Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 7, 1974, Page 8

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette April 7, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 7, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Sunday, April 7, 1974 Tax-whack inconclusive Al THE END of a buildup spanning several months in the shadow of a past vice-president’s tax-prodded leap out of office, a joint congressional committee decided that President Nixon should pay the treasury some $476,000 in back taxes. The Internal Revenue Service figured that $465,000 would suffice. The President agreed to fork over. That undoubtedly is not the last that anyone will hear about the case, and it is still too soon to tell what influence this settlement will have on other matters bearing on the Nixon future. But a few points come through strongly right away: In view of Mr. Nixon's promise from the outset to abide by whatever the congressional tax study group recommended in his case, he really had no choice except to pay in full, despite the bill’s immensity. To fight it would have marked him as a breaker of his word — a Cynics, dupes and deadliness IT IS A SIGN of strangely blended cynicism and credulity, perhaps, that so much of the public either takes Patty Hearst’s kidnaping as a put-up job resulting from her own collusion or takes her recent statement of defection to the other side as true and voluntary. This much seems to be unarguably true: When people from the Symbionese Liberation Army took the San Francisco publisher’s daughter from her campus residence two months ago, they dragged her away struggling and screaming. Bullets sprayed the scene, and Miss Hearst’s fiance was injured. Her statements through the early weeks of ransom-paying smacked of pressure on herself and voiced personal fear. Her latest message turned it all around with: “I have changed — grown. I ve become conscious and can never go back to the life we led before.” To believe that she helped engineer this from the start is to disbelieve the SLA’s initial threats that it would “carry out the execution of your daughter.” To believe it takes as empty words the warning that a cross-up on the food-ransom deal would mean ‘‘the life and the blood of Patricia Hearst will be upon your hands only ” To believe that this was all a sham is to dismiss the new Symbionese assertion that ‘‘corporate enemies of the people will be shot on sight” (three victim-prospects listed by name). Conversely, to accept Miss Hearst’s avowal she has “changed” or “grown" to join the SLA in its destructive effort is to disbelieve the theory that she acted from the start in concert with the terrorists. If it is true indeed, incredibly, that millionaire’s daughter Patricia Hearst has voluntarily changed sides to “fight” for SLA ideals, this is true too: No one gets arrested simply for professing SLA support. She has confessed to no crime and has committed none. She is free (if what the SLA maintains is true) to go home to her parents, and visit, and talk, or meet them anywhere on neutral ground, and then freely return, as far as the law’ is concerned, to her SLA chums. If she does not do that of her own free will, immune to arrest or coercion, a strong presumption follows: The SLA is lying, and she really can’t go where she pleases, and the words she spoke on tape of new devotion to the SLA were lies coerced from Patty Hearst through the same physical force and the same threats of death that have characterized everything else in the SLA's disgusting drivel as to better lives for “the people.” This interpretation of the terrorists’ design and Patty Hearst’s entanglement is still the only one that squares with common sense, the principles of human nature and the record of events unfolding now for two solid months. Regrettably, her chances to come out alive and tell the truth diminish as the chances grow, in justice, that the SLA itself will come out dead. Academic question ‘Freedom’ flubbed By Don Oakley COLLEGE STUDENTS, or at least a bunch of them who were queried at Iowa State university, have some curious ideas about what “academic freedom” means. According to a report on a survey by sociologists Dwight G. Dean and Brent T Bruton in Human Behavior magazine, of 606 students enrolled in their introductory sociology classes, only 12 could write an acceptable one-sentence definition of the term. All the rest thought it meant “freedom for students, not faculty ” No less than 419 of the students thought academic freedom meant freedom from required courses. Numerous others said it was the right to attend the college of their choice or the right to personal off-campus freedom or the right to have a say in the hiring of teachers, One student came up with what is perhaps the definitive “undefinition” of academic freedom by writing that it is “the freedom to study what I want, when I want to, if I want to ” If students don’t understand the term, the sociologists ask, “what can we expect of the general public?” Well, the general public has a more than acceptable record in this matter of permitting the untrammeled pursuit of truth in the groves of academe, despite some rather extreme expressions of that freedom, by both faculty and students, on some campuses in recent years. A more pertinent question may be, if these 606 less 12 students at Iowa State and their counterparts elsewhere haven’t learned what academic freedom means by the time they leave college, what can the general public expect of them0 NEW ELITE The story is no doubt apocryphal, but one plumber is said to require his potential customers to submit their requests in writing All entries are judged on their neatness and originality. At any rate, plumbers are invariably cited as an example of how those offering skilled services have become the new elite in our society. Some of them earn as much as $18,000 a year — yet you can’t get one to make a housecall. Why this should be so is a mystery. .After all, how many times a year — or a decade, for that matter — does the average homeowner require the services of a plumber0 There aren't that many new houses being built to keep them all busy It s a mystery, and if plumbers know the answer, they’re not telling anyone. Except maybe their doctors. Newspaper Enterprise Assn. Nixon-tax splash: How it looks is crucial Insights devastating blow on top of all the other trouble currently afoot. To keep his word could bolster feelings in the people and in congress that the price for everything surrounding Watergate is close to paid. The choice was easy, in that light. Considering the voluntary-payment step and the internal revenue decision not to press a tax-fraud possibility inherent in this kind of case, the outcome also has demolished demolished Wilbur Mills’ contention that the tax report would, in effect, push Mr. Nixon to the edge of leaving office. Nothing but a tax-crime taint could do it. As of now , that danger has dissolved. Naturally, the magnitude of error and great residual doubt in many minds on how it came about will keep the President in trouble with large segments of the public and of congress. The tax jolt has become a chapter in the story, but by no means its dramatic end.Outlook: ‘Millions will see attempt to cheat’ By Tom Wicker NEW YORK - Maybe Gerald Warren, the White House spokesman, is right about the public attitude toward Richard Nixon’s tax problems. Nixon has promised to pay the more than $400,000 the Internal Revenue Service says he owes in back taxes, and Warren said that he thought “most people in this country will consider it a closed case.’’ Well, it is true that neither the IRS nor the staff of the joint committee on internal revenue taxation, which also found Nixon heavily in arrears, alleged any fraudulent action on his part. It also is true that thousands of taxpayers every year are audited by the IRS and are made to pay more because of overzealous deductions — nothing unusual about that From here, nevertheless, Warren sounds like a man whistling past the graveyard. Richard Nixon, after all, is the President of the United States. He is under the heavy threat of impeachment already. And he did not owe a few thous-dand or even tens of thousands of dollars, but nearly a half-million It may well be, for instance, that the absence of a fraud allegation and the promised repayment by Nixon make it unlikely that the house .judiciary committee will include a tax evasion charge in any impeachment resolution it may write. But that does not mean that Nixon’s tax returns will not play a major part in the impeachment matter Income taxes, after all, are a burden with which every American — all but a handful of very rich and very poor — is intimately acquainted. The report on Nixon’s tax debt came just as millions of them were making out their own returns against the April 15 deadline. Most of them are doing so honestly and with a high degree of accuracy. Many of them know that Nixon’s problem was caused not only by disallowed deductions, but also by his failure to report income from several sources. Whether or not they think Nixon had an intent to defraud, will they not think that a President, particularly one with an array of private attorneys and accountants as well as the entire federal apparatus at his beck and call, could hardly get $476 OOO in arrears without cutting a lot of corners and stretching a lot of points0 The guess here is that millions of taxpayers will think just that — and that millions more will believe that Nixon tried to cheat, whether the IRS charged him with it or not. To the extent that those public attitudes make themselves felt in congress, and are shared by members of the house, it is that much more likely that Nixon will be impeached on any other charges that the judiciary committee may bring. Nixon’s general reputation for honesty and truthfulness is bound to be an unspoken issue in impeachment proceedings. whatever the charges; and so is his political standing. His tax problems, at the very least, surely have not improved either his reputation or his political position New York Times Service News item: Birds, in flocks of millions, have been plaguing areas in the East. People s forumMid-income needy To the Editor The Gazette's March 3D editorial. "Noneed scholarships", made a good point The need for financial aid to nuddle-in-eome college students has become very apparent to me and my family, since I am a high school senior planning to enter college next fall We have found that a real problem does indeed exist I can remember hearing stories as I grew up that led me to believe that good scholarship was handsomely rewarded in the form of monetary grants and awards. As I began investigating different colleges, however. I found I hat most financial aid is based strictly on “need." ■1 not her I ie iv with most of the money naturally going to students from low-income families The assurance that a straight-A student can go to any college he or she wishes turned out to be a myth The same sizable bills come regularly, and if the student is From a middle-ineome family, offers of financial aid are often inadequate. Many times a scholarship based on academic excellence is the only ( hance a middle-income student has to get the kind of education he or she wants. Regrettably, such scholarships are few and many deserving students receive no assistance whatsoever I agree with The Gazette's opinion Middle-income families need help Scholarships based on achievement offer aid regardless of income Without them, the student's choice is severely limited. Sara .Johnson 1241 I flirt let h street SEJustice? To the Editor ‘Stew Sergeant Higgins of the streakers squad reporting ...” It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand and justify our present system of justice. In recent weeks, in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, courts have been preparing to turn convicted murderers (tut onto the streets. From the news accounts of this activity, these decisions have not been based on a determination of guilt or innocence but instead on whether or not the game was played by the rules In one case it appears that evidence was gathered without a search warrant. (Someone forgot to say, “Captain, may I?”) This may be cause to arrest someone for breaking and entering but not cause to turn a convicted murderer loose on society. If the evidence was there, so is the guilt. Iii another case statements made through the news media indicate that theRepayment viewed as resolve to hang tough By Clifton Daniel WASHINGTON — “Richard Nixon invested half a million dollars in the presidency last night.” That was one of the remarks heard in the cloakroom of the house of representatives after Nixon had announced that he would pay the back taxes and interest assessed against him by the Internal Revenue Service. The question Washington was asking was whether the President’s investment would pay off. Some foes as well as friends seemed to think it might — at least to the extent that the President had neutralized the tax evasion issue by his prompt decision to pay up. “The President’s reaction was a very good one and very helpful,” said Mortimer Caplin, who was commissioner of internal revenue under two Democratic Presidents. “The President’s conduct in accepting the IRS judgment is going to counteract some of the adverse criticism.” “I don’t think this is going to change the situation one way or the other,” remarked Sen James R. Buckley, New York Republican and conservative, who startled the White House and the country on March 19 by calling for the President's resignation, A dissenting opinion came from Robert S .Strauss, chairman of the Democratic national committee. “I think it has hurt him (President Nixon) very, very badly,” Strauss said “I can't see even any room for a backlash of sympathy for him " There was little, if any, support for the view that the President should have stood and fought, although there was some feeling that he had been treated harshly by the IRS and the staff of the congressional joint committee on internal revenue taxation. The more prevalent opinion was that Nixon had good advice, that "he did the right thing for once,” and, in any event he had no alternative but to pay the extra taxes assessed on his 1969 1972 income He had invited the committee to investigate his tax returns and had promised to abide by its decision “The most important thing is that the President kept his wc-d." Ken Clawson, the White House director of communications said todavOverpayment? Even before the report of the joint committee's staff was issued last Wednesday, the advice of various White House advisers had been to pay up promptly,” whether the tax delinquency was $7 50 or $750 OOO ” as one of them said. Another White House official said the President would pay far more than he legally owes, that he had disregarded the advice of his lawyers to go to court, and had foregone the remedies available to any ordinary taxpayer “He took one tremendous financial wallop — a lot more than his lawyers feel he really owes,” said George Bush. suspect was “coerced Into leading the authorities to the body ” In at least one mind this appears to mean that the man is innocent. Again, if someone violated a law thon arrest that someone for violating that law L'sing the logic of these judges, two wrongs do make a right. Murder is one wrong, a procedural error is another wrong, so let the guy loose and everything is O K (except for the victims, and it’s not profitable to champion their cause because they are dead). If in either of these cases there is some reasonable doubt of guilt or innocence then by all means get it sorted out But to give freedom to two murderers because of a technicality or another's wrongdoing is ridiculous. For one man, any one man, to In* empowered to arbitrarily do this is equally ridiculous. A jury determined guilt, so a jury should determine innocence, but first there should be reasonable doubt as to either. If Iowa had capital punishment for this type of crime, these men would not be around for us to consider. We would simply proceed from day to day believ ing that all of our judgeships were filled with competent people. Heaven forbid. Kenneth IL Lee Route 2, Mt VernonToughen up To the Editor. In view of the number of unsolved murders in the Cedar Rapids area, and crime in general in the United States, it s time we took a good hard look at the laws dealing with crime and our judicial and penal systems. Laws originally designed to protect the innocent and punish the guilty have not c    by    c«gu I    v    Synd    .«c World    Reveled    3-6 The price of greatness is responsibility. Winston Churchill chairman of the Republican national committee. “No fraud has been alleged, both Democrats and Republicans on the committee have complimented him, and I think the American people will, too.”Overcharged? Some members of congress were said to be astonished at some of the expenses charged to the President — for ex ample, travel costs for his family and his dog, and improvements on a house (at San Clemente, Calif ) that will be given to the nation. By contrast. Mortimer Caplin, from his vantage point as a tax expert, held that the joint committee staff report was “very sound ” “That book,” he said, “is going to be a best seller It is a great legal analysis of very complicated issues.” Although the staff report and IRS assessment were financially devastating, Nixon’s supporters stressed that neither one of them charged the President with tax fraud That was important because, in their view, the President’s tax delinquency cannot be made a cause for impeachment if there was no fraudKinship? There were differing opinions on the subtler question of whether the tax matter will make members of the house more disposed to vote for impeachment for other reasons Strauss thought it would make impeachment ‘ more fashionable Partisans of the President were not sure They said it depended on how the news of the President's decision to pay his back taxes is presented and received in the country Will it look as if the President was taught with his hand in the till0 Or will it appear that he made an honest mistake and is ready and willing to pay for it° Will taxpayers, who are just now making (tut their own income tax returns, feel a kinship with taxpayer Nixon, who may have to borrow money for his own taxes? Nixon is apparently willing to bet $432,787 1 3 plus interest that he will win more sympathy than he will lose That half a million-dollar investment is interpreted by Wydler as a measure of Nixon’s determination to stay in office, despite a seemingly unending series of political disasters Ne* York Timn Slavicr only failed to do this but have worked in favor of the guilty, turning iriminals loose t(* prey on society I^aws now favor the accused so much that it s next to impossible to get a conviction unless the accused confesses or there is an unimpeachable eyewitness So he is set free to kill. rape, steal, etc , and the society we live in pays the price Which is best0 Laws that have enough teeth in them to convict and sentence criminals 99 percent of the time and maybe an innocent man I percent, or what we have now, with the innocent pay ing on both ends of the stick?. On one end by taxi* to defend the felon, and on the other (‘rid when he is set free to prey on people again When a doctor removes a cancer by-surgery he must remove some of the good flesh to get all the cancer By the same token we must not be afraid to convict an innocent man I percent of the time to get all the guilty. This may seem like an extreme measure, but it would be necessary if we are to restore respect for the law and protect law -abiding citizens As a general rule we have good law enforcement, but it is the courts that have tied the hands of the police. Judges who are soft on crime reduce or suspend sentences We need to revamp our whole judicial system — for instance, make judges and parole board members responsible for crimes committed by the felons they parole. How on earth do we expect to deter crime with a prison system so attractive that prisoners ask the governor to extend their sentence and commit repeated offenses to stay on the inside? In a sense, the law doesn’t punish criminals, it protects them from the part of society that would deal with them properly. We need to take some drastic action to deal with these problems now lf we wait much longer it may be too late. Ned Cantonwine Route 2, Vinton ;

  • Dwight G. Dean
  • Ken Clawson
  • Kenneth Il Lee
  • Mortimer Caplin
  • Patricia Hearst
  • Patty Hearst
  • Richard Nixon
  • Sen James R. Buckley
  • Tom Wicker
  • York Timn Slavicr

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: April 7, 1974

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