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October 11, 1990 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-11

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Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 11, 1990


420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Editor in Chief

Opinion Editor

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.

Deficit thinking

Budget battles demonstrate weak leadership

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in Washington - replete with George
Bush's daily opinion shifts, outrageous
posturing, and Peter Pan accounting -
would be farcical were it not so tragic.
Though Bush's proposal promises a
balanced budget by 1995, its projec-
tions are pure fantasy.
But of far greater significance than
the President's inability to add and
subtract are what his numbers say
about his priorities, and, specifically,
his clear intention to wring the poor for
the benefit of the rich. Moreover,
Congress' proposed revisions to
Bush's proposal, which are being
hammered out in committees this week
following the President's Columbus
Day Weekend antics, fail to substan-
tively challenge either Bush's account-
ing or his priorities.
The proposal's sloppy math and re-
gressive goals are, in fact, connected:
" not only do both demonstrate how
frighteningly out of touch U.S. leaders
are with this country's economic and
social realities, but the budget's pecu-
liar accounting actually masks what
those goals and priorities are.
Excluded from the President's
calculations are, among other things,
,the $1 billion a month the Pentagon is
currently spending in the Gulf; this
huge expense is not part of the
Pentagon's projected annual $292
billion over the next three years.
Excluded as well is the half trillion
dollars ($100 billion next year alone)
that will be needed to bail out the sav-
ings and loan fiasco, itself a product of
the shoddy economics and rampant
greed that Reagan and Bush have tried
to dress up as "supply-side eco-
nomics." Nor is mention made of the
$169 billion the government plans on
"borrowing" during the next five years
from the Social Security trust fund -
insuring that by 1995 there will be no
trust and no fund.
Compounding these convenient
omissions are the assumptions upon
which the Bush team stakes its claims
for a balanced budget. In 1995, they
claim, the Treasury will be able to
borrow at 4.2 percent - even though
the borrowing figure today is over 7
percent. By 1995, they claim, the
United States will be experiencing its
highest growth since the 1960s and its
lowest inflation since the 1950s -
even though the economy seems
headed for its third bout with stagfla-
tion in the last 15 years.
To top it off, even this creative ac-
counting would only lop $500 billion
off the current deficit. But while the
President may think this will be enough
to guarantee a balanced budget, the
U.S. General Accounting Office issued
a report two months ago projecting the
deficit at more than $1 trillion dollars
- double the President's estimate.
What is worse than the budget's
wishful arithmetic is its quite purpose-
ful agenda, reflected in which programs
will be cut and which will not. For
while Bush's numbers are quite bad
enough, the government is not, to
quote Senate Majority Leader George
Mitchell (D-ME), "just dealing with
programs. We're dealing with real hu-
man beings, and their families, and
their hopes and fears and concerns."
Or at least "we" should be. Neither
Congress nor the President, despite
protestations to the contrary, seem to
be doing so.
Bush's original proposal, with its
combination of excise taxes and revi-
sions in the tax rate, would raise taxes

for those making less than $10,000 a
year by 7.6 percent, while taxes of
those making more than $200,000 a
year would rise only 1.7 percent. Fac-
toring in adjustments for inflation,
Bush's proposal would actually cut

taxes for the richest Americans by a
whopping $25 billion over the next five
In this context, Bush's budget is
simply the latest addition to a federal
taxation policy that has become steadily
more regressive over the last decade.
The percentage of after-tax income
earned by the richest one-tenth of all
U.S. households increased from 29.5
percent in 1980 to almost 35 percent
Though Congress is now discussing
the possibility of implementing a
slightly more progressive taxation rate,
it is simultaneously contemplating a
lowering of the capital gains rate,
thereby undermining what little positive
effect its amendments might have.
Bush's proposal also called for a
massive $60 billion cut in Medicare,
even though the Chicago-based Ameri-
can Hospital Association estimates that
70 percent of all hospitals accepting
Medicare are losing money at current
Medicare rates. Though these cuts are
largely responsible for Congress' de-
cision to veto Bush's original package,
its proposed revisions would still cut
Medicare by $42-45 billion over the
next five years.
Because of the proposed cuts in
Medicare, states, which are required to
assume 44 percent of the burden for
Medicare recipients, will be forced to
assume a projected $7 billion in addi-
tional liabilities over the next four
years. In turn, this burden will leave
states with less money for programs
like Medicaid.
While in 1975, 97 percent of all
poor children and 86 percent of all poor
received Medicaid, the figures by 1984
had dropped to 75 percent and 63 per-
cent, respectively. Since then, they
have continued to follow this down-
ward trend - which will be com-
pounded by the self-proclaimed
"Health care President's" latest cuts.
While Medicare is being dramati-
cally slashed, both the President and
Congress are taking a "kinder and gen-
tler" approach to defense spending
cuts. Even as an outdated project like
Star Wars is being allotted $4.7 billion
for the next year, Congressional revi-
sions of the Bush budget only call for a
$2.2 billion cut in the Pentagon's al-
ready bloated allocation.
This, too, continues a trend preva-
lent throughout this decade, during
which defense spending has risen from
just over a quarter of the total budget to
over 30 percent today.
If Bush and Congress truly wish to
address this country's budget woes,
defense spending will have to be cut
dramatically - by at least half, for
starters. But for as long as the Presi-
dent can proclaim that we must defend
"American values" in places like Saudi
Arabia, such cuts are unlikely.
The Gulf Crisis provides a conve-
nient justification for the Pentagon and
its defense contractors to remain cozy.
Their collective panic about the possi-
bility that peace might break out -
clearly expressed in numerous depart-
mental memoranda over the last year -
has been laid firmly to rest.
The U.S. government must redirect
its priorities away from the Pentagon
and toward health care, education, and
the creation of decent jobs for all its
citizens. It must implement a radically
more progressive tax code and massive
defense spending cuts so that such a

redirection is financially possible.
Otherwise, the government might as
well define "American values" for what
this budget intimates that they are: the
values of the rich, exercised at the ex-
pense of the poor, both home and

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Readers review Daily music reviewers

Elvis fans not racist
To the Daily:
I fail to understand the point of Forrest
Green III's article about Elvis Presley
(9/25/90). Green seems to take offense,
apparently for all of Black America, that
many people like Elvis.
Is there really any reason to suggest
that whites are racists because they like
Elvis? Elvis did not become popular be-
cause of his "approximation of Black sex-
uality," as Green states. He became popu-
lar because he was a threat to the family-
oriented, church- going public.
Teenagers, as they do today, wanted to
rebel against their parents. Listening to
Elvis and dancing in a fairly sexual man-
ner were forms of this rebellion. In addi-
tion, Elvis' use of rhythms and chords
found in primarily "Black" music of the
time was simply an additional form of re-
bellion for teenagers from the Pat Boone-
type music they were used to.
However, Elvis did not preach hatred of
the family institution. Elvis recorded
gospel music, went to church, publicly
showed affection for his parents, never
swore, and entered WWII when he was
drafted. Elvis showed teenagers that they
could rebel but still maintain a close rela-
tionship with their community and fam-
The popularity of Elvis today rests on
the same principles. Yes, you can rebel
against the everyday monotony while still
maintaining a strong relationship with so-
In addition, Green states that we should
commend musicians who "strive to bal-
ance the scales." One group to whom he
says we should give "kudos" is N.W.A.
The group's repertoire that "balances the
scales" includes "Fuck tha Police," and
"Just Don't Bite It." The latter is a frank
discussion on the proper technique for fel-
I like the way that N.W.A. provokes
social change. They disagree with the prac-
tices of the police in southern California.
So, they encourage Black youths to "fuck
the police." Reforms that the group sug-
gests include "a bloodbath of cops dying
in L.A." and that a group member should
"swarm on any motherfucker in a blue
uniform." It is productive criticisms like
those that contribute to social reform. Hail
to the "groundbreaking contemporaries" of
today. Jared Blank
First-year LSA student
Reviews have faltered
To the Daily:
Forrest Green's recent review of "100
Miles and Running" (10/2/90) by NWA is
very curious. First, the omission of the
controversial "Don't Bite It" is terribly
unprofessional. The song, devoted to the
instruction of proper fellatio technique to
young women, rivals anything by the 2
Live Crew in verbal content, although

musically is much more imaginative. This
is all well and good, if not-representative
of NWA's "slap 'em upside the head" style
in both content and delivery. It should not
be ignored in a responsible review of the
record. The song is powerful and contro-
versial. I could understand if space consid-
erations were a factor, but this is only a
12 inch, not a double album. Perhaps if
Mr. Green spent more time reviewing the
record, and less worshipping NWA's
power of anger, he could comment on
more of the music.
Which brings me to my next concern.
Last time I checked, no one wanted to be
raped. Maybe I'm socializing with an
overly conservative crowd, but I tend to
believe this is fairly universal. I'm sure
there was a significant point to be made,
but I couldn't find after several readings.
To suggest that white women are
"...secretly hoping to get raped..." is pre-
posterous, racist, and ugly. Maybe I give
Mr. Green too much credit in assuming I
missed the point.
In fact, I've noticed several "slips" in
the music section over the last few weeks.
These range from snide remarks about lo-
cal businesses and their employees, to ter-
ribly uninformative reviews by writers try-
ing to be overly cutesy, or more intellec-
tual than their minds or the format allows.
The Daily is one of the few places such a
diverse selection of music is presented. In
the past, writers like Beth Fertig and Mike
Rubin could produce in prian accurate feel-
ing for the music they reviewed, not just
terribly biased opinions of whether they
liked the band. Morrissey or Chuck D.
can't play on every album. It's time for
certain reviewers to grow up and swallow
the bitter pill. I think it's a pity to watch
what was once the strongest department at
the Daily bumble along in mediocrity.
Justin Walcott
LSA senior
Review of YLT misses
the obvious points
To the Daily:
"If there is a trout in the milk, it's
pretty good evidence it was diluted." That
seems to have been the kind of uninformed
logic behind Kim Yaged's inexcusable re-
view on Yo La Tengo's new album,
Fakebook (10/4/90). Her article was filled
with ignorant, unsupported and ridiculous
accusations. Its overwhelming fault was
that she forgot to notice that seventy per-
cent of the songs were covers (brilliantly
forming the title, Fakebook).
She quips, "What can be said about a
group that names a song 'Griselda'?" She
then assures us this song can only be ap-
preciated by somebody who has been for-
tunate enough to meet a Griselda. Now
remember, Kim, they didn't actually name
it that; it's a cover. There is absolutely
nothing that can be said about a band that

names a song Griselda. Let's see now, the
Beatles named a song "Mean Mr. Mus-
tard." I suppose that must mean they ei-
ther hate sandwich condiments or possibly
they just want to boycott the Heinz cone
The one thing I liked about her piece
was her description of the song
"Emulsified." "...A gutless Otis Redding
with a hint of the monster mash." That's
precisely what it is. However, Kim seems
to have missed the irony in her statement
because she thinks this is a negative
point. How could she expect a song with
such implied ridiculousness to be some
sort of soulful splendor?
YLT's four albums collectively displaP
the diversity they are capable of producing:
a beautiful pianissimo followed by shrill
feedback that would make Eugene Chad-
bourne gyrate in ecstasy. I'll be waiting to
see what they come up with next.
Scott Holden
School of Music sophomore
Daily wrong on YLT
To the Daily:
I was disappointed in Kim Yaged's
negative review of Yo La Tengo's album,
Fakebook (10/4/90). It made her seem un-
informed and unable to support her opin-
When she says Yo La Tengo is com-
posed of "Woodstock wanna-be's," wh
does she think they're trying to be? San-
tana? Jimi Hendrix? Sha Na Na? I guess
that her catchy, alliterative phrase would
also apply to anyone who used slbw
acoustic guitar on an album, like Bob
Mould, Jad Fair, Rebby Sharp, or a heavy
metal balladeer.
When she attempts to insult Yo La
Tengo by asking, "What can be said about
a group that names a song 'Griselda'?'"
she entirely ignores the album's theme
a fakebook is a book of many artists'
songs. Her question is ludicrous - she's
completely unaware that Peter Stampfel
and the Bottlecaps originally sang
"Griselda." Her critique of the song "You
Tore Me Down" misses the point. The
Flamin' Groovies, who first recorded the
song, desperately wanted to be The Byrds,
The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles all in
one but ended up as pale imitations. If the
song is "embarrassingly bland," Yo IA
Tengo deliberately made it that way to
make a point about the Groovies. Finally,
when she calls Ira Kaplan "a combination
of a white James Brown and a gutless Otis
Redding" (her criticism of "Emulsified"),
she misses the point completely: Ira isn't
trying to be soulful, he's having fun with
a funny song.
Kim's review proves that it's not Yo
La Tengo who doesn't have it -it's her.0
Scott Breckenridge
Engineering sophomore

Daily includes Arby's
inserts, other 'sleaze'
To the Daily:
Thanks for your help in making a de-
cent environment. No?
I refer, of course, to the throw-away
advertisements you include with some

Protest deputization
To the Daily:
When the University administration's
task force report on campus safety was ini-
tially published earlier in the year, the ad-
ministration was all too keen to publicize
one of its suggestions for improved safety

zation. When students start to demand real
imput into the campus secur-ity debate,
the administration decides that debate
should end - and meanwhile cops are qui-
etly armed behind closed doors, and against
student wishes.
Today, at noon in the Michigan Roo4e
of the Michigan League. Prof. Harris Mc-

Joint Committee on Taxation's estimate of the effet of the tax
agreement on people at various income levels.
Capitalains taxes not included.

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