The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 29, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 TNI LtTHIMDOl HIHALD Tundiy. JwMttry 89, 1174 Novel energy approach needs revising By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator Consideration for elderly The elderly in society are not only becoming more numerous, they are also becoming more aware of themselves, of their problems, needs and potential. Nothing illustrates this new awareness more clearly than one of the latest social pressure groups which calls itself "The Gray Panthers." The name tells it all. In their fight to eradicate discrimina- tion on the basis of age, the Gray Panthers, of Philadelphia, combine research, lobbying and demonstrations. Some of their methods are charming modifications of more common militant tactics. The Panthers are in company with numerous other organizations like Pen- sioners for Action Now, a Vancouver based group strong on political action and on exacting commitments from can- didates concerning pension increases, and the old, conservative American Association for Retired Persons to whom lobbying and letter writing were more natural than demonstrating. Whatever the name of the group and whatever the focus of their attention or method of operation, all have helped make society aware of conditions con- fronting the elderly. They have concern- ed themselves not only with the obvious matters of income, housing and health care, but also with the more subtle problems of growing old with self- respect in a world which reveres youth. Poverty is still the overriding concern. More than 60 per cent of those Canadians between 65 and 69 and more than 80 per cent of those over 70 have incomes under A study by the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation discovered that one-fifth of the residents in housing developments led lonely lives and were unaware of services available to them. A unique approach to the problems of aging, interesting even though it focused on superficial matters, was undertaken at a major university. The school spon- sored a course designed to show those who work with the elderly and the han- dicapped how to make their surroundings safer and more pleasant. The students were fitted with sunglasses treated to simulate aging changes in the human eye and they saw the world for the first time through the eyes of a 75-year-old. They discovered that the sun reflecting from pavements was intolerably bright, that street signs disappeared in a haze, that shadows on the walk looked like deep holes and that curbstones merged with the street. They learned that old people have poor depth perception and diminished ability to dis- tinguish between colors and that the con- fusion of an old person on a street corner does not denote a mental lapse but a physical inability to perceive. Suggested accommodations for the elderly in building and street design in- clude marking step edges with bright colors and changing color and texture of walls and floors at stair approaches. Non-reflective surfaces can be used wherever possible, on countertops and floors, and signs can use reds and yellows, which can be more readily dis- tinguished than the usual blues and greens. In view of the amount of building that is being undertaken in downtown Lethbridge, including a senior citizens' high rise, these points should be taken into consideration. They would require only minor modifications and would make life considerably easier for an ever-increasing number of senior citizens. OTTAWA The Prime Minister observed at the close of the federal-provincial energy conference: "We still have to write the poetry that goes with the plot." But the problem last week in my opinion had little to do with the poetry. (Mr. Trudeau's own speech was rich in felicitous it originated solely in the plot. The federal Government, hav- ing built a policy by adding ART BUCHWALD Doctor, I need help! WASHINGTON "Doctor, my name is Charles Dividend, and I am president of the Windfall Oil Co. of New Jersey." "Yes, I was expecting you. You told your regular doctor you wanted to see a psy- chiatrist. Would you can: to sit in a chair or lie down on the "I'll lie down on the couch." "What seems to be the problem Mr. "People are saying terrible things about me. Everywhere I go they call me names like profiteer and price gouger and Mr. Ripoff. I can't take it any more, Doctor." "When did this paranoia "It's not paranoia! I was up in front of a Senate committee last week and they treated me like a criminal. I'm president of one of the largest oil companies in the world. I ly gave to Nixon's campaign. I'm a great American and I think I should be treated with a little respect." "I see. Would you like a tissue? "No, thank you. Everyone is mad at me because I wouldn't sell any oil to the U.S. Navy during the Arab embargo. But what would you do, Doctor, if the king of Saudi Arabia said you couldn't give any oil to the United States. After all, he's a king." "You sound as if you're carrying around a certain amount of guilt, Mr. Dividend." "I have nothing to be guilty about, Doctor. I've done a damn good job. My company has provided cheap and abundant energy through aggressive competition. We have spawned tremendous economic growth in this country and have made America the greatest country in the Free World." "Then why do you need a "J can't remember anything." "Could you be a little more "Well, the other day I went up on The Hill one generous principle to another, proposed to pay for it by confiscating the new wealth of two western prov- inces. The approach was novel; in fact unprecedented. All through the post-war period Ottawa has been devising wealth-sharing schemes: equalization, state hospitalization and medicare, the great programs for regional economic development, to mention only a few. It has paid for them out of general revenues, which has meant a redistribution of resources from the rich provinces and individuals to those in greater need. Something must now be done to assist eastern con- sumers, dependent on im- ported fuels. According to the calculations of Donald Mac- donald, billions are needed. But the Government has ruled out the traditional method. The ever-growing federal super-Budget is un- touchable (or only to the ex- tent of millions agreed to at the last moment in order to salvage an interim agreement from a deadlocked On the strength of its highly selective indignation over and nation-building when they accrue to lumber, steel, to testify before a congressional committee. They asked me how much profit we had made during the energy crisis and I couldn't for the life of me come up with the figure. Then they asked me how much we had paid out to our stockholders and my mind went blank. They also wanted to know how much taxes we had contributed to the United States, and I just stared at them." "It seems to me, Mr. Dividend, that you appear to have a block about profits." "I never did in the past, Doctor. Before the energy crisis I could reel off every figure in our annual company report by heart. Now I can't even remember how much oil we're refining in a month." "Amnesia is not unusual in the oil business, Mr. Dividend." "That's easy for you to say Doctor. But how would you like it if 200 million people thought you were cashing in on a crisis, when, in fact, all you're trying to do is get a decent return on your "You feel that there are 200 million people in this country talking behind your "I know it, Doctor. When I walk down the street, people start chanting, 'Windfall, Wind- fall, hey, hey, hey, How much did you raise our gas "Perhaps they're jealous because you have a depletion allowance and they don't. Mr. Dividend, you can't be an oil baron and also expect to be loved." "I "Well, actually, it's too early to say. I think we have to have a few more sessions before we come to any definite conclusions. What about coming in on Tuesday at 3 "Thank you, Doctor, you've been a big help to me. How much do I owe "That will be for the hour." "Okay. Can you change Shell game seen in U.S. energy crisis By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator A populist itch to blame whatever goes wrong on some conspiracy by the unloved is one of the enduring aspects of American political life. Right now we are getting a dose of that disease in the Senate hearings on the role of the oil companies in the energy crisis. As a result a chance to make a truly new and constructive approach to the energy problem is apt to be missed. Instead the Congress seems to be heading toward legislation which will only deepen the trouble. I do not mean to cry tears for poor little Exxon. By all accounts the big companies are doing just fine, thank you. They are in fact using the energy crisis to make a fast buck. But that is hardly sur- prising. Nobody in Washington at least has ever imagined that the companies were in business for any other reason Letters except making profits. It is not exactly secret information that they rigged the tax laws through such devices as the depletion allowance to line their pockets. Nor that they were hand in glove with the Arab producers in raising prices to the disad- vantage of the domestic con- sumer. Nor that they favored drilling wherever there was oil, no matter what the en- vironmental consequences. So what's new? Well, what's new is that many Americans are mad about the high prices they have to pay for gasoline and fuel oil. They don't like driving at limited speeds or lining up to buy gasoline or do- ing without it on Sundays. Since the explanation for these inconveniences is not simple, the populist disposi- tion takes over. That's one thing that's new. Another thing that's new is that ambitious political figures are stepping forward to make the -most of the dis- content. Take, for example, Sen. Henry the Washington Democrat who is now leading the oil company hearings in his Senate perma- nent investigating subcom- mittee. Sen. Jackson is one of the best informed men in the Congress. He is particularly knowledgeable about energy, which he has been studying for years. So he knows very well what the oil companies have been doing. Only now Sen. Jackson is running for the presidency. He is particularly eager to iden- tify himself with the ordinary Joe, so suddenly he is full of righteous indignation about the companies. "I'm he said the other day when Exxon refused to release some information. "This to me is incredible this is more secret than the CIA." Genius carburetors unacceptable "BM think Mm dMlteliftt, tkc hwwr, the glory tkc year We've all heard it a thou- sand times. Somebody invented a carburetor and put in on a car in 1927 and it made 50 miles to the gallon, or 40 or whatever, but the oil companies bought the patent and have kept this miracle off the market It could be mentioned that these patents, if they ever were issued, have long since expired, and are therefore available to anyone at a modest fee. He may then quietly build this little gem and motor merrily on his way, saving money by the pailful. The modern automobile engine is a complicated and highly developed piece of machinery and it's carburetor is a marvel of advanced engineering From a slow and smooth idle at a stop light to well over a hundred miles per hour, and from the screeching, rubber burning acceleration so essential to- day to a sedate 50 of a Sunday afternoon, that little aluminum pot of mysteries feeds precisely amount of fuel required, and usually con- tinues to do so until some backyard inventive genius his in it. The spark ignition internal combustion engine operates on a well-established fuel-air ratio which has chanced very little in the past 75 years. Countless refinements have been nude in engines and in carburetors, and this is not the place for the technical dis- cussion needed to understand them, but a gasoline engine requires approximately one part by weight of fuel for each 14 parts of air it burns at cruising speed. About seven to one to start at 40 degrees below zero, and about nine to one for fast acceleration. Significant departures from these basic values simply give us engines which won't start, will not operate smoothly, will not accelerate or puii a load and are generally unaccep- table. Well-documented and Funds appreciated I would like to take this opportunity to let The Herald know bow much we appreciated its efforts towards raising funds for Bangladesh. We would like to convey through The Herald to all the contributors our sincere thanks not only for the material help rendered but also for their sente of participation in this drive for funds JAMIL MAJID Third Secretary Office of the High Commissioner The People's Republic of Btngtatah remembered endeavors to build high performance' engines to drive full-size cars even 30 miles per gallon have resulted mostly in burned valves and annoyed owners. This is not to say that a more economical engine can- not be built. The little four cylinder models do very well, as did the more modest cars with their less muscular engines 30 years ago. There are two or three new concepts of small engine design which have possibilities too, but nobody has yet figured a way to propel a two-ton missile at high rates of speed without burning a lot of gasoline. With power brakes and windows and trunk doors and six-way seats and slush-box tran- smissions for lazy drivers we are fortunate indeed in the mileage we get. Don't blame high fuel bills on carburetors, or on the petroleum industry. The oil companies have dealt fairly with us, and that's more than we can say for governments. Farm fuel sells today at just about four cents per gallon more than in 1953 taxes have spiralled to a where 000 must be ea r to pay for a farm tractor, .nd half the price of the tractor represents pure taxes. When official brilliance gets fuel up to a gallon we will certainly need better carburetors on diesels. L.K. WALKER Milk River. Then there is the leading Republican on the subcom- mittee, Charles Percy of Illinois, He wasn't'born yesterday either, and as a former corporate executive he is particularly knowledgeable about the tax laws. But. Sen. Percy is also runn- ing for the presidency. So when he elicited from the Gulf company the information that it paid only about two per cent of its income in American tax- es, he was struck dumb. "Do you think you can really justify that to the American he asked. Maybe the public drubbing of the oil companies will open the way for a whole new at- titude toward the role of government and private in- dustry in the energy field. Perhaps there will be a drive for mass transit. It could be that housing policy will be ad- justed to promote a return from the suburbs to the cities. Possibly the railroads will get a shot in the arm. But those aren't the out- comes that are now shaping up. On the contrary, in the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee sentiment is building for a new tax on oil company profits which will give the companies an incen- tive to develop new sources of energy. The basic idea is that the companies will be sub- jected to a windfall profits tax. The tax would be remitted insofar as the com- panies plow profits back into investments for additional energy. That's better than nothing but not much. If we keep throwing out incentives for more production without ad- justing consumption patterns, it is very clear what will happen. Rather than return their profits to the Treasury, the companies will knock themselves out in the same old search for more oil and gas and coal. We will only have played an energy shell game on ourselves. automobiles (under the free, trade for manufactures deal) and sundry other proposes instead to extract the money from a single, western re- source. This technique was known in the army as "Volun- teers, you and that is to say Alberta and Saskatchewan. Those who watched the con- ference on television will have noticed the occasional looks pf sheer incredulity on the faces of Premiers Lougheed and Blakeney. Who could have realized at the time of the western economic oppor- tunities conference that within a year they wotild have such opportunities as these thrust before them? Mr. Macdonald, with the en- thusiastic support of a number of Premiers, calmly proposed to redistribute billions; all of it appropriated from two provinces. He did agree, magnanimously, that they might keep 28 per cent of their own potential funds. But the gesture is scarcely overwhelming, given the fact that they are already, through controlled prices, subsidizing the Canadian domestic market. It is open to the federal Gov- ernment to disallow provin- cial legislation, if it is prepared to accept the conse- quences. There is no guarantee that these would be confined to the provinces on which the present Gov- ernment relies. Once back at Square, One, however, the federal planners have a number of options. First, assistance to the vulnerable provinces does not necessarily mean 'a one- Canada price or an approach to it. The federal Government might begin by asking itself how much it can do with what it may reasonably hope to get out of the existing Budget, which could stand a good deal of deflation, and perhaps ad- ditional taxation. In the days when Mr. Trudeau used to look askance at additional universal pro- grams, there was much talk pf concentrating on those in greatest need. The' poorest provinces are those on the eastern seaboard; much money could be saved -if assistance was confined to them. It seems odd that i a province so wealthy as On- indeed Queb.ec which can afford all billions for James not afford to "subsidize its'own consumers. If such a proposition is startling, or subversive of Confederation, is it more hor- rendous than a scheme requir- ing two provinces to subsidize the entire nation out of their own resources? Or again, would it be alto- gether reprehensible and un- Canadian (it might be un- precedented) for Ottawa to consider the question of priorities? It is one thing to ask taxpayers in Regina and Calgary to make some sacrifice in order that people in Ottawa and Rimouski may heat their homes. Why should they sacrifice (when no one in other provinces does) to sub- sidize gasoline, much of which is used for pleasure and convenience driving and some for transporting distinguished parliamentarians, civil ser- vants and secretaries from the Confederation Building to the Centre Block. There are other approaches. It might be possible for Mr. Macdonald to stir Messrs. Blakeney and Lougheed to new heights of patriotism by proceeding resolutely to con- fiscate the windfalls popular in other provinces. Outside Windsor and Oakville, it is quite possible to imagine Confederation without the automobile pact. It is objected, ot course, that energy is different. In some respects, that is true. But it is quite possible for a good carpenter to build a house without power tools. How far will he get without lumber? It is, after ail, a quite important commodity in our country but there was not so much as a murmur of con- cern last year in Ottawa when lumber prices went off into the stratosphere. The task of the next 60 days is to substitute the possible for the utterly impossible. This, indeed, will be progress; more substantial progress tht" that was achiev- ed ai the January meeting. The Lcthbruliic Herald 504 7th St S Lethbridfle, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mall Registration No 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DON H PILLING DONALD R DORAM Managing Editor General Manager ftOY F MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"