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February 06, 1990 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-06

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Page 4 --The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 6, 1990
e £irbigun iailtj
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

NEWS 313 764 0552
ARTS 763 0376 SPORTS
OPINION 747 2814 WEEKEND

747 3336
747 4630

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other cartoons,
signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
Social Security
Bush is borrowing to finance his deficit spending

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IN 1983, THE U.S. CONGRESS
approved a series of gradual increases
in the social security tax paid by
American wage-earners. The maximum
tax has risen from just more than
$1,500 in 1980 to $3,924 this January,
and the rate at which wages are taxed
has gone up from 6.05 percent in 1989
to 6.2 percent this year.
These increases have generated a
surplus meant to protect the social se-
curity system from going bankrupt
when the baby boomers retire and be-
gin claiming benefits. The move
demonstrated foresight unusual for the
federal government, but George
Bush's new budget proposal is endan-
gering this surplus.
By promoting a large defense budget
and a cut in capital gains taxes, Bush
has. created a deficit which is huge even
by.Republican standards. The social
security surplus, which is projected to
reach $75 billion by 1991 and $236
billion by the year 2000, is the
President's secret weapon against that
deficit.
By lending the money to the Trea-
sury Department, Bush is gambling
that he can keep the deficit low enough
to maintain his high approval rating
until the next election. Though politi-
cally shrewd, the move angered mem-
bers of Congress who sponsored the
original social security tax increase.
New York Senator Daniel Moynihan
has even argued that the tax be cut if
the surplus is not spent as intended.
Moynihan's proposal is unlikely to re-
ceive support from either Republicans
or his fellow Democrats, but it puts
Bush's fiscal policy into the spotlight
and raises two serious questions about
his commitment to social security:

The first deals with how a social se-
curity tax affects the working poor and
the middle class. Social security taxes
are different from other taxes because
workers are taxed at the same rate re-
gardless of income; in addition, income
in excess of $51,300 is exempt from
social security taxation. This means
that employees earning $1,000 and
$50,000 a year are both taxed at the
same rate of 6.2 percent; but an em-
ployee earning $102,600 effectively
pays at a rate of only 3.1 percent.
By cutting capital gains and income
taxes, and making up the difference out
of social security taxes, Bush has
traded progressive taxes for a regres-
sive one. Low and middle income
wage-earners actually lose a higher
percentage of their income to social se-
curity taxes than those with high in-
comes.
The second problem has to do with
how the Treasury's debt to social se-
curity will affect the economy when it
comes due 20 years from now.
Congress will be faced with three un-
pleasant alternatives: scrap social se-
curity and let the retiring baby boomers
starve, drastically raise income taxes
and get voted out of office, or continue
to deficit spend by borrowing still more
money.
Because baby boomers dominate the
American electorate, eliminating or re-
ducing social security benefits for re-
tirees is unlikely. And a heavy income
tax burden or continued deficit spend-
ing are unattractive solutions. President
Bush, by borrowing money from social
security to finance an unnecessarily
large deficit, is mortgaging our future
and the future of the country.

MSA president addresses accusations."

By Aaron Williams
Corey Dolgon, a Michigan Student
Assembly Rackham representative, wrote
a letter to the Michigan Daily's Opinion
page titled "Williams declares himself
maximum leader" (1/23/90). I found the
letter interesting, to say the least. There
was some truth in what Dolgan wrote.
Some of the truths were that I am the
Michigan Student Assembly president,
that Mr. Dolgon is a Rackham representa-
tive, and that MSA meetings do occur on
Tuesdays. As for a large portion of Dol-
gon's letter, the best comparison is to an-
cient civilizations which could not fully
comprehend every event, and thus ex-
plained things using anything which
seemed to suit their needs.
Dolgon complained about MSA's bud-
get. He states that the budget was ineffi-
cient and unfair. In developing the budget,
both the vice president of MSA and my-
self asked all committee/commission
chairs to hand in proposals as to what ac-
tivities and projects they were planning for
Aaron Williams is president of the
Michigan Student Assembly and an Engi-
neering Senior.

the upcoming year. What the commit-
tees/commissions had done the previous
year was also taken into consideration.
What Dolgon seems to forget is that
MSA was in debt by $50,000, thus not al-
lowing the extravagant budgets of years
past. Thus, based on what the commit-
tees/commissions had done in the past,
and on what committee/commission chairs
had handed in as proposals, determined
how much of a budget the commit-
tees/commissions would receive. Addi-
tional cuts were also made by representa-
tives during the summer assembly. It took
nearly two months to get the budget
passed by the regents. If Dolgon really
cared about funding for MSA, or MSA in
general, perhaps he would have spoken to
the regents to ensure MSA funding, for at
many points, it looked as if MSA would
not receive funding.
Dolgon has claimed that I undertook a
deceptive attempt to snuff out the Peace
and Justice Commission. The only thing
which was attempted was a petition drive
which would put Peace & Justice up to
the vote of the students in the Fall elec-
tion. The petition would not snuff out the

Peace & Justice Commission as Dolgon
believes. Most MSA members with some
familiarity with the MSA laws and rules
would know that.
Dolgon has an interesting interpreta-
tion of what happened on January 16. All
committee/commission chairs were re-
elected to be chairs again, with Bryan Mis-
tele, chair of Budget Priorities, being one
of them. As for the ballot counting, the
vice president and myself alternated be-
tween counting ballots. When it was
pointed out that I could appoint two peo-
ple to count ballots, I did so.
Unlike what Dolgon wrote, I did not
collect ballots in a shoe box nor did I ever
count ballots in my office. I would like to
point out that I asked the assembly as a
whole whether or not they considered me
to be impartial, yet they chose not to vote
on the subject.
If people do disagree or have problems
with me, please come and talk to me.
Dolgon has written three letters to the
Daily criticizing my "cohorts" and myself.
He has not come forward and spoken to
the "cohorts" or myself about any con-
cerns.

9

Politics has regressed to an elitist game

Layoffs
Auto companies ignore the plight of workers

LAST WEEK'S CLOSING OF THE
Chrysler Jefferson Avenue plant in
Detroit, the oldest operating automobile
factory in the world, put 1,700 em-
pLoyees out of work. Chrysler laid off
1,800 other Jefferson workers early
last year. In addition, the controversial
clqsing of the Chrysler plant in
Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the shutting
of the General Motors Fleetwood and
Buick City plants reveal some major
problems in the labor sector of the au-
tomobile industry.
The Big Three automakers (General
Motors, Chrysler, and Ford) have tra-
ditionally done little or nothing to find
jobs for their unemployed workers.
Auto executives repeatedly claim their
companies are the victims of a poor
economy and slow car sales, and that
the layoffs are unavoidable. Still, auto
workers have been under the impres-
sion for years that if laid off, the com-
pany would transfer them to another
plant. But this isn't happening, and
many workers find themselves out of
work and without. the $14-per-hour
they once made at the plant.
The United Auto Workers (UAW),
the powerful union which supposedly
looks out for the welfare of these
workers, has been unable to prevent
layoffs and protect auto workers.
When the UAW negotiates contracts
with the auto companies, it is con-
ceed more with adding perks and
benefits to workers' salaries than with
securing employment insurance in the
event of a layoff, a record of neglect
which dates back to the concessions
cdntracts of the early 1980s. As a re-
sult, the union leadership has been of
little help to its rank and file members.
Detroit and Flint have become cities

of despair in times of large-scale lay-
offs. Unemployment and crime soar
while the living standard and attractive-
ness of the city fall. This has been
graphically illustrated in the recent doc-
umentary Roger and Me, a portrait of
Flint in the wake of the GM layoffs.
Laid off workers unable to find jobs
have had their utilities shut off and
many have been evicted from their
homes.
As Chrysler announced the closing
of its St. Louis Plant, which will put
1,900 additional employees out of
work, the need for addressing this
problem becomes essential. The burden
falls on the UAW to negotiate aggres-
sively with the Big Three to keep their
workers protected from unannounced,
unnecessary, and unfair layoffs. The
Ford-UAW contract of 1987 was seen
as an innovative, protective agreement;
since then, Ford workers have not
suffered as much from unannounced
layoffs.
For too long, the UAW leadership
has bought the corporate line that U.S.
cars cost so much because of high labor
costs, when actually auto executives
inflate car prices to reap larger profits.
New Directions, a growing reform
movement within the UAW, has
promised to fight for workers' rights.
In the meantime, as long as workers
think of themselves as part of a "team"
with management, they will continue to
get burned.
Layoffs are crippling the lives of
auto workers and the cities they live in,
and it is time for the union and auto
management to work together to
formulate a creative plan to avoid these
problems in the future.

By Tim Gammons
Still reeling from the boys' embarrass-
ing loss to Purdue, I came home late
Wednesday night and flipped on the tube. I
sat staring at some CNN all-night State of
the Union recap analysis. People like
Thomas Foley and John Sununu were
blithering on and on evincing word after
word, yet saying close to nothing. Sud-
denly, it struck me that politics has re-
gressed into little more than an elitist
game of one-upmanship.
It seems that politics has become a big
glut of vested interests, each competing
with one another. The few who possess
the mettle to fight their way upstream and
grab the brass ring become our nation's
political agenda. Too often, this agenda re-
flects the wishes of those who ride in
limos to and from various government
agencies and not society in general. Poli-
tics is now a rich man's game.
Think about it. How many noble pa-
triotic souls are there left in this country?
Nearly anyone who has the intelligence
and drive to become a public official could
make triple a congressman's salary in the
private sector. In this BMW era of glamor
and glitz, why would anyone want to bust
their butt on Capital Hill for a paltry five-
figure income?
Tip O'Neil and Dan Quayle are a good
Gammons is an LSA junior.

juxtaposition of then and now. O'Neil
grew up monetarily poor; he was rich,
however, in duty and determination.
Whether or not you agree with his poli-
tics, you must respect the man. He was
the last of the swash-buckling politicians,
a man who had that certain something in-
side that allowed him to rise out of his
tough Boston neighborhood and represent
it in Washington. This is exactly what
you want in a congressman - someone

tion to successfully lead our nation are
lured into the private sector, drooling over
the possibility of one day owning a yacht
the size of a football field.
So who are we left with to run the
country? Guys like Dan Quayle. He
doesn't have to worry about money, his
family's already rich (and out of touch
with the real America). He's vice president
because he didn't have the grades or intel-
ligence to do anything else. Besides, being

Those people who have the intelligence and
determination to successfully lead our nation are
lured into the private sector, drooling over the
possibility of one day owning a yacht the size of a
football field.

who not just knows his constituents but
grew up as one. If we had one person like
that for every district in the nation, this
country would have many fewer problems.
But in the 1980s and '90s, someone
with Tip O'Neil's background and creden-
tials would set his sights on investment
banking, or something a lot more lucra-
tive than politics. And who could blame
them? Anyone who grows up poor is very
aware of the material rewards that life has
to offer, and if you have the potential to
grab them, you're going to. Those people
who have the intelligence and determina-

the vice president of the United States
looks fairly impressive - I'm sure his
mom's proud.
So all you future investment bankers
out there, just keep on being future in-
vestment bankers - we have enough
greedy money hounds in government al-
ready. But anyone else who's a hard-work-
ing, determined type of person, think
about this: we need you to run our country
one day. Also, let's think about this the
next time Congress asks for a pay raise.
Maybe a couple extra grand per year might
lure the right people to Capital Hill.

Daily presents skewed view of Middle East conflict

0

To the Daily:
The Daily's editorial "Entrenched in
violence" (1/19/90) states, "... the Israeli
government keeps yelling 'terrorism' and
'secure borders' and the U.S. signs it's
checks for $4 billion a day without a sec-
ond thought." Factually wrong. The U.S.
does not provide Israel with $4 billion a
day: the figure is $3 billion per year.
Further, the Daily places the words ter-
rorism and secure borders in quotes, as if
to state that thesea re not real issesa for Is-

Criticism must be aimed at both sides
of extremists, and support must be pro-
vided to both sides that work toward a
constructive resolution. Both in the Israeli
and Palestinian communities, there are
significant numbers of people working
toward peaceful coexistence. The Daily's

editorial criticism, on the other hand, has
been wholly one-sided, against Israel, leav-
ing out events critical to the development
of the conflict.
Stacey Gordon
Neil Guterman

U I
K -lof fl - 'Af

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