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Cedar Rapids Gazette: Monday, September 2, 1974 - Page 6

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - September 2, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Mat 'First, let's get a new quarterback' Editorial Page Monday, September 2, 1974 No agency is sacrosanct IN HIS FIRST NEWS conference President Ford maintained the high standard of performance he set in his earlier public ap- pearances. More importantly, he continues to come through as a warm human being, fully aware of the lofty status of his new position but intent on not misusing the power and authority that go with it. while keeping a firm and decisive hand on the controls. It was a wide-ranging con- ference during which the President handled more questions in 30 minutes than most of his predecessors and in a manner that left no doubt where he stands. On the subject of inflation and the economy, for example, he made it clear he will not reimpose wage and price controls but that if unemployment gets any worse he won't hesitate to broaden the present government employment program. In fighting inflation, he said, "no budget for any department (of government) is sacrosanct, and that includes the defense budget." That is a concession from the position he took in his message to congress by failing to include the military budget among those sub- ject to reduction and we commend him for it. His answer implies that he meant what he said then that "conciliation" would be one of the four cornerstones of his adminis- tration. Obviously, the President has his finger on the public pulse for there is no question but that a majority of the people want waste cut out of the military budget as well as out of the budgets of oilier departments. In making it clear the military budget is no more sacrosanct than any other, he insisted as he should have that the military must be kept strong "for the pur- pose of deterring war or meeting any challenge by any adversary." But. he continued, "if there is any fat in the defense budget, it ought to be cut out by congress or eliminated by the secretary of defense." There's fat in the bud- get all right and the senate already has passed a bill cutting So million without, as many sena- tors pointed out, weakening the defense one whit. The President defended, and properly so, his position for limit- ed amnesty and his appointment of former Governor Rockefeller as his vice-president. He also let it be known, in reply to a question for his reaction to complaints from conservatives that he is moving to Energy discipline endures far left of center, that he is making decisions based on what he believes to be best for the country's, nol on what is best for Peripatetic pols like ethics-in-home idea By William V. Shannon YI7ASHINGTON In his speech to wlll t........ V V congress and again in his Aug. 28 and prosecu use of the moral and ethical wisdom of the centuries In today's complex society, we will prevent more crime and corrup- news conference, President Ford failed to provide leadership in behalf of the reforms needed, to prevent a future Wa- tergate scandal. tors and governments can ever deter. "This is a job that must begin at home, not in Washington." Leadership is urgently needed. In the Delighted very week that Richard Nixon was being driven from office, a majority of the house of representatives had the audacity to defeat campaign reform. The house did okay the part of the bill that provides for the public financing of presidential campaigns, and that was a substantial gain. But when it came to reforming the way in which their own campaigns are paid for, a majority of the members of the house had the effrontery to stick with the present corrupt system. They voted 228 to 187 against the plan offered by Reps. John Anderson (R.-I11.) and Morris Udall io provide matching public and private funds for house and senate races. Addressing congress on Aug. 12, Ford failed to speak out for campaign reform. Instead he said: "On the higher plane of public morality there is no need for me to preach tonight. We have thousands of far better preachers and millions of sacred scriptures to guide us on the path of personal right-living and exemplary of- ficial conduct. "If we can make effective and earlier conservatives, liberals or in- If he continues to do that he can't go far wrong, no matter how much grumbling he gets from any or all of those political factions'. We say. keep up the good work, Mr. President. onqoinq crunch nosy questions ONCE AGAIN aiming to mine a mother-lode of information on each pupil, school administra- tors across the land are'sending parents the standard time-worn' questionnaires. Most of the infor- mation sought is obviously useful: health background, name of doc- tor, person (other than parent) to notify in case of emergency. But rnmpilation of certain other data is an exercise in trivia. In Eastern Iowa, Linn-Mar schools' questionnaire frames a good example. In addition to all the pertinent biographical data, school administrators ask to know the number of siblings in the family, the pupil's place of birth (against the day the child becomes President, perhaps) and the general shape the parents' marriage is in: Living together'' Separated? Divorced? Re- married? It seems unlikely that school administrators using such ques- tionnaires actually are interested in prying. The forms most likely are holdovers from times when multiplicity of questions seemed to help justify printing costs. Nonetheless, the nongermane questions ought to be culled. Then the administration's data bank would not be cluttered with material.so contradictory to the right-to-privacy principles es- poused in civics classes. Parents can hasten the updating by giving school administrators either of two firm nudges: leaving blank the space following irrelevant questions or filling them in with the notation, "None of the school district's business." Isn't it the truth? By Carl Riblet, jr. A bride at her wedding and the bridegroom chokes. Her father grins. His father winks. Her mother cries and bis mother tilts her nnsc and sniffs. wedding was a success. "It is a sin to go fo o wedding and not get drunk." proverb nlcrOcoon Press Svndicoto By Louis Harris The Harris Survey some official estimates that there should be no gasoline or fuel oil shortage in the near future, Americans say they are exercising con- tinued restraint in the amount of energy they are now consuming. Recently, the Harris Survey asked a cross-section of 1.-H7 people nationwide: "As 0 result of the energy shortage, this summer are you [read list) or Do-, on Driving your car no faster than 55 miles per hour on the highways 67 20 Curling down on the use of lights and electricity in your home 70 27 Using gasoline less than you did before the energy shortage 58 28 Using your car less than last summer for weekend and holiday trips 49 33 postponing or purting off any long trips by car you were planning to moke 33 41 Cutting down on the use of air conditioning in your home 32 28 Curling down on Ihe use of air conditioning in your car 28 23 (Percentages do not add up to 100, because some did nol own car or air condilioninq, or question does nol apply.) Although there have nol been many electric power shortages around the country this summer, seven in ten families testify that they are taking measures toward conservation. A com- parable 67 percent say they have been abiding by the 55-mile-pcr-hour speed limit on the nation's highways, and a majority has been self-consciously cut- ting down gas consumption. One third of all the families in the country report having postponed a long trip by au- tomobile over the summer mouths. Lost labor love o fi leal II-M of energy discipline over the summer monlhs_has been the amount of home air conditioner usage. In recent years, the widespread growtli of power- hungry air conditioning has been blamed for electric "brownouts" during summer _ heat waves. And auto air conditioners increase gasoline consumption. Among (in percent of the homes'in the country with air-conditioning, a majority (53 percent) of families report cutting back. Among Ihe 51 percent who have air-conditioning in their cars, a majority (55 percent) attests to using less this summer. Part of the decrease in energy con- sumption is simply a matter of carrying over habits acquired during the shortage period last winter. Sixty-four percent of the public admitted earlier this year that they felt most Americans wasted energy. Apparently, many have come to the conclusion lhal can live comfortably and well on less. Pespite collective efforts to conserve, a solid one-iii-evcry-ftiur people hold the view that the energy shortage in the country is still "very serious." and another 41 percent feel it is at least "somewhat serious." The cross-section was asked: "How serious do you Ihink the energy shortage is in this country very serious, somewhat serious or no! serious at 6 Nov., After the initial announcement by former President Richard Nixon last November that the country was in an "energy half of the public judged the shortage to be serious. After living with the situation for a few months, this proportion dropped to 3-) percent by .January. When the short-run shortage was deciared over in March, no more than 22 percent any longer felt it was serious. These remarks were greeted with wild applause. Many members of congress regard ethics as "expletive deleted." They are eager to gel back to regular drinking with lobbyists, taking their checks from the oil industry or from AFL-CIO's COPE, and running their affairs in (he comfortable private way they always have before Richard Nixon messed up and caused the searchlights to be turned on. They were delighted to hear the President imply that there is nothing they need do to prevent future scandals because it "is a job that must begin at home, not in Washington." But'if we seriously apply that theory to the Water- gate scandal, we end up ascribing the blame for Watergate to Richard Nixon's- mother nr Charles Colson's grand- mother. Does not this ludicrous conclusion suggest that there is something faulty with the President's theory? Ford's difficulty is that he is beguiled by the ancient half-truth that men cannot legislate morality. Ethical behavior, it is often said, has to derive from the in- dividual conscience of each of us and consciences are formed early in life, mostly in the home. That is true but it is not the whole truth. Society through its laws and cus- toms establishes the context in which men and women make their ethical choices. With regard to racial segregation, the same half-truth was often heard. Racial progress cquld only come from changing the hearts and minds of men, a slow un- dertaking indeed. But then congress passed the civil rights laws of 1964 and 1965. Once racial discrimination became a matter of breaking a federal law, many persons chose not to act in a discrimina- tory fashion, regardless of what they privately thought and felt. Few now doubt that those civil rights laws are a formative ethical influence in our society. Louis Harris But now that time has passed, the number who feel the shortage is "very serious" has risen again to 26 percent. In fact, a majority of 67 percent feel (here is a long-term energy shortage in the country, while no more than 30 percent agree with the statement that the energy shortage "is not serious at all." Thus, there is strong public belief that America is not out of the energy crunch, in agreement with most expert evalua- tions of the situation. The public also feels (hat it should do something about the shortage, and. as these results in- dicate, is prepared to make sacrifices if national leaders call for it. C'liccno Tribune New York News Syndicate People's forum To the Editor: I believe it is time for the record In he corrected in regard to your article on high light bills reported in The Gazelle AUK. 18, and in Iowa Electric Light and Power Company's new request for higher rates. First, let me remind you we who complained about our light bills being high were not talking about our bills go- ing up from to as your corres- pondent reported. Here arc some examples of what really happened. Our last four months bills went like this: S26.57, S59.B3. Virgil Freeman's across the .street went like tins: va, 532, 1TA and after a new meter Others in the neighborhood even had bills of m and Wi. V, e called the Light Company and were told it was just our air-conditioning. We n-riT. erj no cooperation from Ihe Light 1 Also we were not told the Light slipped in a higher rate the filter bv srbitrani) nl charging high UMTS. time they were selling us on the new atomic plant, we were told our bills would be cheaper. Thirdly. IE has spent millions of dollars telling everyone to buy more appliances and how much cheaper rales would be, even to the point of pushing gold-medallion homes. We fed the people in Cedar Rapids should not pay for the apparent mistakes made by IE. We did not ask for a S2IIO million holocaust (hat IE wants us to pay off in a matter of a few- years at our expense. Then, loo, look at the luxury suites at IE Tower. Now each of us is aware of inflation and some of its causes, and we each must do our part to help correct it. I, for one, am willing to (in so, but I don't feel IE's problems are inflation alone and I don't believe IE has told us Ihe whole story. 1 appreciate the way The Gazelle has been for honesty and fairness but feel more should be told about this than your article of July 18. Mr. and Mrs. Bill L. Hale 15 Julia Ann drive N'W LETTERS The Gazette's page welcomes readers' opinions, subject to Iheie guidelines: Length limit: 400 words. One letter per writer every 30 days. All may bo condensed and edited without changing mecr.rrsjr. None published number (not printed) should rfimt, oddreii and re-xjable horrf-nfm ngrfjture 10 twhenticote deo' rr.ore witf. istye; yd By Russell Baker "DEARLY IN LIFE, most nf us probably -L' observe an unhappy relationship between labor and wealth to wit, the heavier the labor, the less Ihe wealth. The man doing heavy manual work makes less than Ihe man who makes a machine work for him, and this man makes less than the man sitting at a desk. The really rich people, the kind of people who go around on yachts and collect old books and new wives, do not labor at all. The economic reasons for dividing the money this way are clear enough. One, it has always been done that way: and (wo. it's too hard to change at this late dale. But the puzzling question is why, since the money is parceled out on this prin- ciple, young people arc constantly being pummeled to take up a life of labor. In any sensible world. Ihe young would be told they eotild jf (hey wanted to, but warned that if (hey rljrfsn il would' cost them. Not here. In this country, labor is talked about as if il were something everybody ought to be dying for a chance to get into, like ocean-front real estate. We are forever haranguing each other about the nobility of labor, the dignity of labor, the rewards of labor, honest labor, decent labor and so fnrlh until all th" starch is taken nut of any potential lip- Marls who might be tempted In ask Ihe scnsiMc question: "Hov: crime il lahor r. h 'a i., l..r. eosures pondered I used to scoff at this when I was in- nocent. "1 don't want the reward of labor." I would say. "I want wealth, books, new wives." And I would say, "Look at .1. Paul Getly; he toils mil, neither does he spin, yet his is Ihe wealth of Croesus. I want' to be a nontoiler like Getty and have the reward of cash." At first, people dealt with me patiently, and by people I mean statesmen who were wise beyond my years and under- stood wherein lay happiness. they would exclaim. "Poor deluded lad! Behold the digger in his ditch. Does he not partake richly of nobility and dignity? Is poor Getly recompensed for being denied all that by the cold assuagement of To inc. that cold assuagement seemed adequate compensation for missing out on blisters, and 1 determined to sacrifice a life of work for the calvary of great wealth. II was a dangerous decision, and quickly abandoned, for fierce politicians began going about the country suggest- ing that such behavior was unwholesome, cynical and possibly subversive. In brief, I undertook the joys of labor, joined sundry unions which sent regular mailings extolling my dignity and proclaiming dues increases, and cun- ningly sneaked a sinuous route front biiii-r uf huuijrod-poumi iiour sacks 'i, journalist (Dial's whjl" my Me.-illh in dewed Book-of-lhe-Month club selections of the late 1930's at garage sales. The unions' desire to keep us persuad- ed of the splendor of labor is understand- able. If everybody decided to be rich instead of working, the unions would go out of business. Union men work just as hard as Ihe average middle-management executive and have canoes, too, and it is only natural that they nol waul Io give up the nobility of labor [or the cold as- suagement of lucre. What is baffling is (he government's attitude in all this. The government can- not afford to have a country made up entirely of rich people, because rich people pay so little in taxes that the government would quickly go bankrupt. This is why government men always tell us that labor is man's noblest calling. Government needs labor to pay its upkeep. It seems Io me lhal government could make a concession here. Its present tax system is rigged so salaried income, which is Ihe kind of income labor gets, is taxed at higher rales Ihan rich income. It would be a simple mailer Io switch the loopholes, ftich income would be taxed al the high rate salaried income now pays, and salaried workers would get the kind of loopholes Ihe rich now have which is Io say, loopholes that make it certain thai somebody else will have to do most of Ihe tax-paying. I ilon'l expect Ihe government In leap al Ibis sensible suggestion. 1 expect it to r'-ply lhal the rewards of labor are so ri'-h we should all be glad to pay double l'ir Hii-iii, and anyhow, hasn't govern- ment already given us Labor day? Exemplary Once the nation adopted the financing of political campaigns predominantly from public funds, the existing system in which polilicians pay their campaign ex- penses by the brokering of votes and favors to private inleresl groups would soon seem as primitive and inherently wrong as segregation or child labor now does. Ford cannot lake all. the responsibility for government ethics upon himself. Asked twice about post-Walcrgale ethics at his news conference, the President stressed his openness, his opposition io wiretapping, his own decent standards. "The code of ethics will be the example I he declared. That would suffice if he were the leader of a Cub Scout pack. But a complex society needs laws and clear guidelines. In addition to campaign reform and full financial disclosure, the President could come to the aid of Sen. Lowell Weicker, Connecticut Republican, in his effort to get a law written strictly limit- ing access to income lax returns. He could seek legislation requiring govern- ment agencies to make their meetings and Iheir records open Io Ihe press and the public in Ihe manner of Florida's "sunshine government" law. Except for a few military secrets, no public document should be classified. Ford could ask congress to enact a law requiring that members of independent regulatory 'commissions be as circum- spect as federal judges in avoiding ex parts contacts with the industries they regulate or with congressmen fronting for those industries. One good man can make a difference, but one man by himself cannot do the job. Good men need good laws and good .rules to translate their personal decency into a lasting rise in Ihe level of society's ethical behavior. Insights loot forward In n limn when man tholl progress upon somathinu worlhmr nnd Ihan hh stomach." Jait   

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