Washington, a little
extra money and a lot of marble are a
lethal combination. And the logistics
are mind-boggling. The building,
already 20 years out of date, was first
discussed in the 1960s (20 years ago)
when the senators presumably were
operating on 1940s logic. What with
that time lag, the original inspiration
for the office may only be found
hovering around somewhere near the
Twilight Zone.
Philip Hart, the late senator from
Michigan, represented the best of his
kind - a scrupulously honest, humane
legislator. Hart's memorial, however,
symbolizes the worst of the
Washington lot - a set of warmed-
over ideas hastily conceived. So the
Senate has done the next best thing to
creating a great building. It's built a
lackluster building and namedit after
a great man.
Whatever its shortcomings, the Hart
office building may wind up serving at
least one function. It could become a
lasting monument to government inep-
titude.

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High hopes for high-tech
may prove to be unfounded

4

By Thomas Brom
MILIPITAS, Calif.-City officials in this in-
dustrial community on the southern edge of
San Francisco Bay have pinned all hopes for
their town's future on Time magazine's "Man
of the Year" for 1982-the computer.
Like politicians, economists and some labor
leaders all across "post-industrial" America,
they confidently predict that the super-hero
microchip of 1983 will provide an answer for
the record unemployment crisis of 1982.
"WE'RE NOT worried," said Milpitas city
manager Jim Connolly when the Ford Motor
Company recently announced it would close
its last assembly plant on the West Coast here
next spring. "There's an historic boom going
on right now in high technology, and this city
is getting its share in both corporate expan-
sions and new start-ups. We've got 7,000 new
jobs in the Oak Creek industrial park and
three more high-tech parks under construc-
tion."
By converting salt marsh to manicured
high-tech developments, Milpitas and neigh-
boring Fremont are attracting the corporate
spillover from the crowded "Silicon Valley"
of Santa Clara County. The two cities are
among the few places in the Bay Area where
houses still can be bought for under $100,000,
making them attractive to skilled electronics
workers.
For a handful of metropolitan areas-San
Francisco, Phoenix, Portland, Denver,
Houston and Boston among them-the much-
ballyhooed transition from heavy manufac-
turing to high technology appears to be
working. But behind the public confidence,
cracks are appearing in the facade of the
"high-tech solution" that may leave millions
of Americans disillusioned and permanently
jobless.
"MAYBE CONNOLLY'S not worried, but
we are," says Charlie Jeszeck, research
director for the California Labor Federation.
"There's a recession in Silicon Valley just like
everyplace else. The auto companies aren't
providing enough retraining for our mem-
bers, and these high-tech outfits don't like
hiring union workers. We just had our eighth
suicide in Fremont. I think there's a big hole
in the safety net."
With no clear industrial policy emerging
from either political party, the free-market
transition from an industrial to an infor-
mation-based economy was bound to be a
rough one. Trade unions in the basic in-
dustries have taken much of the impact head
on. They have lost members and operating
funds and seen their political influence fade
across the country. Former UAW and United
Steelworker rank-and-file members now
must compete for jobs with younger workers
at half the wage-and-benefit package enjoyed
in heavy industry.
But union losses are not the only con-
sequence of the high technology romance:
" The Congressional Budget Office
estimates microelectronics technology could
cost the United States three million jobs by
the end of the decade-15 percent of the

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"VERY WARMING"

manufacturing work force-and seven
million by the year 2000. According to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics,, 300,000 laid-off
workers in the auto industry alone will never
be rehired.
- The regional competition for high-
technology companies is fierce, not only pit-
ting states against states but counties against
counties. The eventual fallout could be an
even greater regional economic disparity
than now exists. Milpitas, for instance, may
well be saved by the 1982 "Man of the Year,"
but Detroit clearly will not.
. The high-technology industry itself is
changing, laying off workers as it introduces
new, automated production techniques and
consolidating into larger and larger units. In
business jargon, the industry is
"maturing"-but at great consequence to the
job market.
Few of these or other factors have been con-
fronted adequately by the "Atari
Democrats," those high-tech optimists who
believe thatgovernmentsupport for new and
often small information industries is a direct
investment in jobs. In fact, a recent MIT
study by David Birch found that although
high-technology industries showed strong
employment growth, manufacturing firms in
general actually generated no net new jobs.
The service sector was responsible for vir-
tually all of the employment growth during
the 1972-76 period, increasing its share of total
non-farm employment from 67.9 percent to
70.6 percent.
In California, Prof. Michael Teitz of the
department of city and regional planning at
the University of California, Berkeley, used
unemployment insurance data to reach
remarkably similar conclusions. Teitz found
that more than 90 percent of the net new jobs
in the young, small firms (which generated

two-thirds of all new jobs) were in the non-
manufacturing sector.
DESPITE THE lack of substantial new jobs
in high-tech industries, the California Emp-
loyment Development Department and
General Motors contributed $10 million for a
retraining program in Fremont when GM
closed its plant earlier this year. Jeszeck of
the Labor Federation said the federation
worked hard to pass a bill last August
providing $55 million each year to retrain in-
dustrial wokers. "But unfortunately the
legislature thinks retraining is the answer to
all our problems," he says. "We need jobs." 4
More than two dozen Bay Area electronics
companies laid off workers this year and
many others reduced work weeks and froze
new hiring. Ted Gibson, a senior economist at
Crocker National Bank in San Francisco;
predicts the loss of 8,000 jobs in the industry
statewide by June of next year.
That leaves the huge service sector as the
generator of most new jobs in the 1980s. Ser-
vice companies, too, tend to be volatile, low-
wage employers with high turnover rates.
But with more and more two-wage families
buying personal services, the industry really
is booming. High-tech may be flashy, but
production jobs just aren't there for most of
the nation's 13 million unemployed.
"The reality is that microelectronic
technology throws people out of work," says
Lenny Siegal of Pacific Studies Center, a wat-
chdog organization in Silicon Valley. "If the
U.S. invests in high-tech, it may get a larger
share of the world market, but it will also
worsen industrial unemployment here and
abroad. It doesn't solve the jobs problem at
all."
Brom wrote this article for the Pacific
News Service.

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