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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - June 12, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa For the grads: Not a perfect world, but a good chance The Cedar Guette: Wed., Jtie 12, 1H4 7A By James Reston AUT BUCHWALlJ'S light-hearted message to this year's college graduates was that "we've given you a perfect world, so don't louse it but must of the other commencement-day speakers seem to have been in a decidedly pessimistic mood. We have lost our way, according to the common theme. Our Institutions have failed us, our leaders have Ued to us and broken their trust. We have changed the world faster than we have been able to change ourselves. So, it seems, we are a "nation of without faith in the old religious values or even in our- selves. There are other themes, of course, but Cassandra seems to be in the main pul- pit, pointing to the inflation, Watergate, James Reston Vietnam, easy sex, booze and dope as symbols of a greedy and declining civilization. Well, there is some truth in all this, and we may ask with Archibald MacLeish, "Where has all the grandeur But this is only the dark side of the Republic. The Constitution hasn't failed us we're just hesitating to apply its spirit to the present scandals. Our institutions have not failed us the courts, the congress, the press and the church are meeting their responsibilities today more seriously and effectively than they have in many years. Look at Judges Sirica and Gesell in Washington if you think the idea of decency and justice (or even the Instinct of nobility and grandeur) in America. Listen to the states, passing tough new laws to correct and control the scandals of campaign financing. In this sense, Watergate is not killing us but may be saving us. It has revived the conscience and emboldened the spirit Views Ideas Insights Judgments Comments Opinion Page 2 R i of the states, the congress, the press and the church. The reforming impulse of America is alive again Practical remedies are now in train not the ideals of perfectionists, not as much reform or progress as the times require, but still more reform and progress than we have seen in Washington in two generations. The optimistic view, of course, can ob- viously be challenged it will be a slow business to get our practices in line with our ideals. But the college graduates of 1974 have a brighter prospect than the graduates of the 1960s or the early 1970s. They are on the whole a lucky class. They do not face the military draft. They have problems with inflation, interest rates and jobs. But unlike their parents or their grandparents, they do not face the disruption of great wars or economic depressions. Sometimes they talk as if they envied the simple adversity and discipline of the past. And one can understand this: They have the harder challenge of relative prosperity and freedom. But this class of 1974, the baby-boom generation that missed the big wars and Vietnam, can certainly look forward to the end of the century with a reasonable prospect of peace and economic if not spiritual security. For the first time since the graduates of 1974 were children, the great nations are talking seriously now about the con- trol of military arms, and there is at least a pause or truce in "the fighting in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, and on the Indian subcontinent. Nothing has been settled, but everything is under discussion. All human relationships between men and women, between the big powers and the small powers, within the family, the university, and the church are being analyzed and disputed. In short, we are coming into an age of philosophy when it is possible to talk about the meaning and quality and environment of life. That Is nut a bad graduating present for the class of '74. They have their problems, but on the whole, it is probably easier for them now to decide the two major problems of young life: Whore are you going and who's going with you? The devilish thing is not that they have no choices, but that they have so many choices. How to choose between that girl or boy, that job or the other job, when there arc so many choices and even temptations not to choose? The guess here is that (hey will work it out some way, and that they will have time to work it out, but my brother Buchwald is probably right, as usual. He was kidding the class of '74, but he had a point. They have not been given a "per- fect world" but they have been given a better chance than most, and as Buch- wald says, it would be a pity if they "loused it up." New York Times Service Another View "Now I'd like to have a talk with you. This time it's not about the birds and bees." exaggerated Swan song for scarehead CPI By Richard L. Worsnop FT1HE TWO barometers of economic A activity most comprehensible to the layman are the Dow Jones industrial average and the consumer price index Both are closely watched despite complaints by economic experts that neither is sufficiently broad in its coverage. Because the Dow is based on only 30 industrial stocks, critics say, it reflects a distorted picture of stock- market activity. Similar charges are now being leveled at the CPI. Issued once a month, it records price movements of a wide range of products and services everything from liverwurst to T-shirts to piano les- sons to X-ray treatments. The trouble is that the relative weights assigned to each class of goods and services the so- called consumer "market basket" were last revised more than a decade ago. Spending patterns have since shift- ed, and many economists believe that the CPI, which has not kept pace, now tends to overstate inflation. Another failing of the CPI, according to economists, is that it is unable to make adjustments for quality changes in products. "If we took quality change into says Yale economist Richard Ruggles, "there was no price rise in the period I960 to 1965, and in the period I96G through 1973 prices have risen about half as fast as the indicators show." The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which compiles the CPI, is well aware of these and other criticisms. Accordingly, a thorough overhaul of the index is now in progress and is scheduled for completion by early 1977. (Revision of the wholesale price index is only in the planning stage, however.) The bureau proposes, among other things, to broaden the population base of the CPI. At present, the index is based on the spending patterns of only about 55 percent of the population urban wage earners and clerical workers, for the most part. If the bureau has its way, the revised index would cover 80 percent of the population by including executives, professionals, self-employed persons, the unemployed and retirees. Farmers and members of the armed services would continue to be excluded. Organized labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President George Meany, have expressed opposition to an expanded CPI. The consumers covered by the present index, they point out, spend a relatively large portion of their incomes on such necessities as food, housing, fuel, and clothing. Highly paid executives, profes- sionals, and self-employed businessmen spend considerably less. Labor leaders fear that lumping the two groups together, and arriving at a single "market basket" for both, could result in a CPI that understates inflation. Two decades ago, organized labor probably would have greeted any such change in the CPI with equanimity. Their apprehension today stems from the fact that approximately 5.2 million workers receive automatic cost-of-living adjust- ments to protect their paychecks from inflation. In almost every instance, these escalator clauses are based on the CPI. It is probably beyond the wit of man to devise a CPI that is 100 percent fair and accurate. But all efforts toward that end are surely worthwhile. To the worker with automatic cost-of-living protection, the CPI is an invaluable ally in his struggle against inflation. It is as meaningful to him as the Dow Jones average is to the stockholder. Editorial Research Reports Way with words New tag, same blast Insights Business is never io haallhy ai when, like a chicken, It must do o certain amount of for il Hanry Ford II, By Theodore M. Bernstein PENTAGONESE. The warhead of a ballistic missile used to be, and most of the time still is, called the But things must keep changing these days. So now the term throw-weight has been coined. It means the same thing as but maybe someone thought that warheads don't pay. Usage of use. Look back, if you will, at the opening sentence of the preceding item and notice the verb: used lo be called. That is correct. But because of the proximity of the d of used and the t of to, some people omit the d and write use to be called, and that is incorrect. However, if a preceding auxiliary verb has already indicated the past tense, used Is Incorrect. For example, you shouldn't write, "He did not to cant for opera." That is just about as bad as writing, "Ho did not went to opera." In short, in the regular past tense the word should be used, but when preceded by tho auxiliary did it should be use. Word oddilios. E. A. Talley of the St. Louis Post-DUpnlcli sends along two Theodore M. Bernstein items of etymology that he recently heard. One dates Ihe word piker to the St. Louis World's Fair at which sideshows were set up all along the Pike. Those who didn't want to spend the money to go in- side to see them would stroll up and down the Pike and gawk, and that would cause the barkers to shout, "Don't be a piker; come on in." The other etymology concerns the word boom. An old dictionary (unnamed by Mr. Talley) carried a footnote linking the word to auctions of land around the edge of St. Louis many, many years ago. Every time a big sale was made a can- non was fired, and that caused a Globe editor to write, "You might say land sales in St. Louis are booming." Those etymologies might be right, and then again. Now YorK Tlmei Syndicate Step right up. See Wards variety of carpets on sale. Save 22% to 41% 8.H TWITETTE if short nylon pile. 8.S! PARKWAY polyester pile. II.M LA GRANDE .f thick nyUi pile. Save 16% to 28% 6.99 GELENBARK tf loam-backed nylon pile. Install it yourself. 5.99 BRENTWOOD of polypropy- pile is densely tufted. We have a great floor show. 219 2ND STREET S.E. 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