Page 12--Wednesday, May 13, 1981-The Michigan Daily
WASHINGTON (AP) - President
Reagan proposed yesterday a Social
Security overhaul which would slash
benefits by $46.4 billion over the next
five years, lower the payroll taxes paid
by workers and employers, and
penalize early retirees by an average of
The plan also would make. it much
more difficult to qualify for disability
payments by eliminating age and other
non-medical factors from the ap-
plication standards and requiring any
recipient to have worked seven and one-
half - rather than five - of the
preyious 10 years.
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL Chair-
man Charles Mannatt declared that
"Ronald Reagan took out a large pair of
scissors and cut a tremendous hole in
the 'safety net' that he promised all
Americans.. . Let him explain to senior
citizens all over this country why he
will not stand by his words."
But Richard Schweiker, secretary of
Health and Human Services, declared:
"You've got to remember one thing.
The fund is going broke ... We're trying
to keep the old lady from having no
check at all."
The administration already has
asked Congress to cut $35.5 billion in
Social Security benefits by 1986 by
wiping out the $122-a-month minimum
benefit, aid to college students and the
$255 lump sum death benefit, as well as
placing tighter caps on disability,
ADMINISTRATION officials said the
cuts would solve both the short-term,
and long-term fiscal crises clouding
Social Security's future. The system
now is running a projected 75-year
deficit averaging $19 billion annually.
The Reagan reforms would also deny
dependents' benefits to the children of
early retirees; eliminate "windfall"
benefits for government workers and
others who draw pension for work not
covered by Social Security; and make
workers and employers pay tax on the
first six months of sick pay.
However the president also offered a
sweetener to the elderly. He wants to
scrap by 1986 the restrictions on how
much those 65 to 71 can earn without
losing Social Security benefits. The
package also envisions giving workers
a break by holding down payroll tax in-
creases scheduled over the next
THE CURRENT PAYROLL tax of
6.65 percent is scheduled to rise to 6.7
percent in 1982, 7.05 percent in 1985, 7.15
percent in 1986 and 7.65 percent in 1990.
The Reagan package envisions
lowering the tax when the Social
Security trust funds build back up to 50
percent of one year's benefits, a level
the president hopes to achieve by 1990.
Officials said the payroll tax could be
held to 6.95 percent in 1985 and 7.05 per-
cent in 1986, then cut to 6.45 percent in
1990. It would have to be hiked to 7.55
percent in 2020.
DE WITT, Iowa (AP) - An explosion
and fire that ripped through a far-
mhouse crowded with young 4-H mem,
bers gutted the interior and injured 27
people, authorities said, and eight of
them were still in critical condition
The cause of the blast had not been of-
ficially determined, but officials
speculated it occurred when the owner
of the house, Donald Burzlaff, tried to
light a propane gas furnace in the
"IT WAS A TRUE disaster," said Dr.
Duane Wilkins of Jackson County
Hospital in nearby Maquoketa, where
17 of the injured were taken. Ten other
people were treated at De Witt Com-
Thirty-two people were in the home in
Bliedhorn, northwest of De Witt, when
the explosion occurred, and all have
been accounted for, said Grand Mound
Fire Chief Meryl Haack. Neighbors
rushed the injured to hospitals in cars
before firefighters arrived.
Officials said the group gathered
Monday at the farmhouse for the mon-
thly meeting of the Grant Modern Far-
mers 4-H Club.
CLINTON COUNTY Sherif's Sgt.
Larry Greenwalt arrived 12 minutes af-
ter the explosion. "The northeast cor-
ner of the house was in flames," he
said. "A piece of the house was blown
out on the driveway."
Firefighter Joseph Collum said the
blaze gutted the house, adding "I don't
know how, but somehow they got
everybody out of there."
He gave much of the credit to two of
the three sons of Burzlaff and his wife,
Betty, saying they pulled many of the
injured from the burning two-story
The Burzlaffs were among those
Eight of the injured were transferred
to University Hospitals in Iowa City and
were reported in critical condition
yesterday. They were being treated at
the hospitals' burn center.
Another four were transferred from
the Maquoketa hospital to Franciscan
Hospital in Romkjsland, Ill., were one
was reported in critical condition.
Socialist President-elect Francois Mitterrand greets French citizens in a Parisian neighborhood yesterday. The French
stock market has erupted sn panic selling in anticipation of new leftist policies. See story, page 2.
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