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May 29, 1985 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1985-05-29

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OPINION

The Michigan Daily
Ghe irbigan lt y
Vol. XCV, No. 7-S
95 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
Change priorities
T HE U.S. HOUSE of Representatives approved its
version of the federal budget last week, which freezes
military spending but allows funding for higher education
to be increased by the inflation rate. The House should be
commended for allowing social programs like education to
keep pace with inflation while addressing the deficit
problem.
The Senate version of the budget would increase
military spending by the inflation rate while freezing fun-
ding for higher education at fiscal 1985 levels, actually cut-
ting $200 million from education. Despite the freeze, the
cuts were not supposed to come out of the student's wallets
but from the cost of administering the Guaranteed Student
Loan Program.
Many educators are willing to settle for the Senate's
budget, saying that it was good news compared to the $2.3
billion cuts in student aid proposed by the president. They
say that they were willing to settle for the inflationary
losses because they recognize the necessity of reducing the
deficit.
But as University President Harold Shapiro pointed out
last week at a legislative hearing, the administration's
proposals for reducing the deficit are "upside down."
Decreased spending for education coupled with an in-
creased military budget over the past few years signaled
the necessity for a priority change.
Reagan's primary objection to increased financial aid to
students is his perception that the federal loans are
misused by students who receive them. He cites examples
of students using federal money to buy cars, stereos, and
vacations in Florida.
Every program has the potential to be abused, and the
financial aid program is no exception. But students do
need financial assistance and reducing the higher
education budget by the inflation rate would not help.
Further, it can not be overlooked that the Pentagon
spent exorbitant fees for minimal equipment, such as $600
wrenches and $1,000 toilet seats. These abuses were
acknowledged, but funding continues.
The differences between the House and Senate budget
* proposals sets up a showdown for the House-Senate con-
ference next month.
The deficit must be reduced and spending must be cur-
bed, but the cuts need to be made in areas that can afford
to be reduced, and education is not one of those areas.
The Michigan Daily encourages input from
our readers. Letters should be typed, triple
spaced, and sent to the Daily Opinion Page, 420
Maynard, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.

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Wednesday, May 29, 1985 Page 5
A look at development
By Eric Mattson calling for completely subsidized housing, but they reject
the Republicans' laissez-faire approach.
Voters who expect the new Democratic majority on the The best solution clearly lies between the two ex-
Ann Arbor City Council to bring about dramatic changes tremes. The Republican claim that the city shouldn't be in
may be in for a bit of a surprise. Despite hopes that the the housing business is unreasonable because the city is
Democrats will promote better roads and police protec- already in the housing business by virtue of its zoning laws
tion, it doesn't matter which party controls the coun- and building codes. But to offer the city assthe principal
cil-the most likely change will come slowly and subtly. force between low- and moderate-income housing, as
During the campaign, discussion about basic city ser- many Democrats propose, is also wrong.
vices was marked by finger-pointing-Democrats and THE MIDDLE ROAD is to have the city encourage
Republicans blamed each other for the council's shor- charities, as it did with the homeless shelter last year. In
tcomings. that case, the city provided seed money for the shelter,
THIS DEBATE made great copy, but not good gover- and church organizations took care of the rest. Even the
Iment.The simple truth is that the only way to build good Republicans supported the move. That sort of bipartisan
roads is to pour money into them, and the way to do that is cooperation is what is needed to make city government
either to raise taxes or to take funds out of pet projects. work effectively.
Neither of these options is popular. The flip side of the housing issue is how much the city
The Democrats claim that they can keep tabs on the should support the business community. Just as
city's coffers better than the Republicans, and save the Democrats charge that the Republicans are anti-poor, the
city thousands of dollars by overseeing the city depar- Republicans charge that the Democrats are anti-business.
tments more carefully. These assertions should be The name-calling of the political arena, however enter-
viewed with healthy skepticism. taining it may be, obscures the real issues. That the
It's easy for the Democrats, who have been Ann Arbor's Democrats are more suspicious of business than the
minority party for 14 years, to criticize what the Republicans is clear; the important question is whether
Republicans have done. Now that they're on top, they the Democrats are too suspicious.
ought to understand how dangerous it is to meddle with IN SOME areas, the Democrats simply go too far. For
the day-to-day operations of the city. instance, the pledge of Lowell Peterson (D-First Ward) to
MAYOR EDWARD Pierce says he would like to run a reject downtown development unless it is tied to affor-
series of operational audits on all the city departments. dable housing is counter-productive. Besides giving the
That's fine. But they should be conducted by an outside Republicans ammunition for accusing the Democrats of
firm with no possible political motives. being anti-business, Peterson's move is ineffective sym-
The audits may turn up places where city funds are bolism.
being wasted, but the possibility of finding any significant Other Democrats have found better ways of pushing af-
windfall is miniscule. Even though the Democrats have fordable housing and avoiding haphazard growth. Both
been the underdogs for quite a while, they still have had parties have an interest in preserving the unique charac-
opportunities to look for waste on their own. So far, they ter of Ann Arbor by discouraging sleek, high-rent office
have found nothing extraordinary. buildings. But the council has an obligation to encourage
The Democratic majority will make a difference in Ann Arbor's latest building boom by not drowning
areas that many don't consider "basic" city services, developers in a sea of red tape.
These include funding for the homeless shelter, day care Taking a long hard look at development in Ann Arbor,
scholarships for children of single mothers, and forcing as the Democrats propose, is welcome. It should occur
developers to build low-and moderate-income housing. with as much input from the public as possible, and con-
MANY REPUBLICANS believe in limiting the impact sider the interests of businessmen and Ann Arbor
government has on human services. In addition, they say "purists" alike. But care must be taken to avoid crossing
the city does not have a responsibility to make it feasible the line from reasonable questioning to unconscionable
for poor people to live in Ann Arbor. stagnation.
Democrats, on the other hand, tend to advocate a sub-
stantial role for government in developing low- and
moderate-income housing. They usually stop short of Mattson is the summer Daily Editor-in-Chief.
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