Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 26, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 LETHBRIDGE HERALD Wednesday, September 26, 1973 Will lowering taxes curb inflation By Oian Cohen, syndicated commentator Points against a sales tax Premier Peter used an old political ploy during his tour of Southern Alberta last week. He brought up the .possibility of a sales tax if the federal interferes with Alberta in developing its resources. That it was only a political tactic can be deduced from the fact that the follow- ing day Alberta Minister of Labor Bert Hohol said publicly, on the same tour, there is no need for a sales tax. In view of the present high cost of food and the genuine alarm over inflation, particularly among those on low or fixed it is unfortunate the premier telt the need to frighten people even further in order to gain support for his fight against the federal government. Most Albertans seem to be with him anyway, on generaly emotional grounds. If this lapse does indicate the premier looks on such a tax as the next source of revenue, three things should be noted about a sales tax. In the first place it is regressive, hitting hardest those who can least af- ford it. It may be a nuisance to mid- dle and upper income people but it has a major impact on low income groups which spend most or all of their income for necessities. And it is the same in a bad crop year as in a good one, which is of particular interest to an agricultural community. In the second place it is expensive to collect. It costs not only the government, which must set up a new department to administer the tax, but also the merchant who is the primary collector. Finally, experience has shown that no matter how modest the original amount of tax and how limited the coverage, the easiest way to obtain additional revenue when required is to increase the amount and scope of the sales tax. What begins as two per cent soon becomes a tax of five, six or seven per cent and exemp- tions which made it less burdensome on the poor are gradually eliminated. In testifying before a state committee on taxation, a Montana State University economist said, "There is absolutely nothing that can be done with a sales tax that cannot be better done with an in- come tax." MONTREAL The con- sumer price index rose again last month. The opposition demanded, and obtained, an emergency debate in Parliament about rising prices. Interest rates officially went up again for the umpteenth time this year. The host of a local TV show opened his program recently by ripping a dollar bill in half and saying "That's how much it's worth now." It has been several years since Canadians found the cost of living outstripping their wage increases. That's really what makes the present infla- tion so difficult to bear. If in- comes were going up faster than prices, as has more often been the case in the past twen- ty years, only those at the lowest end of the income scale would really be suffering from rising prices. The question now is whether the food-shortage fuelled in- flation will subside into more moderately rising prices, or whether it will simply change into another wage-price infla- AiP.Uw.i So far this year (and last year too) union settlements have not been part of the inflationary push. Even with the consumer price index ris- ing by more than nine per cent a year, Canadian workers have been settling for wage increases in seven to eight per cent range. There is no reason why they should continue to do so. They are at least entitled to maintain their standard of living. Labor leaders are well aware that labor's share of the gross income has HERB'S ONE ON Gerontologists needed The delegates to the national conven- tion of the Pensioner's and Senior Citizen's Federation meeting in Lethbridge this week are part of the 1.8 million Canadians now over 65 years of age. Approximately 400 Canadians celebrate their 65th birthday each day about 300 die from various causes, leaving a net growth of nearly 100 per day in the 65-plus bracket quite a figure since Canada as now reached the enviable position of zero population. By the year 2000 Canada's oldsters will number more than three million These well-informed Canadians are here to make themselves heard nationally, that is to ask the federal government for a better deal for their peers On top of their request for monthly pensions they are asking for an increase in pensioner's tax exemptions to for single persons and for married couples; more senior citizen's housing and a removal ot the sales tax on building materials plus the establish- ment of a department of aging to research their needs. They have asked that drugs be available at reduced rates, plus a 50 per cent reduction in travel fares. They have also asked that the government control spiralling costs. While these recommendations will be welcomed by the over-65 bracket what they need most is for more Canadian doc- tors to make a career of gerontology. While every doctor admits that the 1.8 million elderly have more health needs (often suffering in quiet desperation) than the 8.5 million Canadians under 19 Canada still boasts some 800 pediatricians and at most 25 geron- tologists. According to Dr. Gustave Gingras, past president of the Canadian Medical Association (who scores doctor's images of old people whom they see only in crisis "If doctors saw aged patients regularly most of the myths about widespread senility and constant demands would disappear." The world-renowned specialist in rehabilitation medicine recounts his own visits to Montreal's Maimonides Hospital and Home for the Aged where he saw faces brighten when he stopped for a bedside chat. Strongly opposed to making the elderly into "walking he believes taking time to talk to elderly people often avoids the need of giving them tranquilizers. "What we have to do today among the professions, at least." says this medical champion for the aged, "is to combat the deplorable aversion to the problem of advanced age that has always plagued the teaching and practice of medicine such as assigning retired doctors to look after "the old folks home." One sure way to upgrade care for the elderly is to pay more to doctors who specialize in this field, the same way that pediatricians earn more. But money alone isn't enough to attract doctors to the field of gerontology there has to be dedication Russia lulling west into slumber? By Bernard Gwertzman, New York Times commentator ERIC NICOL An unfair comparison "The average 30-year-old Canadian is as fit as the average 60-year-old Swede." Those of us who watch pro sport on TV as a source of cultural fulfilment have been belabored with this public service intrusion, courtesy of something called Participaction. Participation is a federal health scold trying to make trouble for the national flab. "Run, jog. cycle, swim do Nag, nag, nag If you aren't married the next best thing is cablevision It's getting so that a person can't enjoy a little quiet sloth Instead of concentrating on the football game, I find myself wondering: if the average 30-year-old Canadian is as fit as the average 60-year-old Swede, how fit is an average 53-year-old Canadian? In the same shape as a 90-year-old Chinese who has been dead three days. And to hell with him. Someone should tell our health nuts in Ot- tawa that comparisons are odious. Theirs is the kind of campaign that makes Canada look like the land of the eternal schmuck The average 30-year-old Canadian has as much sex appeal as the average 70-year-old Italian. The average 40-year-old Canadian makes as much money as the average 8-year-old American The average 50-year-old Canadian has as much personality as the average 20-year-old gravel pit. The average 60-year-old Canadian drinks like a 2-year-old fish And so so What does this kind of informa- tion do for Canada's national inferiority com- plex'' (The average 30-year-old Canadian feels as inferior as the average 120-year-old Pygmy pole Who is the 60-year-old Swede, anyway, and what does he do that enables him physically to outclass the Canadian half his age? If Swedish movies are any indication, the old rip hasn't had much time for jogging, biking, or engaging in any of the other activities that Participaction is hounding us into Perhaps the federal fitness freaks should clarify what they mean by "Do This is no time to be vague, with Canadians going into a physical decline from the age of six If our kids will benefit in wind and limb trom watching Ingmar Bergman films, instead of playing floor hockey, let 'em roll. Personally, I have my doubts about this average 60-year-old Swede. Maybe he can run laster than our average 30-year-old, but what is he chasing? He lives in a country that is very concerned about its high suicide rate. What's so great about being able to jump 40 feet if it's straight down? If the average 60-year-old Swede is such a paragon of conditioning, how come he has not been signed to an NHL expansion team? Does, in fact, this Swede actually exist? What is his name? How did he get to be average? (Was he the winner of the Mr. Average 60-Year-Old Swede Pageant, crown- ed amid a bevy of other 60-year-olds who fail- ed to impress the judges as being altogether In raising these questions I cast no asper- sion on the purpose of Participaction, which is to encourage Canadians to get more exer- cise. What I question is the wisdom of prescribing jogging, biking, hiking and so forth not as pleasure in themselves but as a prerequisite to beating up on an aging Scan- dinavian. Strength through joy. That's what we need, eh, Joy? And while you're up, bring us a cider. WASHINGTON The Nix- on administration has been stung by the growing number of voices in the United States and within Soviet dissident circles that have directly or indirectly criticized its effort to move from confrontation to co-operation with the Soviet Union. What particularly concerns Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and other ranking officials is not the expected right-wing alarm at the talk of detente, or even the warnings from the Pentagon that despite the improved Soviet- American atmosphere the Russians are going ahead rapidly with a major missile program that could threaten American security. They are concerned and deeply surprised at the increasing signs that a coali- tion of liberal intellectuals, influential members of Congress, key newspapers, and major scientific bodies which traditionally have welcomed a relaxation of ten- sions, have begun to raise questions about the value of such a development. Echoing the comments of Andrei D. Sakharov, the physicist-dissident, these Americans have attacked the ideological controls in the Soviet Union, the problems faced by Jews and others try- ing to travel freely, and the crude polemics against anyone raising his voice against the regime. They have warned that detente without an accompanying democratization in Russia could turn out to be illusory, giving the Kremlin time to modernize its economy, perfect his weaponry, and to lull the west into a detente- induced slumber. ohilosophical debate of major consequences for Soviet-American relations has evolved from these dis- cussions. Should the United States and other Western countries press the Soviet Union on a day-to-day basis to ease the situation of its citizens? Or should the West trust to the long-run and avoid any semblance of interference in Soviet internal affairs? The debate has been com- plicated so far by disputed facts. For instance, critics of the Soviet regime have argued that repression has recently increased, as a sort of bargain worked out by Leonid I. Brezhnev, the Communist party leader, with his polit- buro colleagues, Yuri A. Andropov, the K.G.B. head and defence minister Andrei A. Grechko. According to the critics, Brezhnev seems to have won the right to pursue better ties with the West, and the others have been per- Letter to the Editor Grossly misunderstood out of the Unpleasant subject By Doug Walker Mario llow.inl Wvlie. the organizer of the John Society home lours, assigned Klspoth and mo to greet visitors at the (Jonrlav residence this year I was gelling along quite well answering questions and making uilh the pleasantries Melon came along Is tlioio ,i lonoo at this place'1" she m- nl I didn't know, not having much interest in lonoes hut assured her it would be okay for hoi to do a chock She reported later'that there wasn a lonoo Mi.mgo that such ,i pleasant person as H-'lon uuiild raise such an unpleasant sub- loci1 After reading The Herald report on my questioning of the premier I feel I have been grossly misunderstood and must clarify my statement First of all, my major concern was whether the premier would allow develop- ment on the eastern slope of the Rockies, though because of the wording of my question it seemed my chief worry was that capitalistic companies which would do it. Though the premier talked about partially government owned cor- porations he still didn't say if he was going to allow develop- ment on the eastern slope of the Rockies. Secondly, my comment on communism was meant in sarcasm (a point I attempted to stress) based on a state- ment made a few months ago by the premier about not allowing the socialism in the other western provinces to spread to our province, a statement that sounded like it came right McCarthy era. The mistakes made in the news story twisted the mean- ing of my statements so I had to correct them. The remainder of my statements were reported correctly. PETER DRIEDGER, LCI Student. crazy U ell, conio .were vou n Colin whai to say? mitted to crack down on dis- sent inside the Soviet Union. The administration's analysts agree that there has been some stiffening of Soviet ideological stance at home, but they find the overall situa- tion much more ambigious than discerned by most critics. These analysts have noted the denunciations of Sakharov and Aleksandr I. Solzehenit- syn, the novelist, but also the ending of Soviet jamming of the Voice of America and the BB.C. They have reported the problems faced by Jews and others seeking to emigrate, but they assert that the rate of Jewish emigration to Israel has been maintained at a year a major concession to world opinion by the Soviet leaders, who let 000 leave the country only three years ago Similarly, the Soviet authorities seem to show little hesitation in entering into wide-ranging business deals with American and other western companies, thereby insuring that in addition to economic benefits, western influence-is inevitably going to be felt. Kissinger believes that the situation is a delicate one, not only for Soviet-American relations but for Mr. Brezhnev and his colleagues, who have pinned their foreign policy to reduced tensions He has argued forcefully that if Congress links normalization of trade with the unrestrained emigration of Soviet Jews, this could lead to severe problems for the Kremlin and perhaps worsened conditions for the Jews. This view is disputable, and it probably can be maintained as Senator Henry M. Jackson and others have done that the Soviet leadership is so desperate for western technology that it will make the necessary concessions. The test on the trade issue will probably occur this week in the House ways and means committee. The administra- tion is hoping for a com- promise that avoids a confrpir- tation with the Russians on the emigration question. The outlook for the im- mediate future remains un- clear. A new round of strategic arms limitation tajfcs begins next Monday in Geneva, where the European security conference has just reconvened. Kissinger will be meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko this week in New York, about the same time that the ways and means committee will be reaching a conclusion on trade with the Russians. Meanwhile, despite the im- portant discussions going on at the official level, American businesses continue to make their own deals with Soviet agencies. The consensus in Washington is for continued movement toward relaxations of tensions, with an awareness that the situation could change at any time declined in the last six months. This happens regularly. During a business recovery business profits grow rapidly and reach a peak when the economy slows down. So profits' share of the gross national product goes up, and labor's share goes down. We are now at the point where labor traditionally makes a big push to catch up by demanding higher wages. There are nearly a hundred major contracts covering hundreds of thousands of workers coming up for negotiation in the next several months. Expectations for con- tinual rising consumer prices are high. The unemployment rate for men over 25 the group which is considered to be the most highly skilled and the most stable is low. These facts suggest that labor is in a strong position to bargain for hefty wage increases. On the other hand, cost of living escalators have been built into a number of wage contracts already. Workers who are covered by such contracts, like the United Auto Workers, are not losing out to inflation. Consequently, they don't have to ask for anything more than a normal raise. In addition, the government has cut taxes, both corporate and personal. Ironically, the tax cuts were introduced to stimulate the economy. Instead they may be the most powerful anti-inflation weapon the Liberals have mounted. The corporate tax cuts put Canadian manufacturers in a good position, because businesses will be paying lower taxes this year on much higher profits. Under these circumstances, there will be little justification for raising prices. Personal tax cuts, although minimal, will nevertheless give every taxpayer at least an extra to spend. Some taxpayers will have as much as extra. It is difficult to say how far either of these measures will go in slowing the inflation rate. Certainly it will be im- portant to monitor prices of manufactured goods to see whether business is putting the extra cash from their tax cuts into profits or lower prices. It is also worth considering whether additional tax cuts are the proper prescription for inflation. Transportation rates are on the rise. So are home ownership costs as mortgage rates continue to go up- Lower sales taxes mean lower prices on a wide range of items. Lower income taxes mean more disposible income. Either could go a long way in keeping the next round of wage increases from spirall- ing the present inflation. 1973 b, NEA, "Have a nice day, dear, and try not to get too emotionally involved with Sam The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St S. Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Publishers Published 1905-1954, by Hon WA BUCHANAN Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 Member of The Canadian Press and the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers' Association and the Audit Bureau of Circulations CLEOW MOWERS Editor and Publisher THOMAS H ADAMS General Manager DON PILLING WILLIAM HAY Associate Editor ROY MILES DOUGLAS K WALKER Advertising Manager Editorial Page Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"