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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - January 27, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Sunday, January 11, 1974 'We should old American axiom Into a land war in Amtrak expandable in Iowa WFEN the Amtrak network's east-west Iowa transit was determined three years ago- through a thinly populated tier of southern counties on the Burling- ton Northern route, more lowans than not considered that a poor choice. Time has proved it certainly to be of meager service to the state. Now, with gasoline in short supply and mass-transit passenger ideas cavorting in more and more heads, a move to ret rack Amtrak on a farther-north more central route is gaining steam. If the needed marshaling of facts supports what else looks good about the proposition, put- ting Amtrak on the Chicago North Western route could bring about a twofold benefit: Useful rail service to more lowans and better patronage to help the sys- tem. In one new development, State Rep. Patchett of North Liberty is a bill to line up state financial support for a new Amtrak segment. On the supposi- tion that earlier plans for using an Illinois Central or Rock Island routing may not get far initially, Patchett now is talking up a North Western .choice because of two advantages: The North Western tracks are in suitable condition while others are not, and the North Western management already in Amtrak may be more receptive to this than the others. In progress earlier has been a western Iowa campaign, centered in Carroll, to induce the Amtrak system to adopt a North Western trans-Iowa route. The present one uses Burlington Northern tracks for a Union Pacific leg. This en- deavor now is entering a research phase on costs and likely use. One item that deserves con- sideration in the service picture is the population close to these res- pective routes the population potentially using and feeding the service. Roughly, this is how it shapes up: Eleven counties traversed by the Burlington's present Amtrak routing (through Burlington, Mt. Pleasant, Ottumwa and Creston) had a 1970 count of about Twelve counties carrying the North Western tracks (through Clinton, Mt. Vernon, Cedar Rapids, Belle Plaine, Tama, Marshalltown, Nevada, Ames, Boone, Jefferson, Carroll, Dcnison and Logan) beat that substantially with about Neither of those match the Rock Island's 13-county tally of in 1970 (through Davenport, Iowa City, Newton, Des Moines, Atlan- tic and Council But pos- sibilities for easy access to North Western stations from Des Moines and Iowa City raise impressively the North Western's potential. Indispensable to further ar- guments and any chance of tangi- ble results, of course, is a good solid'reading of probable costs for a shift to the North Western route and of probable use by the public if this did occur. But superficiali- ties and zeal won't suffice. The documenting must be thorough, realistic and reliable.' If further study goes the way it should and does a clear, convinc- ing job, this enterprise could help a new and stimulating opportunity pay off for everyone involved. Tax-bill spell-out Q ENATOR Potter of Marion has O introduced a bill in the legislature to carry out an idea so basic that it qualifies immediately in the "why didn't we think of this before" category. His bill would require counties to show in dollars and cents on each property tax statement exactly how much of Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer's taxes due will go to each taxing unit school dis- trict, city, county, etc. Already he is hearing from county officials the objection that this added load would be too much for them. But would it, really, in this day of the computer? Interesting question. Actually, the bill should be made even more demanding. Property tax statements should show the actual value of one's homestead as well as the assessed value. Sup- posedly the assessed value is 27 percent of the actual value; it would seem simple' for the tax- payer to figure actual value once he knows assessed value. But the plain fact is that it isn't that simple for most of us. Therefore, why shouldn't the statement list actual value along with assessed value? Senator' Potter's bill is a good one. It would help alleviate the frustrations most taxpayers un- dergo at taxpaying time. It would help dispel' the confusion that and and "as- and other difficult-to- understand tax terms add to the taxpayer's already heavy burden. Certainly it is not too much to ask that counties break down the dollars-and-cents amount a property taxpayer owes into how many dollars and cents are going to each taxing unit in his county. People's forum Decision To the Editor: While we appreciate the concern for potential life in the womb, we must recognize and respect the right of exist- ing human beings to control their own destinies in the area of reproduction. As we have seen in the past, a law denying a person the right to choose in this area was not only unenforceable but as the supreme court has recognized unconstitutional. These laws did not eliminate abortion. They did eliminate medically safe abortions at a reasonable cost. To think that a constitutional amendment protecting the fetus would be any better is totally unrealistic. To be governmental agencies would have to be established to develop fetal protection standards. We believe our time and energies would be better utilized in developing more effective birth control methods and educating the public in their use. However, until that time arrives, we must have local clinics and-or physicians available who are willing and able to perform abortions without further governmental interference [or any woman who chooses lo have one per- formed. The pertinent question Is not whether life begins at conception, 20 weeks ges- tation (or any other number of or at birth, but does an individual, group of individuals, religion or even a society have the right under our Constitution to deny to a woman the choice of continued pregnancy or We think not. We also think that is what the supreme court said in its decision of Jan. 22, 1973. The court was not usurping the legislative powers of congress and the people. It was deciding that existing laws violated the right of free choice of women in our society. This is exactly the purpose for which the supreme court was es- tablished. Janis Galbrcath H. E. Galbrealh, M.D. 217 Windsor drive NE Precedent To the Editor: Before there were any oil wells It was not a political appointee in an Office of Energy Management who discovered and produced oil. There was an oil shortage then, too. Dale L. Netherton' Fairfax Gas cans To the Editor: I notice that The Gazette has carried- repeated warnings about the danger of carrying extra gasoline in a container in the trunk of a car, and that even Dr. An- delman's column has discussed the sub- ject. While admitting that there is a certain risk involved, I would like to point out that there are circumstances in which carrying extra gasoline is not nearly as dangerous as not carrying an extra sup- ply. For instance, suppose one has to make a necessary trip on gasless Sunday, which for certain reasons cannot be postponed to Monday, and that the dis- tance there and back is just a little more than the car will travel on one tankful. If he carries extra gas, he will probably get home safely, with maybe one chance in a thousand that a fire or explosion will result. On the other he doesn't carry extra gas, and runs out on the highway, he is very likely lo freeze lo deatli if it is cold weather. I was recently faced with just that si- tuation. Before I finally found a gas sta- tion open, I was so desperate I certainly wished I had carried extra gas, whether dangerous or not. For a comparison, just how many people have burned from this cause, compared lo the many that have frozen in blizzards when their gas was used up? In the test mentioned in Dr. Andel- man's column (in which a can of gas was placed in the trunk, the engine left run- ning, and the car blew up in 20 I feel sure the lest was rigged in some way, since Ihis is nol the normal or ex- pected result, or we would all have been "Every man has a right fo his opinion, but no man has a right lo be wrong in his facfs." Bernard Baruch dead long ago. It must be even more dangerous lo carry a power lawnmower in the trunk, since gas usually spills over from the tank of the lawnmower, causing a slrong gassy odor throughout the car. Yet I have done so hundreds of times and nothing happened. Robert Smilh Route 1, Swisher 'Mr. America' To the Editor: Every time I view a pageant such as Miss Teenage America, Miss U.S.A., Miss America, Miss World and Miss Universe, I feel men should have an equal chance to be viewed by millions. Why can'l men be seen in their swim- ming trunks parading up and down in front of the authorized arbiters to be judged on their looks and talent as women are? They wouldn't be judged jusl on Iheir bulging muscles, as for the title "Mr. Universe" on the Wide World of Sports, but also on their ability to dress for- mally, Iheir lalcnt and knowledge, as for example, in the Miss America pageant, only this type of pageant would represent the opposite sex. There are so many pageants for females that it's a shame to not see a few male pageants. We ladies would like to sec the best looking males in this world compete for our approval. Both sexes could also benefit from this type of pageant. Men would have the chance to be known for their looks. They could travel, earn money, or any of the possibilities women have when they enter pageants and many ladies would very much enjoy this entertainment. So all those handsome men in the world should get themselves together and get up on that stage. Here he comes, Mr. America! Linda A. Johnson Route 3, Cedar Rapids LETTERS The Gozette's editorial page wel- comes readers' opinions, subject to friese guidelines: Length limit: 400 words. One letter per writer every 30 dayl. All may be condensed and edited without changing meaning. None published anonymously. Writer's telephone number (not printed) should follow name, address and readable handwritten signature to help authenticate. Contents deal more with issues and events than personalities. No poetry. Conflicting causes share a name Diverse conservatives should reach out for more By William Safire WASHINGTON One of Fred Allen's radio characters was an amnesiac who kept trying to remember who he was by the process of elimination. "Bduh, I don't carry an he would muse, "so I can't be Neville Cham- berlain." Few of us at that time caught Allen's subtle sociopolitical message that people tend lo identify themselves in terms of what they are nol. Thus, many of us apply political labels like "liberal" or "conservative" to others, resisting the application of either label to ourselves, or permitting only a sister-kissing label like which is a heller descrip- tion for drinkers than voters. There are those of lefl and rlghl who are willing lo wear a label, and do so proudly: For example, the true believers of the right have gathered in Washington this weekend at a political action conference sponsored by the American Conservative Union and the Young Americans for Freedom, buttressed by such periodicals as National Review and Human Events, and addressed by such right-wing-backs as Gov. Ronald Reagan and Sen. James Buckley. The organizers place high on Iheir agenda (he other-, direcled question: "What arc Ihc liberals up to William Safire The trend toward sclf-ldentlflcallon as "conservative" has not been stopped by the decline in the President's popularity or the Agnew scandal: When Ihe New York Times surveyed New Yorkers in 1970, those who called themselves liberal outnumbered self-described conserva- tives by 33 percent to 27 percent, with 31 percent moderately sister-kissing. The same poll conducted only two months ago showed crime-conscious New Yorkers flip-flopping those figures, with conser- vatives now decisively on top. Because the best way to sell can- didacies is to attack the opposition, even people who accept the label "conserva- tive" define it in terms of what they are against: coddling criminals, raising taxes, or what-have-you. Rarely do conservatives define their label In terms of what they are for, and for a seemingly good political reason: A fundamental split is buill into conserva- tism. One side of conservatism emphasizes traditionalism, permanent moral values, respect for institutions and order in society. The other side stresses libcr- tarianism, individuality, and holds per- sonal freedom to be the great value. These two sides of conservatism will agree on the need for self-reliance, diversity and for halting the growth of big government and will feel comfortable sallying forth together against the cen- tralization of power usually urged by their common adversary, the liberal. But the two sides of conservatism will tear up the turf In great doctrinal battles against each other: Most traditionalists will lake positions against pornography, prostitution, drug usage and abortion, while many libertarians will argue that those arc matters for the Individual lo decide and nol Ihc government. That Is why William F. Buckley, In a fascinating new hook, "Four can look at Ihe increasing numbers of victims of crime and call for nn end to what he considers the abuse of the Fiflh Amendmenl by the accused while a minorily of other conservatives, under a libertarian banner, march in the opposite direction calling for more protection of Individual rights and an end to the growth of federal police power. Conservalives in conclave have frequently derided the "zigzagging" of Ihe new federalists, who try to decen- tralize administration with one hand and lo centralize welfare with the other. But Ihc right has nol faced up lo the challenge, and the opportunity, of examining Ihc divergent forces Inside conservatism's lenl which can be a grcal source of strength. Politically, the admission that (here can be no "Iruc" believers culs down discipline bul opens up recruitment while clinging to conservatism's favorite word. Might It not be useful for conservatives to open up their lo recog- nize conflicting causes within it, and on- courage inwardly the same kind of Ideological diversity It espouses outwardly? In that spirit, like molhcrs .sewing labels In clothing to accompany kids to camp, we could identify our political positions in the specific way that invites acquaintance and discussion. Labels could Ihen cease to be onerous or fuzzy. "Libertarian conservatives" would then be able to gauge what they held in common with "Great Society disillusionces" and Malthusians could dance with Marcnsians. Oxymorons would abound, as moderates exchanged their meaningless tags for something like "egalitarian elitist" or "pragmatic moral absolutist" or "principled oppor- tunist." Names are not things, but nameless things do not communicate ideas: Poli- tical labeling can serve a useful purpose. If we specifically identify our own line of thinking along with thai of our op- ponents. My own label? I'm working on that, by Identifying and eliminating alternatives. Conservative traditionalism Is not for me, nor Galbrallhian liberalism. Now federalism with an underpinning of libertarianlsm has Its allraclions. Sometimes I like to carry an umbrella. Maybe I'm Neville Chamberlain. Nfw York limn strvM Japan misjudged By Norman Cousins LAST WKKK on tills page. 1 wrote about the effect the Arab oil squeeze on Japan's ability to undersell the United States in the world's markets. It may be useful here la consider further (lie phenomenon of .Japanese in- dustrial capability one of the three or four most important developments in the world in the past quarter-century. From the American standpoint, what Is most striking perhaps about the sharp rise of Japanese industrial power is that the United States didn't see it coming. American policy-planners made a whop- ping miscalculation in the late '-IDs and early 'alls. Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles thought the big threat to American capi- talism would come from the socialist countries. What they didn't anticipate was that the main challenge to the American economy would come from another capitalist society Japan. Not only did Acheson and Dulles fail to foresee that Japan would become the arch-economic rival of the United Slates; they did everything they could to help build up Japan. It is one of history's greatest Ironies that the billions of dollars poured into Japan by the United States after World War II should expand the industrial capability of a nation that today is out- selling the United States in many of the world's markets and that, indeed, is out- selling American industry within the United States itself. Here are figures on what Americans paid for Japanese products last year: RADIO and television sets, tape recorders, phonographs, telecom- munications equipment AUTOMOBILES, buses, trucks, transport equipment, motorcycles, mo- tor scooters ELECTRICAL machinery Norman Cousins IRON and steel COMPUTERS and business machines TEXTILES SHOES, clothing CHEMICALS The movement of all this merchandise into the American market in such mas- sive quantities is without parallel in our history. The effects must be seen not just in terms of jobs or the losses to American industry. Less obvious but just as serious are the effects on the American economy in general. The flight of billions of dollars from the United States contributes to the weakening of the American dollar abroad and to the inflationary situation at home. It may be said that the American economy is robust enough to stand the strain of this kind of competition and the outflow of dollars. The point here, however, is that even the strongest economies are affected by small but vital fractions. And the United States economy for the past two years has been under pressure from many directions. Watergate and associated scandals have shaken the confidence of the American people In their government. The public psychology has always been a powerful factor in the economic hcallh of this nation. It is not true, therefore, that the American economy can withstand any amount of undercutting and under- selling. What Is true of the Japanese competi- tion inside the United States is equally true of the competition for foreign markets. American automobiles, which dominated those markets not so many years ago, have been running far behind Japan and West Germany among many car-importing nations. It is inaccurate say that Japan's low labor costs account entirely for her ability to underprice the United Stales. Other countries have even 'lower labor costs than Japan and slill haven't been able to produce highly sophisticated products at low cost. Let us face u: Japan has become n society for Total Production, one of Iho most advanced and efficient such socie- ties the world has ever known. In the process, Japan has upset some of Karl Marx's most basic theories. Despite Its lack of raw materials, Japan has been able to outproduce the most highly developed socialist societies. II is not yet clear that American policymakers have finally adjnsled lo Ihc new economic reality. The slogans of t nuarler-ccnliiry ago arc no substitute for Ihi! severe economic challenges of today mill InmniTow. I.IM Alwiltl IlrilllSvillllrull
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