Page S Saturday, May 16, 1981 The Michigan Daily
The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCI, No. 9-S
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Vote no on 'A'
EW BALLOT propositions in recent times
have occasioned a display of such bipar-
tisan unanimity as has Michigan's Proposal A,
also known as the Brown-Smith Plan.
The property tax reform proposal - on which
state voters will cast their ballots this coming
Tuesday - currently enjoys the support of vir-
tually every major Democratic and Republican
personage in Michigan, both at the ad-
ministrative and legislative level. On its sur-
face, such unprecedented congruity would
likely denote a plan well worth supporting.
Such is not the case. We find Proposal A an
illiberal measure hastily designed as a stop-gap
deterrent to the changing political winds of both
state and nation.
The current proposal seems a craven reac-
tion to the omnipotent shadow of Robert Tisch,
Michigan's self-styled anti-tax crusader whose
Proposition 13-style referendums were
narrowly defeated in 1978 and 1980.
Like Tisch, Proposal A would cut individual
property taxes by 50 percent across the board;
unlike Tisch, the proposal would supplement
the resulting loss in state income by increasing
Michigan's sales tax from 4 cents to 5 cents on
The trouble is that, while the property tax
cut would give over a billion dollars back to
homeowners,, the corresponding sales tax in-
crease would put only $800 million back in stae
coffers. This drop in revenue will severely
squeeze an already austere state budget, crip-
pling even further suct services as education,
mental health, and aid to the poor.
A regressive, flat-rate sales tax would also hit
those who can afford it the least; an extra pen-
ny and a half on the dollar means nothing to
those comfortably off - to the poor, such an in-
crease could constitute a very real hardship.
Though "A"s proponents claim the proposal's
increased homestead income tax exemption
will ease the tax burden on renters - notably
students - others dispute such an assertion.
Proposal A is a profoundly conservative con-
coction - a panicked, compromise measure
which would have been scoffed at only a few
short years ago. If we don't pass "A," its
backers warn, Tisch will be back with a far
more Draconian measure - after all, half a
loaf still is better than one.
We reject this negative argument. If our state
and nation have reached such a point of no
return that we must sell out traditional prin-
ciples for the sake of forestalling an even worse
fate, then Michigan and America soon won't be
worth a plugged nickel.
We cannot believe things have reached such a
political dead end. Proposal A is a bad gamble
on our state's futum We urge you to reject it.
Spectre of the draft
Editor's Note: Occasionally
political issues cut across the
standard dichotomy between
Left and Right- Wing thought.
This piece, the product of a
senior fellow at Stanford
illuminates the growing ap-
prehension over a resurrection
of America's peacetime draft
- a threat which troubles
many conservatives as much as
it does liberals.
Thomas Gale Moore
There are many reasons to. be
against military conscription: it
is unjust; it is slavery; it might
lead to our sons and perhaps our
daughters being sent off to a
foreign land to be killed. Let me
review the reasons usually given
tor bringing back the draft:
A draft is fair. Recruiting
needs are not expected to exceed
30 percent of the population of
young men in any future year.
Since volunteers will fill most of
those places, a draft will only
select a few from the many.
A draft, therefore, would focus
the "obligations of citizenship" -
as proponents of the draft like to
put it - on only a few individuals.
How would those few be chosen?
In the past, certain individuals
have been exempted, and some
provisions for exemption would
clearly be required. Bright kids,
the children of upper. income
parents, will find ways to be
exempted. They can find doctors
to certify their handicaps; they
will claim conscientious exem-
ption; they will go to Canada.
If a draft could be be fair,
would not universal national ser-
vice be the best way to ensure
that the "burden is shared
equally?" To be universal, it.
provide make-work jobs. Would
they be paid the minimum wage
- a very expensive proposition?
The cost of an all-volunteer
system is too high. At present
pay and force levels, a return to
conscription would save less than
$500 million, less than one half of
one percent of the defense depar-
tment's annual budget.
Larger saving could be
would have to include women,
conscientious objectors, the han-
dicapped, and the mentally
What would the government do
with the approximately 4 million
young men and women turning
eighteen each year? If they were
all forced to serve in the military,
it would be bloated out of propor-
tion and so would our military
budget. If some were allowed to
have civilian jobs, how would the
selection be made fairly? What
type of civilian work could this
mass of young do?
Since organized labor would
protest any use of conscript labor
to compete with ordinary work,
the government would have to
"THERE'S NOTNHI MG NEW ABOUT
OUR SUPPLY-SIDE ECONOMICS
achieved by cutting or not raising
military pay, but it is already
inadequate. It has declined
steadily since 1973. Pay for the
lowest ranks is already
significantly below the minimum
wage. The biggest manpower
problem faced by the military is
not new recruits but retaining
trained personnel. Higher pay is
necessary to keep them.
A draft would produce a
more representative armed
force. The military, however,
has never been representative.
Even in World War II, only 56
percent of the draft-eligible
males served. Black Americans
casualties in Vietnam, as did
whites in World War II and Korea
- all of these wars were fought
with the draft.
Would the proportion of blacks
be affected by a return to the
draft? Certainly not. The number
of blacks in the military began to
increase during the draft era and
has grown ever since.
Registration and/or the
draft is needed for quick
mobilization in an emergency.
Clearly a draft cannot speed
military training; it takes as long
to train a conscript as a volun-
teer. In past wars, volunteers, at
least initially, have been plen-
tiful. If the war is felt as just and
right by the American people,
there will be ample volunteers; if
it is not supported by the public, it
should not be fought.
It should be remembered that a
peace-time draft is not in the
American tradition; it only
developed in the post-war period.
For the first 164 years of our
history we relied upon volunteers
to man our armed services in
peaace-time, and we should con-
tinue to do so.
Thomas Gale Moore is a
Senior Fellow at the Hoover