Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - September 2, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
First, let's get a new quarterback’
Monday, September 2, 1974
No agency is sacrosanct
IN HIS FIRST NEWS conference President F'ord maintained the high standard of performance he set in his earlier public appearances. 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 tho controls
It was a wide-ranging conference 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 w ill 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 subject 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 administration.
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 other 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 purpose 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 budget all right and the senate already has passed a bill cutting $5 million without, as many senators pointed out, weakening the defense one whit.
The President defended, and properly so, his position for limited 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 mo\ing to far left of center, that he is making decisions based on what he believes to be best for the country’s, not on what is best for conservatives, liberals or in-betweens.
If he continues to do that he can't go far w rong, no matter how much grumbling he gets from any or all of those political factions. We say, keep up the good work, Mr. President.
More nosy questions
ONCE AGAIN aiming to mine a mother-lode of information on each pupil, school administrators across the land are sending parents the standard time-worn* quest ion na ijfcs. Most of the information sought is obviously useful: health background, name of doctor, person (other than parent) to notify in case of emergency. But compilation of certain other data is an exercise in trivia.
In Eastern Iowa, Linn-Mar schools’ questionnaire frames a good example. In addition to ail 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? Remarried?
It seems unlikely that school administrators using such questionnaires 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 espoused 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 Cor! Riblet, p
A bride sinhs at her wedding and the bridegroom chokes Her father grins m* father Minks. Her mother che* and his mother tilts her m»se and sniffs Thus.the wedding was a success.
It is a un to go to a wedding and not get drunk "
I ut** Ot eon »»'*%* J* cote
Heavy light bills
To the Editor
I believe it is time for the record to bi* corrected in regard to your article on high light bills reported in The Gazette Aug 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 mg talking about our bills going up from $25 to $37 as your correspondent reported, Here are some examples of what really happened Our last four months bills went like this: $24 09, $26 57, $83 09 $59 63 Virgil Freeman’* across the street went like this $29. $32 $73 and after a new meter $47 Others in the neighboring even had bills of $83 and $95
Vie called the Light Company and were told it was just our air-condlimning We received no cooperation from the Light ( ornpany Also we were not told the Light Company slipped in a higher rate via the back door by arbitrarily changing the method of charging high users
Second in their talking about interest rates being the cause of rate increases, they financed their monstrosity long before this large inflation splurgi Also we question wages etc., when, at the
time they were selling us on the new atomic plant, we were told our bills would be cheaper.
Thirdly, IF: has spent millions of dollars telling everyone to buy more appliances and how much c heaper rates would be, even to the point of pushing gold-medallion homes We feel the people in ( edar Rapids should not pay for the apparent mistakes made by IE We did not ask for a $200 million holocaust that IF: wants us to pay off in a matter of a few years at our expense Then, too, look at the luxury suites at IF: 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. arn willing to do so, but I don’t feel IFTs problems art* inflation alone and I don't believe IF: has told us the whole story
I appreciate the way The Gazette has been for honesty and fairness but feel more should lie told about this than your article of July 1^
Mr and Mrs Hill L. Hale 15 Julia Ann drive MW
The Gazette s editorial page welcomes readers' opinions, subject to these guidelines:
Length limit 400 word*
On* letter per writer every 30 dayt
M may bv condensed and edited without chongmg mooning
None published anonymously.
Wntot i telephone number (not printed) should ♦abow nam* address and 'eaddtSe Handwritten signature to net? au*ten*cote
Consent! dees nose woe esue* and e»enn **ar per
Peripatetic pols like ethics-in-home idea
DiltriWvd br I *. t "« **»<♦•£»«•
By William V. Shannon
WASHINGTON - In his speech to congress and again in his Aug 28 news conference. President F’ord failed to provide leadership in behalf of the reforms needed to prevent a future Watergate scandal.
Leadership is urgently needed. In the 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 -III.) and Morris L’dall (D.-Anz ), to 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 official conduct
“If we can make effective and earlier
Energy discipline endures
Public sees ongoing crunch
By louis Harris
The Harris Survey
DESPITE some official estimates that there should be no gasoline or fuel oil shortage in the near future. Americans say they arc exercising continued restraint in the amount of energy they are now consuming
Recently, the Harris Survey asked a cross-section of 1.447 people nationwide:
A* o result of the energy shortage, this summer are you (read lift] or not?
Driving your cor no fatter than 55
mile* per Hour on the highway* 67
Cutting down on tHe use of light*
and electricity in your home 70
Uvng gasoline Ie** tHon yow
did before the energy shortage SB
Uvng your cor Ie** than to*)
summer for weekend and holiday trip*
Postponing or putting off any long trip* by cor you were planning to moke
Cuttmq down on the Ute of arr conditioning in your home 32
Cutting down on the use of air conditioning to your cor 28
(Percentage* do not odd up to IOO, because some did not own cor or air conditioning, or question does not apply )
Although there have not been mart} electric power shortages around the country this summer, seven in ten families testify that they arc taking measures toward conservation. A comparable 67 percent say they have been abiding by the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit on the nation's highways, and a majority has been self-consciously cutting down gas consumption. One third of all the families in the country report having postponed a long trip bv automobile over the summer months
A real test of energy* discipline over the summer months has been the amount of home air conditioner usage. In recent years, the widespread growth of power-hungry air conditioning has been blamed for electric “brownouts" during summer heat waves. And auto air conditioners ’ increase gasoline consumption.
Among HO percent of the homes in the country with air-conditioning, a majority (53 percent) of families report cutting back Among the 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 consumption 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 that they can live comfortably and well on less.
Despite collective efforts to ton serve, a solid one-in-every-four people hold the view that the energy shortage in the
country is still “very serious,’’ and another 41 percent feel it is at least
The cross-section was asked
How serious do you think the energy shortage is in fht* country — very serious, somewhat venous or not serious of oil?"
After the initial announcement by former President Richard Nixon la*>t November that the country was in an “energy crisis." half of the public judged the shortage to be serious After living with the situation for a few months, this proportion dropped to 14 percent by January. When the short-run shortage was declared over in March, no more than 22 percent any longer felt it was serious
Hut 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 there 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 evaluations of the situation The public also feels that it should do something about the shortage, and. as these results indicate, is prepared lo make sacrifices if national leaders call for it
CH'co*® Triune Sew York New* Syndicate
Lost labor love
Plebian pleasures pondered
By Russell Baker
EARLY IN lift:, most of us probably observe an unhappy relationship between labor and wealth — to wit, the heavier the labor, the less the wealth
The man doing heavy manual work makes less than the 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 h<»oks and new wivc>. do not labor at all.
The economic reasons for dividing the money this way art* clear enough One. it has always been done that way. and two. it’s too hard to change at this late date Hut the puzzling question is why. since the money is parceled out on this principle. young people are constantly being pummeled to take up a life of labor
In any sensible world the young would be told they could labor if they wanted to. bul warned that if they did so it would cost them
Not here In this country, labor is talked about as if it were something everybody ought to be dying for a chance to gel 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 forth until all the starch is taken out of any potential upstarts who might be tempted to ask the sensible question “How come lf labor its such a worth) way Ut spend your life. the pay isn t better’**
I used to scoff at this when I was innocent “I don’t want the reward of labor,’’ I would say. “I want wealth, yachts, old books, new wives ” And I would say, “Look at J Paul Getty; he toils not, neither does he spin, yet his is the 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 wist* beyond my years and understood wherein lay happiness
What' they would exclaim “Poor deluded lad! Behold the digger in his ditch Does he not partake richly of nobility and dignity? Is poor Getty recompensed for being denied all that by th** cold assuagement of lucre?"
To me. that cold assuagement seemed adequate compensation for missing out on blisters and I determined to sacrifice a life of work for the calvary of great wealth It was a dangerous decision, and quickly abandoned, for fierce politicians began going about the country suggesting that such behavior was unwholesome, cynical and possibly subversive.
In brief. I undertook the joys of labor. jollied sundry unions which sent regular mailings extolling my dignity and proclaiming dues increases, and tun ningly sneaked a sinuous route from bearer of hundred-pound flour sa* ks ‘thats labor’) to journalist (thats labor’) while enlarging my wealth in proportion to the decrease in my labors
The answer toe
> ‘r %#>
!be >** bt ■ las* for* xii I 4ti have a canoe
»u az quiring mil
dewed Book-of-the-Month club selections <*f the late 1930's at garage sales
The unions' desire to keep us persuaded of the -splendor of labor is understandable lf everybody decided to be rich instead of working, the unions would go out of business Union men work just as hard as the average middle-management executive and have canoes, tin), and it is only natural that they not want to give up the nobility of labor for the cold assuagement of lucre.
What is baffling is the government's attitude in all this The government cannot 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 to me that government could make a concession here Its present tax system is rigged so salaried income. which is the kind of income labor gets, is taxed at higher rates than rich income
It would be* a simple matter to switch the loopholes Rich income would be* taxed at the high rate salaried income now pays, and salaried workers would get the kind of loopholes the rich now have — which is to say, loopholes that make it certain that somebody else will have to do most of the tax paying
I don't expect the government to leap at this sensible suggestion I expect it to reply that the rewards of labor are so rich we should all Im* glad to pay double for them, arid anyhow, hasn’t government already given us Labor day?
N#» York Tim#* Service
use of the moral and ethical wisdom of the centuries in today's complex society, we will prevent more crime and corruption than all the policemen and prosecutors and governments can ever deter
“This is a job that must begin at home, not in Washington ”
Th<*se remarks were greeted with wild applause Many members of congress regard ethics as “expletive deleted.” They are eager to get back to regular drinking with lobbyists, taking their $5,IHM) checks from the oil industry or from AFL-CIO’a COPE, and running their affairs in the comfortable private way they always have before Richard Nixon messed up and caused the searchlights to Im* 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 Watergate scandal, we end up ascribing the blame for Watergate to Richard Nixon’s mother or Charles Colson’s grandmother Does not this ludicrous conclusion suggest that there is something faulty with the President’s theory?
F'ord’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 individual 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 customs establishes the context in which men and women make their ethical
With regard to racial segregation, the same half-truth was often heard Racial progress could only come from changing the hearts and minds of men. a slow undertaking 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 discriminatory 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.
Once the nation adopted the financing of political campaigns predominantly from public funds, the existing system in which politicians pay their campaign expenses by the brokering of votes and favors to private interest groups would soon seem as primitive and inherently wrong as segregation or child labor now does.
F’ord cannot take ail the responsibility for government ethics upon himself Asked twice about post-Watergate ethics at his news conference, the President stressed his openness, his opposition to wiretapping, his own decent standards
"The code of ethics ... will he the example I set." he declare
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 limiting access to income tax returns He could seek legislation requiring government agencies to make their meetings and their records open to the press and the public in the manner of Florida's “sunshine government’’ law Except for a few military secrets, no public document should Im* classified.
Ford could ask congress to enact a law requiring that members of independent regulatory commissions be as circumspect as federal judges in avoiding e* parte 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 the level of society’s ethical behavior.
Nm York Tim#* Service
I n si fill is
I look forward to a til when man shall progress up something worthier and high than his stomach ”