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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 10, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 4-THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD -Tuoday. 10, 1974 Revolution of falling expectations Politicians in this country and elsewhere have been excusing action on inflation by claiming that it is a world- wide illness defying treatment by local prescription. Undoubtedly world con- ditions affect the incidence of inflation in every state but there are suspicions that useful assaults on the problem could be made if courage to run against voter sen- timents could be mustered. The Times of London recently printed .an article by Christopher Derrick on "The moral problem of inflation" in which it was proposed that inflation is "an economist's word for over consump- tion." Both individuals and nations are living beyond their incomes, the result of "taking for granted a quite fanciful and unrealistic notion of the standard of liv- ing to which all are entitled." Since it is the "revolution of rising ex- pectations" that has produced, in large measure, the galloping inflation now threatening a disastrous economic collapse everywhere, the time has come to start a "revolution of falling expec- tations." Some politicians might private- ly agree with Christopher Derrick but they shy away from it because it is ob- viously not a formula for getting votes. The British, whose economy is in bad shape, are not likely to hear much about personal reduction of wants in the up- coming election. In Canada, where there is a strong ma- jority government, it might be possible for the politicians to give a lead in trying to turn the tide against the feeding of in- satiable materialistic appetities. Finance Minister John Turner has given some hints that the budget will be modified somewhat in that direction, but not too much can be expected when MPs are anxious for salary increases like almost everybody else. An editorial in The Financial Post recently quoted part of a letter sent by a federal information officer to the presi- dent of the Public Service Alliance of Canada as follows, "The union and management people involved in negotiating the federal government's In- formation Service contract should be ashamed of themselves, and you should be ashamed of yourself for perpetuating the myth that civil servants are under- paid and underprivileged. We are THE privileged class in the country today." If Canadians generally came to recognize how privileged they are in this world there would be more expressions of sen- timent of that sort and the leaders of the nation might then move to take the hard actions required. Extend the pardoning By Mike Rogers, Herald staff writer U.S. President Gerald Ford has granted Richard Nixon "a free, full and absolute par- don" for any criminal conduct during his presidency. Ford, at the same time, has postponed "indefinitely'' his decision on "conditional" amnesty for Vietnam-era deserters and draft resisters because he was involved in pardon negotiations for the former president. Nixon campaigned for the presidency on a platform of law and order, appealing for a "new morality" and and end of "per- missiveness." And, as New York Times columnist James Reston put it, Nixon "was brought down by the disorder, lawlessness, and moral squalor of his triumphant team." The three articles of impeachment passed by the Congressional judicial committee charging Nixon with "high crimes and misdemeanors" were: of justice in the Watergate and related scandals. of power of the presidency in deal- ing with governmental agencies. he (Nixon) committed contempt of Congress by his failure to produce sub- poenaed records and tapes. The Vietnam deserters and draft resisters only crime was to refuse to go to an un- declared war. Those sympathetic to Nixon have said he has suffered enough and therefore should not be prosecuted. Now that he doesn't have to stand trial he will be free to say he has done nothing wrong, a claim that would be sup- ported by some who believe he was hounded from office by the press and political adver- saries. But if Nixon and his family "have suffered enough" surely those who fled their homeland or were imprisoned because they felt the Vietnam war unjust have "suffered enough" and should be granted a full and "uncon- ditional" pardon. Nixon, in resigning before impeachment will receive quite a sizeable pension as former president, but those who fled their country can't even go home to visit their families without fear of imprisonment. President Ford has said he wishes to write the end" to Watergate. Why not write "the end" to the chapter of Vietnam war resisters? Because too many people would dislike such a pardon? Surely the pardon given Nixon hasn't been hailed "as an act of compassion and courage" by everyone. Nixon said he had the best interests of the country in mind when he committed his criminal acts. He claimed he thought he was "doing the right And he has been par- -doned. The draft resisters and deserters felt they were doing the right thing but they will have to work their way back into the graces of their benevolent government. Concerning Nixon and his suffering. Presi- dent Ford said, "My conscience tells me clearly and certainly that I cannot prolong the bad dreams that continue to reopen a chapter that is closed. My conscience tells me that only I, as president, have the con- stitutional power to firmly shut and seal this book." Now that statement of compassion should be applied to the draft resisters and deserters. ART BUCHWALD Warranties I have known Betty Furness in a recent speech revealed something that the average consumer has known for years. It is that the warranties that come with most American products aren't worth the computer cards they're printed on. There may have been a lot of changes in Washington, but one thing you can be sure of: The American consumer is getting a shafting by the great free enterprise system. Not long ago I went to McCarthy, Swaine and Klutzknowlton. the appliance store, to return an electric can opener I had bought my wife for Christinas. "Why do you wish to return the man asked. "Because it doesn't work." "Did you fill out the Great Warranty Card that came with 'Yes. 1 did. And what "The can opener still didn't work." I see Could you tel! me how soon you fill- ed out the Green Warranty Card after you got the electric can three days, a week. I'm not sure." But it specifically says that the Green Warranty Card must be filled out 24 hours after purchasing the appliance." YOS. hut since it was a Christmas present, wr open Uie package until Christmas moraine, and therefore we -didn't see the Green Warranty Card and have a chance to fill n oul for a few days as we were too busy trying to get the tiling to work "But if you didn't fill out and mail the Green Warranty Card within 24 hours of purchase, it's hardly our fault that the ran opener doesn't work, is I wouldn't say I said "I think I should get a new electric can opener We can't do that. The only one who has the authority to give you a new electric can opf-r'T our warranty department, which is located in Leavenworth, Kan. But since you didn't send in the Green Warranty Card within 24 hours of purchase, they probably have no record of your buying an electric can opener in the first place." "You have a record of it. Here's my sales slip." "Yes, that's true. We know you purchased an electric can opener, and you know you purchased an electric can opener, but Leavenworth. Kan., doesn't know." I said. "I should think you would be worried for the good name of McCarthy, Swaine and Klutzknowlton." "But we're not owned by McCarthy, Swaine and Klutzknowlton any more. We were bought out by Federated Pumps and Warehouses, which is a subsidiary of Drinkwater Fire and Theft, which is owned by Sable Hosiery and TV Antennas, which merged last month with Moon Orbiting Plat- forms. Inc." "That's great, but what about a new electric can opener? Just give me one, and I'll be on my way." "We can't You see. we've discontinued makinc electric can openers." "How could you discontinue them? I just bought this one for Christmans." 'That's why we discontinued them. A lot of people bought them, and they didn't work. I guess our mistake was putting the head of our tire division in charge of electric can openers "What do I do "I'll take your name and see if there is some way of getting Leavenworth to accept your Green Warranty Card even if it was sent in late "And wi3J that get me a can "Of course not. But it will put you on our mailing list for any new appliances we plan to put out this year." So little time By William V. Shannon, New York Times commentator Economic talks welcomed By W.A. Wilson, Montreal Star commentator OTTAWA To anyone who does not accept it as inevitable that the world should be over whelmed by its economic difficulties, the sense of urgency behind this autumn's round of conferences comes as a relief. Obviously, the answer to the unsolved problems that could bring us all face to face with ruin are not likely to be found at any one conference or ministerial tete-a-tete. It is as unrealistic to expect that as it is to conclude that disaster is the only possible outcome of today's uncertainties. If world trade can be main- tained at a fairly high level, if a reasonable flow of the huge new oil revenues that go to the producing states can be channelled back for a time into investment in the countries from which they came, there is no particular reason to believe that our economic structures are going to come tumbling down around our heads. But those are very con- siderable "ifs" and the uncer- tainties are compounded by the pressures on all govern- ment to do something to reduce the rate of inflation. The obvious temptation is to move towards deflation of domestic economies, which in the end would certainly curb inflation if it were carried far enough. It would do it, however, at very high socio- political costs and with the certainty of causing the major down turn in world trade that would make the balance of payments problems of the most sorely afflicted countries unmanageable. This is the sort of area in which it is useful to have ministers from all the advanc- ed countries talking more or less constantly to each other. It is from that sort of contact that a consensus mav start to emerge. There is certainly a strong consciousness in many countries that deflation is too dangerous a weapon to use these days but it is a long way from certain that any consen- sus has formed so far. Canadians should not forget that their government has a role to play in the formation of any common attitudes that may develop. This country operates the sixth largest economy in the world and while its population may still be very small that fact gives it standing in the world com- munity. It is easy for Canadians to be aware that we are grossly over dependent upon exports for our well-being. That is our Achilles heel. But we are also one of the great importing nations. If other countries' markets are vital to our economy, the Canadian market is not to be ignored by other nations, most of all the United States. We will be listened to when we have something to say. When the fear of deflation is under discussion in economic circles, it revolves around three powerful countries the United States. France and Germany. The countries most, vulnerable are obviously Bri- tain and Italy with Japan in a somewhat special category by itself, its inflation rate ex- treme and its long period of economic growth at least tem- porarily halted. Several of these countries have close enough, and important enough, economic ties with Canada that Canadian leaders will not be ignored. The others are friendly enough, if less close. That is the general background against which the minister of finance, John Turner, and his officials are working, hopeful that this country can exert some mid- dle power leadership in the economic field today as it did a quarter century ago in the international political area. Turner is not, of course, alone in this endeavor. There are a good many other men in im- portant positions around the world who are conscious of the effort that is needed to ward off a very bad slump and that the key to it lies in protecting both trade and trading arrangements. In this context, nothing could be more welcome than the prime minister's official visit to France and the con- sultations with the European Community that will follow in Brussels. The estrangement with France, starting with the late President de Gaulle's at- titude during his 1967 visit, lasted too long. It is doubtful if the entire fault for its duration is to be found in Paris. Canada's justifiable outrage at the time turned into a sul- kiness that did us no special credit and lasted too long. The prime minister's visit next month is important, not because it brings contacts back to normal. It is easy to forget what a good represen- tative of this country the prime minister has been dur- ing his previous foreign travels, because this becomes submerged under all the domestic problems and controversies that are closer to people. Trudeau's visit to Brussels for consultations with the European Commission is equally important, not because there has been any es- trangement there but because it is doubtful that as a country we pursued relations with the community as assiduously as we ought to have done. The times remain uncertain but the pattern of contact is improving. THE CASSEROLE Pity the poor supermarkets; they must feel real badly. They've been trying so hard to help people, sacrificing everything to keep prices down, but all to no avail. The inflexible laws of economics have taken things right out of their hands, and shoved prices up. And profits, too, it seems. In the first half of 1S74, gross sales went up by 27 per cent over the same period in 1973, while profits for the period rose by 40 per cent. only to find that they contained nothing but bad cheques and uncollectible promissory notes. Odd how so many things that "can't be done" seem to get done anyway. The Manitoba government has just mailed quarterly guaranteed minimum income cheques to elderly people. All single Manitobans over 65 are guaranteed an annual while married couples get a minimum of a year. Talk about conflicting advice! At the same time Uie French Beet Producer's Association advised French consumers to stockpile sugar because an expected shortage could drive prices up, a British government spokesman said that the sugar situation is being aggravated by people buying more than they need and hoarding it. In an odd example of poetic justice