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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archive: January 24, 1974 - Page 8

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - January 24, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Editorial Page Thursday. January J4, 1974 President's word doubted on personal deals .........i..........i, .icL-ml direcllv about Good-life groundwork IN RESISTING "desecration" of (he historic battlefield at Get- tysburg by a real estate man's proposed 307-foot observation tower, opponents have invoked a three-year-old amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution. It was passed to safeguard valued fea- tures of the state's environment. As the case stands now enroute to federal involvenifint, Pennsyl- vania's supreme court has disregarded this protection in clearing the project for action. But the preservation effort still lives, and the legal key to its validity holds interest every- where. On this the 1971-passed consti- tutional amendment "The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall maintain them for the benefit of all the people." People's forum Doubtful To the Editor: The administration's energy czar has announced that gasoline prices will ad- vance from 8 to 11 cents per gallon over the next two months, and in many sta- tions this has happened already. Some newcasters have alleged that a tremendous amount of Mr. Nixon's cam- paign funds came from the major oil companies. If this is true, one is inclined lo believe that the gasoline shortage is a well-planned contrivance to dupe the public, create larger profits for the oil companies and divert attention from the Watergate scandal. The oil companies know, as we all do, that each year brings greater demands for petroleum end products. Yet in spite of this awareness, they proceeded to cut back their production many months before the Arabs imposed an embargo and before the shortage propaganda was circulated to the public. If the majors would disregard the em- bargo, uncap and activate the numerous idle wells, including those off-shore on the West Coast, and step up their refining operations, there would be no apparent need for all this shortage folderol. The embargo is responsible for a loss of only 10 to 15 percent of our total requirement for raw petroleum. The reactivated wells should be productive enough to more than offset the percentage loss imposed by the embargo. How anyone can possibly believe that the over-all economy can be enhanced by skyrocketing the price of gasoline, diesel and heating oils is beyond comprehen- sion. There is no doubt that this scheme will boost the economy of the oil com- panies, but try to imagine what it will do to the wage earners all over the nation who are losing their jobs. A widespread increase in unemployment is sure to cause untold unemployment problems and a sales decline in the market place. There are millions of salesmen, com- muters and business people who depend entirely on automobiles as their only means of getting to and from their employment not lo mention the great loss of revenue to owners of motels and resort areas, because tourism and vaca- tions will be a no-no. It will be most interesting to know how this beneficent portal-to-portal convenience can survive on an allotment Another View "Sure punches a hole in a ten spot, doesn't In Iowa, though nothing quite like Pennsylvania's "cash register in the skies" is casting shadows on the land just now, this has a timely ring. The "Iowa 2000" venture now beginning focuses on where we've been, on where we are and where we want to go regarding qualities of life remarkably akin to what the Pennsylvania amendment touches on. No parallel protection or con- cern for water, air and natural, historic, scenic or esthetic values of our habitat now "graces Iowa's own constitution as a guarantee of people's rights. A spell-out pat- terned on the one in Pennsylvania would thus be apropos as part of Iowa 2000. Both to dramatize the better-life intent and give the program something tangible to build on, underpinning such as this could be most helpful. With a bicenten- nial approaching to enhance the timeliness of solid headway on the books by 1976, this year's legisla- ture faces shining opportunities to start it off. of only ten gallons of gasoline per week. But perhaps these particular cars have been updated in some manner to enable them to function on the abundance of hot air which exists in that area. Richard Eberhart 4061) Bcver avenue SE Cold enough To the Editor: There must be two or more sets of weather records kept here in Cedar Rapids. Last April's blitz was reported as one of the deepest snows on record. But I remember March 25, 1931. It was a lot worse. Then on Saturday, Jan. 13, The Gazette reported 26 at the airport as a new record. Maybe it's a new one since the mid-'30s. We had 31 below in early '30s, but I do not remember the exact year. I have a friend who remembers that day as well as I do and will verify my statement. We were both mail carriers. If you are out in 31-degree-below windy weather, you sure as hell remember it. I also remember in '20s or '30s we had two solid weeks in February when the weather did not get above zero. Remember, some of you retired carriers? I have had enough snow and cold for this winter. Eihil A. Rosenbcrger 1415 Ninth street NW (Editor's note: As reported, the records tor temperature or snow apply only to the specific calendar dates on which they oc- cur.) Child support To the Editor: There was a piece in the'Jan. paper about whether a woman should still get alimony after she has remarried. I think the law had belter start getting something done about these fathers who are out of the stale. What are these women supposed In do for overdue child support? Yes they say take it to a lawyer. Who is to pay for this? You're right, the women. Take It to the county attorney? That's free, but what can they do? They say their hands are tied because these individuals are oul of stale. ,i In my case I have done both, and I have come up wllh nolhlng. Three years' buck supporl is still owed. You go to ihe state for help; they say the stepfathers are responsible. I say why let Ihese real fathers go? These are their children ton. Simmons 826 Tenth avenue SW 'Best' police Tu the Editor: I think we have the best police force in the nation. They think of all (he people and they are fair. I'm glad I do not live somewhere else. Maxlne Suntee 1315 Fourth street NW By Louis Harris The Honls Survey BY 5B-26 iH-reent. a majority of the AiiK'rtewi (HNiplr agrees wllh the charge that "President Nixon has not IHVII honest alxiul the financing of his (muses in Kan Clemente am! Key Biscayne." In addition, the President's decision release a full financial disclosure of his income ami taxes appears more lo have raised doubts than to have calmed duuhts abou! Ills personal financial dealings. All in all, by (ili-25 percent, the Ami'riran people give Mr. Nixon negative marks on his publication of his personal finances. Significantly, Republicans are critical of the President 'on his lax revelations by 52-38 percent, while those voters who cast their ballots for him in the presidential election are also critical by 54-38 percent. Along with serious doubts about President Nixon's integrity in handling the disputed Watergate tapes, as reported earlier this week in the Harris Survey, his actions in trying to explain his personal financial dealings now ap- pear to have put him In worse trouble than ever with the American people. The number who now feel Mr. Nixon is a "man of high integrity" has slipped to an all-time low of 37 percent of the public. Should congress limit oil industry profits? TOURING 1973. while American con- and businesses started feeling the effects of the energy shortage, the oil industry chalked up its most impressive profit performance in years. During July, August and September the months when the crisis became acute oil company profits soared 63 percent above levels for the same period in 1971 While economists and government of- ficials generally accept the necessity of higher oil prices to curb use of short pe- troleum supplies, it would be both unfair and unnecessary for the oil companies to earn undue profits as a resull. As President Nixon noled in proposing an excise tax on crude oil price increases, "because of the abrupt nature of the present shortage, prices could tem- porarily exceed the price levels required to increase supplies, and oil producers could reap unanticipated 'windfall' profits." Nobody contends that the oil industry should be denied normal profitability. What is at issue, as Democratic Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan contends, is "not the ordinary level of profits, but whether they should be able to continue to double, redouble and double again their profits in the forthcoming years as they have been doing in the lime of this crisis." In a lime of national crisis, "while everybody else is asked to lighten their belts, lo conserve, give up driving, and other luxuries and necessities, the oil companies are making a Dingell complains. Development of energy resources lo overcome the shortage and provide for future needs will require tremendous in- vestments in exploration, production and :refinery construction But given the exist- ing structure of the oil industry dominated by eight giant companies that share most of the market there is little incentive for them to use their profits for that purpose. As Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.) has pointed out, during the energy crisis "big oil's best interest lies in preserving a seller's market and maintaining .shor- tages. "Since the natural interest of the oil companies Is not in using those profits fur productive McGovern con- tends, without government ncllon "we will sec higher retained earnings, From Jan. 7 In a cross-section of 1.4I1U households nationwide was asked: "let me reod you some about President Niton's releasing information about bis income and the totes he has paid. For each. Mil me if you lend to agree or disagree (read stotenwmts) Div Mot ,___ Wee sure It is wrong (or President Nivon to have paid less raves than a person with an income ol a year, when he is paid a salary and expense ac- count rotating 000 a year 75 10 President Ninon has fail- ed to provide moral leadership for the rest of the country by taking advantage of legal tax loopholes I resent President Nixon becoming a millionaire at a time when the American people have hod o hard time making ends meet In releasing personal financial information, President Nixon showed he really feels he has not been Quilty of any wrongdoing......... The lax breaks the President took were all legal and proper 64 45 13 26' Louis Harris This series of iiueslicms reveals the basic set of public opinion on Mr. Nixon's disclosure of his finances: By a nurruw margin, W-H iit'irem, most people believe thai in releasing all uf his financial data, Mr. Nixon "show- ed he feels he has nut been guilty of any wrongdoing." However, by a lopsided 75-15 percent. Hit' public feels the President was "wroni! lo have paid less taxes Ilian a person with an income of a year, when he is paid a salary and expense account totaling a year." All of this adds up lo a ringing criticism of the President mil for committing illegal financial acts, but rather' for financial behavior mil befit- ting a man whom the. country should look lo as its leader in Ihe White House. The root of the doubts and suspicions about the President's personal finances steins from the way in which he bought his houses In Key Biscayne and San Clemente and in the sales of some of Ihe land lie made in his California rcsiden- By Congressional Quarterly WASHINGTON With the complaints of constituents still ringing iii their ears, members of congress are returning here for their second session ready to clamp down on the oil industry's burgeoning profits. There are a number of alternatives to choose among, including President Nixon's proposed excise tax on crude oil price increases and a straight excess profits tax on oil company earnings not used to develop now supplies. The administration is relying on price increases to curb use and encourage production of petroleum products. And while congress is willing for the time be- The Arguments dividends, and perhaps new mergers and investments outside the energy field. That is why we need the measure which would require the fuel companies lo make productive kinds of investment or see their inflated profits taxed at a high rate" to finance government efforts to solve the energy crisis. Conor e55lonol. Quarterly TDEFORE ITS impressive 1973 profit performance, the oil industry had been a relatively low-profit business compared to other industries. As measured by rate of return on invest- ment, the oil companies together over Ihe past five years were below the national average. Even in 1973, according lo commerce The Gazette's Opinion if Shoot to kill shortage TTJVERYBODY'S prime objective in the fuel shor- 1L! tage being coped with now should be to get it over with as fast as possible. The less disruptive this can be to systems and institutions in the thick of the struggle, the better and more durable the end results are apt to be. On that premise one essential in the answer is that new investment capital for added fuel and energy production flow amply into new facilities for that production. Naturally, the institution geared lo handle this both best and fastest insofar as gasoline-related fuels are concerned is America's strong oil industry. It is in the public interest, and the oil industry's as well, to sec that ample profits during shortage-limes go into new-production channels as investment capi- tal: Thereby Ihe shortages eventually will cease. It's not in anybody's interest that when the going gels lough eilher (a) the oil industry's profit-hunger leads it NOT to pump sufficient money inlo new production, or (b) the government abandons faith in supply-and-dcmand forces of free-enterprise capi- talism and starts ordering the proper flow by force or imfree means. Consequently, in whatever action congress feels compelled to launch concerning oil shortages and profits, several principles should guide it: Any profit-scissoring that congress docs should not be so severe as to eliminate incentives for the needed plowback into new production. The watchdog work on profits should include, if anything, provisions seeing to it that the gravy docs not go for other purposes at the expense of wiping oul the shortage. A dominating sense of fairness to the public (to" to the industry and 16 Ihe market sys- tem in which everybody has a stake should lead In something workable that does the job for all. Tilt- public was asked dim-lly about you (eel Nuon Ivo. bee.. obou. Knoncirva of hi. houses .1 Son Clemente ond Key Hscoyne? ,OM ix-bJtt 26 56 13 Been Not been honest Hot suie Thus, (lie (iiiiinciiil disclosures by the President hiive cast even longer shadows on his integrity. The cross-section was asked: "When oil of Ihe invesliflolions ond ernes hove finished, do you think President Ni.on will be foond to hov. .iofowd o. -O' ol Vice president A0new. or don I you Ihink this will Nov Oc) 71 '3 Will be found lo hove violated low Will not happen 37 Not sure 34 36 25 Tile number of Americans who think Mr Nixon will nllimalely be round In iiave violated Ihe law still is below percent, but it has risen from 3IM7 percent since last October. By conlrast, the number who think he will be found to be innocent lias gone up only from 3li- 37 pern-ill. Itichard Nixon is now in deep trouble on his credibility willi the American people, and his own decision lo release his financial statements and tuxes has made things worse rather limn better for him, even though the people think Mr. Nison believes himself to be in- Clilcooo Tribune-New York News Svndlcute ing lo go along with thai strategy, it seems determined to make sure dial higher prices are not translated into unreasonable profits for the oil industry. But the industry'is resisting such re- strictions, contending that better profits are needed to finance stepped-up exploration and production efforts. Should congress impose a 'temporary limit on oil industry profits during' the energy crisis? The following arguments come from those involved in the debate. Profits of the Big Eight 3RD QUARTER SALES AND PROFITS 5 6.638 3200 3.032 2.521 Shdl 14284 Stondord 1.3455 AHCO 1.0865 Mobil Gulf 79 38 231 2 3074 210 226 336 1473 598 department statistics, the industry's 13.2 percent rate of return ranked below these others on an equity or an investment basis in 1973's first nine months: 16.5 percent for appliances, 17.5 percent for the automotive industry, almost 20 per- cent in drugs. As Sen. Jennings Ran- dolph (D-VV.Va.) has noted, "only the nation's railroads, with a rate of return of li.l percent, had a lower return on etinity than the petroleum industry." Rather than a windfall from the energy crisis, those 1973 profits reflected a general business upsurge that benefited other industries as well. No matter "why those profits increased, however, the oil companies need theni to finance stepped-up exploration and exploitation of energy resources. Republican Sen. Paul ,1. Fannin of Arizona told the senate during debate on energy legislation that the funds needed to develop new energy resources "can come only from profits. If we place legislation into effect that discourages industry from going forward with exploration we are defeating the whole purpose of having more energy available for the American people and at lower cosl." By limiting profits, Fannin contended, congress would be "taking away the very incentives that they need to go forward with their investments In addition to extra cash, better profits would help the oil industry attract the outside invest- ments and loans it will need lo come up with the nearly required to meet energy needs by 1980. Oil company leaders have made clear that their profits would go toward such productive investments. "It makes Sen. Dewey F. Bartlctt (U-Okla.) maintains, "that these companies would continue lo invest in that Industry which they know best, especially when Ihe opportunity for a reasonable rale of relurn is Improved. "Higher prices of conventional fuels will encourage producers not only to increase their output of these fuels but also to use other lechnlques as they become comiriercial such ns tlcRiislflcatlon and liquefaction of coals and extracting of oil from shale and lar sands and further to undertake research of Kcollicrmal, solar, nuclear fusion and other sources of energy." Conor imlnnril Quorlnrlv   

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