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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 13, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Tuesday, February 13, 1973 - THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD - 5 Cut in government spending needed By Bruce Whitestone, Canadian syndicated commentator When the House of Commons meets, the opening debates are inevitably stylized and ritualistic. Though the ceremonies may be dull, the decisions taken by the House will be important to the major parties and to the economy. It can, in fact, be argued that this session is even more important to the future than is usually the case, regard'ei-s of the duration of the Trudeau government. The decisions taken will say something about what the next decade will be like. However, what is vital is that both major parties must clearly think out their objectives, their goals beyond power as such. In the economic sphere, the key question must be the rapid growth in the role of government and, therefore, of government spending. The talk about principles has been muted in recent years as both major parties have sought an image of hard-nosed pragmatism. For one thing, the Liberal party continued to say that it sought a dialogue with the electorate, that it was anxious to learn what the public wanted. For another, the Progressive Conservative party talked very little about "conservative principles" but concentrated on the defects in t h e Trudeau administraton. It now appears that the Canadian electorate would be highly congenial to some return to old-fashioned Conservative principles and further, that these beliefs coincide with the current requirements of the Canadian economy. It is well to recall those beliefs. First, that a halt to the rapid growth in government is desirable in itself and second, the growth rate of government spending is a baric determinant of the rate of inflaton. The key problem facing the economy is the headlong growth rate of government spending particularly since 1963; the government share of . the GNP climbed from 31 per cent in 1961 to 37 per cent last year. It is obvious that spending restraint will be a difficult job, requiring changes in the outlook of the government and the ability of the opposition to supervise more carefully the effectiveness of the various programs. What is required is the ability to review total spending and to see if the appropriations voted are spent in accordance with the mandates of the House of Commons. The real test of the government's ability to coutro1 Pleading lies in the responsiveness of government to the rising clamor for less government. To some, the notion that the role of government can be reduced is nonsense. The idea that it must continue to grow faster than the economy as a whole has many influential and articulate advocates, so many that the counter arguments receive scant attention. Yet there is clearly a st>lit between the perceptions of the counsel of those recommending more government spending and those of the typical citizen. To many, the unmet needs of society require an increase in the share of income channelled through government. Yet, in the view of the typical citizen, government is already spending too muc'i. witbo:'', vWv improving the standard of living. Our major parties must decide whether to give in to the liberal view or to pay attention to what ft? average citizen is probably thinking. Those who have argued that tax increases are anti-inflationary could be correct if the in-e.scsed revenues w- 'o u 2"', for example, to pay off the federal debt. Too often, however, what is intended is something else: a vision of a society in which the government plays a bigger role. In fact, the basic lesson fo current economics and policies is that higher taxes pave the way for higher government spending rather than the other way around. The notion that the economy reouires higher taxes to control inflaton is questionable at this juncture. Increasing tax rates tend to boost spending and hence to increase the inflation rate in the long run. Government spending cotrib-utes as much as any single factor to our current inflationary spiral. For example, the cost of government per unit of work, the; ':s tha cc-; c me specific task, has been rising s: the annual rate of 7 o?r c:,;i; With government contributing more than 37 per cent of the GNP hi Canada, it can be seen that the .government by i.sslf is responsible each year for a significant part- of r-� r;se in the Consumer Price Index. Too, in Canada Lie government does not buy much "hardware." Our defence budget is not a large component of government spending, so federal outlays are mainly for labor and services. Thus government exerts a disproportionate push on the wage sector so that wages rise in the government SINGER gives you the choice! Fashion Mate with Cabinet! 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Accordina to t^e prices and incomes commission, the professional categories in the federal civil service have been receiving compound pay increases of 22 per cent per year. In the 1969-1971 period, the average pay increase for the entire federal civil service has been 13.2 per cent per year. As a result, the productive sector of llr; economy has b~d to meet rising wage demands resulting directly from government spending. Further, ,.o r-:et in part the rising costs of government spending, taxes have to be increased. Taxes per unit of GNP, which showed an annual compound increase of 7.3 per cent from 1965 to 1970, were rising at a accelerated pace at the end of the decade, (9.8 per cent in 1969). Canada's problem of persistent inflation seems to be the result in large measure of excessive government spending. There is every reason to suppose th*t a ci't-b^-k ii tu>\ government share of the GNP and a curtailment of government outlays wi'l remove much excessive pressure on costs. Federal government spending in an inflationary c^mste sr-i as exists today tends to rein-fo-ce inflationary trends. T h a effects of "tax-push" to pay for some of this rise leads to a vicious circle of further revenues which are then pushed into the economy; price r'ses then develop an accelerated momentum. It is apparent that the government itself must examine its own house to see if it is at the root of some of the inflation with which it is struggling to deal. The central issue facing both parties, therefore, is their basic willingness to check the headlong growth of government spending. They will advocate spending restraint if they listen to the average citizen who is unhaopy with ffovernmet spending programs that do not work. Needless to say, the empire builders in the civil service will have a different point of view. This is not a situation that is fore-ordained to persist, particularly if some of the results of the "-ecent election are read correctly. Books in brief "The great Running Backs," by.George Sullivan. (Logman Canada Ltd., 253 pages, $9.25). There are certainly no deep dark secrets revealed in these thumbnail sketches of the great and not so great running backs in American football. It is ironic that this book should appear this year, a year when nine men cracked the 1,000 yard barrier, and even a quarterback logged over 900 yards. One would surmise that if this is to continue the 1,000 yard barrier will soon have as little significance �s the 20-goal mark in the diluted National Hockey League. The book is skimpy in its coverage of the game's top backs, but the juvenile football fan should like it, despite this. The adult fan would be advised to stick with books by Jerry Kramer and Bernie Parrish. G. A. "The Occult Explosion" by Nat Freedland (Longman Canada Ltd., $8.75, 254 pages). The occult movement seems to have risen to the surface as a force to be reckoned with in recent years. What has caused this rise? What is it all about? The author is well qualified to speak on the occult phenomenon, having himself experienced what he believes are psychic happenings. While most people will discount occultism out - of - hand, Freedland cites several examples of events which he says can only be explained as having to do with supernatural forces. Freedland almost seems to challenge the reader to look further into the occult because events he cites and conclusions he draws cannot easily be discounted as satanist gibberish. After reading this book, one would have to admit that maybe, just maybe, there is something to the occult. Freedland's writing is skillful, entertaining and most of all, tli ought-provoking. Believers will welcome it, doubters will be bothered by it. R. C. Scotland's Children of God By Eva Brewster, free-lance writer COUTTS - We met Mr. and Mrs. Duff shortly after we took over our fami'v's farm in Scotland's northern highlands. The Duffs then owned a grocery store in the nearby fishing village of Portmahomack in Ross-shire. Andrew, their older son, went to school with my daughter and Heather, their younger daughter, shared classes with my boy. The four of them were friends. The Duffs, to all outward appearances, were a close family and their children seemed happy and well adjusted. Their one complaint was lack of free time. Throughout weekends and holidays, the Duff children had to work hard for every penny of their allowance helping in their busy store which, unusual in that Scottish rural area, was open even on Sundays. About the same time we left Scotland for Canada, the Duffs moved to Inverness where they took over a supermarket. They were now prosperous, a typiral midd'e-fHss Scottish family whose children lacked for nothing by the standards of our society. Andrew a serious, intelligent boy, was a good student; Heather, pretty and vivacious, always had plenty of boyfriends, clothes and money and, apparently, a happy homelife. At this stage we lost touch and even communal friends in Scotland could not tell' us what had happened to these children. From my daughter, who went back to Scotland last September and tried to trace her old school friends and from a newspaper report, I pieced together the influence a young Canadian and a controversial American sect had exercised on the lives of Heather and Andrew. Shortly after we left, Heather, by her own admission, had started to take drugs and drink. It was her brother Andrew, now 21 years old and married, who introduced her to some of the "Children of God" in Inverness and, after that, she continued to meet with them every other night. Three months ago she gave up her job and joined the hippy style commune. She does not seem to regret this step and says she does not miss her old life at all. While other girls her age have a high old time trying on all the latest gear in Edinburgh's beautiful stores and while most kids are out dancing in noisy discotheques or screaming at pop stars, our once so lively little Heather sits quietly in the "family's" large, draughty home studying the Bible or talks to strangers on busy Princes Street in an effort to save souls. The reason none of her friends could trace her was probably because Heather, like all other "Children of God" had changed her name after joining them. She is now known as "Zeresh", a Biblical name from the book of Esther. She is the newest member of this "family" led by the young Canadian, Ascher. There are thirteen of them in this group, two married couples, three girls ana five boys, and their leader's little son. Soon, according to the newspaper report, there will be 14. A married couple is expecting their first baby next month. Heather tells everybody that "some people have the idea terrible things are going on in here but. th;,t is just, nr.''; true. 1 e?a assure you that all unmarried people sleep separately." Andrew, her brother, takes a dimmer view of the "Children's" activities. He and his wife Michele had already chosen BibH-cal names and were on the verge of quitting their jobs to join the sect when they discovered, what seemed to them, evidence of immorality. They felt the customary kissing, embraces and prolonged caressing amongst all members might affect their marriage. "The most dangerous thing about the movement." says Andrew, "is the fact, that members must blindly obey their leader. People have been thrown out of the sect because they questioned the teachings of Moses Berg, alias Ascher, self-proclaimed Canadian prophet who pi one is entitled to fill in the gaps in the Bible." Outsiders enquiring why people had been thrown out of the sect, are told: "because they didn't love Jesus." Andrew says there was also evidence of deceit when members stayed at his apartment in County Durham for six weeks. "Plates and cups got broken, a small thing, I know, but nobody owned up to having done it." "We were told we would have to give up everything we owned except articles that mistht be useful, like a tarce recorder or radio. We were actually told to give up our own opinions. I believe this is the kind of thing they conceal till you join." Still, Andrew is "keeping the channels open" for the sake of his young sister, Heather. How do their parents feel about Heather joining a sect accused all over the world of breaking up homes, encouraging immorality and taking ovs"- all possessions of their young members? That, again, is another story. Report to readers -by Doug Walker Book reviews How I became the book review editor of The Herald is as much a mystery as how I found myself to be the editorial page and opposite editorial page editor. I don't know whether I was formally appointed to these positions or simply usurped them. In the case of the book reviewing department I fear it was the old story of the camel getting his nose in the tent and then gradually taking over. Soon after I arrived at The Herald in mid-1968 I observed that Peggy Hornsby (who was then editing the pages I later took over) occasionally put a wire copy book review in her pages. I asked for, and got, permission to review the books I was reading at the time. Soon I was having one or two reviews running every Saturday on page five. Then I made a wonderful discovery. Jane Huckvale, who was the book review editor but had been absent from the job during the summer, revealed that I wouldn't have to continue buying books because publishers sent them free to reviewers. I began to choose my books from among those that came to Jane. Being an avid bookworm I thought I had reached at least an outer courtyard of heaven. Some newspapers publish book reviews in their entertainment section but my view is that the editorial pages are a proper place for reviews. This is at least one point of view I share with The Wall Street Jour-rrai. Even reviews of novels can be justified inasmuch as many of them provide important commentary on contemporary life and the issues of the time. After I became book review editor - whenever that was - I began to consider getting others to share in the reviewing. Since this part of my responsibilities is really incidental (I still do all the reading, and the writing of reviews, at home in the evenings and on the weekends) I didn't feel I could take the lime to ferret out ideal reviewers, deliver books to them, and then chase 'them for the reviews. The logical move seemed to be to invite the writers on The Herald staff to share in the reviewing. My predecessor warned me that experience had shown her that lots of peoole are interested in acquiring free books but few follow through with reviews. It is true, I have found, that a dismaying num- ber of books do not get reviewed under my system of sharing them. The major problem seems to lie with the extreme mobility of newspaper people. In the last couple of years a dozen or more poeple have left The Herald talking scores of unreviewed books with them. Almost all of these people expressed an intention to send back the reviews, but I have yet to receive one - my goading presence is required, I guess. The same thing may apply to a number of people in the community who have offered to do reviews but haven't followed through. In spite of the disappointments, there have been some good results from taking the risks. The number of books reviewed has climbed steadily from 126 in 1969 to 402 in 1972. Also the number of reviewers has increased, and almost doubled from 24 in 1971 to 44 in 1972. During the past year, 25 Herald staff members and 19 outsiders shared in the reviewing. The top producers in 1972 were: me (115); Margaret Luckhurst (44); Garry Allison (44); Gerta Patson (25); Elspeth Walker (25); Jane Huckvale (25); and Ron Caldwell (20). It is interesting to know that Garry Allison is a printer and Gerta Patson is a proofreader. My wife, Elspeth, reviewed as many books as the other 1'3 outsiders put together; I reviewed 35 more than the other 19 staff members not named. At present I follow a practice of circulating the publishers' book lists, sent out in the spring and fall, to all who may be interested in reviewing. (It should be mentioned that reviewers do not get paid; they only get the books.) We initial the titles we think we would like to read and review. A list is then sent to the publishers with a note saying we would be interested in receiving some or all of them. Those that arrive, then, are usually earmarked, but a few books come that have not been requested and these are the ones that are used to test new reviewers. None of us pretend to be professionals at the job; we are all book lovers and generally interested in the subjects wifih which the books deal. We attempt to let other readers know what the books are about and sometimes indicate what we think of th?m, favorably or unfavorably. Not knowing if there ace many readers of the reviews we nonetheless persist, in the conviction that books are important and reviews might encourage more reading of them. t ;