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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 25, 1993, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4Opinion HwM-Zettung Thursday, February 25,1993 Quote of the Day “If people behaved in the way nations do they would all be put in straitjackets.” — Tennessee Williams (1911-1983). Editorials_ Priorities Cuts in defense spending may need to be rethought Speaking to the New Braunfels Rotary Club Wednesday, a highly placed civilian consultant to the Air Force raised some worthwhile questions about the wisdom of some of our nation’s priorities. Few among us would dispute the necessity of finding ways to reduce federal spending. And a ready target for those cuts is defense spending. There are several reasons for that. Most of us perceive the world to be a much less threatening place today than it was in the very recent past. That may or may not be an accurate perception, but it is the current perception. And wildly irrational spending by the military — we’ve all heard stories of hundreds of dollars being paid for a hammer or thousands for a toilet seat — has set the stage for us all to wonder if “they” really need all that money anyway. If we stop and think, we're all smart enough to realize that those were isolated instances, probably blown out of prpportion by “the media.” So we feel pretty .comfortable with endorsing cuts in military spending. We might do well, though, to think through that a little more thoroughly. Dennis Richburg, advisor to the commander of the Air Force Intelligence Command, noted before the local civic club Wednesday that although Russia's demeanor is far less threatening than it once was, our country has recently faced significant threats on a variety of other fronts. Richburg noted that this nation — that’s you and me — is spending an annual $222 billion on gambling and that figure is rising. At the same time, by the end of this decade our defense budget will be down 30-40 percent from its 1990 level. In the near future, we will be spending more money to gamble than we do to ensure our defense! That’s worth thinking about, isn’t it? Today’s editorial was written by David Sullens, editor and publisher of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Herald-Zeitung Published on Sunday mornings and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, 707 banda St., or PO. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328. Second class postage paid by New Braurfels Herald-Zeitung at New Braudels, Texas. (USPS 377-880) DAVID SULLENS Editor and Publisher GREG DEE DEE KAREN MEFFORD CROCKETT REININGER Managing Marketing Classified Editor Director Manager CHERYL CAROLANN DOUGLAS DUVALL AVERY BRANDT Genera/ Circulation Pressroom Manager Manager Foreman Csam delivered in Comal md Guadalupe counties: three months, $16; six months, $29; one year, $49. Senior Citizens Discount (carrier delivery only): six months. $25; one year, $45. Mail delivery outside Comal County, in Texas: three months, $26.55; six months, $47.20, one year, $8850. Mail outside Texas: six months, $61.95; one year, $103.25. lf you have not received your newspaper by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or by 7:3Q am Sunday, call 625-9144 or 658-1900 by 7 pm and ll am, respectively. Postmaster: Send address changes to the Herald-Zeitung. P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Improvements in the works at center Here it the Comal County Senior Citizens Center, we are constantly striving to improve all facilities. In December, I wrote about the innovative Improvements planned for our pool area. Well, those changes have been implemented. The installation of a new system, the Ozone system, seems to please everyone since it eliminates the use of most of the chemicals to which many are allergic. The two new heaters fbr the pool and hot tub have made Tom Watson ecstatic. He says the water is circulating three times as much, the pressure is doubled, the temperature holds where it’s supposed to and chemical use is down 75 percent Sunside Pool and Spa, Inc. won low bid for the contract on the pool work and, in addition, donated much of the equipment and labor. Boy, are we grateful to them. Everyone is happy. Speaking of Tom Watson, I wonder if anyone knows how many hours Tom puts in at the center—and they are all volunteer hours. All Tom ever wanted to be was the electrician for the center, but Tom does a little bit of everything and is always willing to do more. Also, our masseur, Harold Hoods, pitches in all the time on many projects. Tom and Harold both come to Gladys’ rescue often when she needs someone to open and close the center. They are just two more of our indispensable people. Through the generous donation by Don and Marie Dawson Valerie Meyer, we will be able to overhaul and upgrade our hot tub into a spa. Thanks go to the Meyers for their generosity and continuing support of the center. Another tremedous project in the works is our kitchen area. We are in the process of major renovation to make it a full-service kitchen. * Of course, we must adhere to the rules and regulations put out by the city and the fire department, so it’s always a big undertaking, but we know with people like Niel Dim-ick, Bill Johnson, Bob Dingeldein, Don Meyer and Gladys Bartling working on it, it will get done and it will be done right Along these lines, we are extremely grateful to Rita Radosevich and Martha Lehning for their generous donation, which made it possible to pay fbr the new dish machine. It is a state of the art commercial dish machine. And the foundation now has 190 place settings of dishes, and we wish to thank all the contributors who made this possible. Do you realize the Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation is one few senior citizens’ centers in Texas that is monetarily independent? We are independent of governmental assistance and intervention, and we want to remain that way. As Bob Dingeldein puts it: “We have been' blessed with a committed community since' Day One, and what we hope to show you is how we can, as individuals, make gifts, grants and bequests to the foundation, which will insure the continued support of the mission of the foundation.” At a recent board meeting, the Long-Range Committee fbr the center outlined a number of suggestions for our Alture. We must have the ways and means to keep going in the Alture. That’s what the committee, headed by Dan Sedgwick, is up to. But ifs up to the membership to instill pride, caring and concern in the new members so they can be inspired to cany on the good work that has gone before. • •• I would like to make a plea fbr donations to the Thrift Shop. We need clothes, furniture, toys, tools and anything you need to get rid of. Please support our mainstay. And remember, bingo is open to the public, the membership and Winter Texans. The night is non-smoking and lots of Am. Come and see Tuesdays. The snack bar opens at 5:30 p.m. and games begin at 7 p.m. Marie Dawson ie a correspondent fbr the Comal County Senior Citizens Foundation. Clinton arrives at a low-tech White House WASHINGTON — After receiving the cook’s tour of the White House, President Clinton voiced a complaint to top staffers: The 175-year-old mansion is mired in the stone age when it comes to technology. Clinton can’t fathom how primitive some of the communications and computer systems are compared to state-of-the-art equipment How can that be when the federal government spends over S20 billion annually on new technology — not to mention tens of billions more keeping the current systems up and running? In fact, nearly every agency in the federal government is muttering an “amen” to Clinton’s laments because, in most cases, they lack the critical information required to manage and control the behemoth bureaucracy. Compared to the private sector, the federal governments systems are lagging seriously behind. “Information problems vex most federal programs,” investigators from the General Accounting Office recently concluded. “Program managers struggle to wrest the information they need from the mountain of data they collect — much of it still in paper form., Critical pieces of data are missing, unreliable ... liie data may be scattered among many separate information systems.” Take health care — the centerpiece issue of the Clinton campaign. National healthcare expenditures reached $666 billion in 1990, claiming more than 12 percent of the gross national product. Over 42 percent of this total Jack Anderson is publicly funded. With 36 million Americans uninsured, and countless others underinsured, it’s nothing short of scandalous that Medicare mistakenly paid out over $1 billion for services already covered by other insurers. The reason: bad data. Medicare is not an isolated incident. Horror stories abound: • Imagine a commercial bank that doled out loans to customers who are in default on previous loans. That's what's happening at the Department of Education. Missing, incomplete and inaccurate data in the $13 billion Stafford Student Loan Program has resulted in millions of dollars in new loans to students who have previously defaulted. • The clean-up of the banking and savings and loan scandals has produced a scandal within a scandal. The Resolution Trust Corp. is responsible for managing and selling over $400 billion in assets from 725 failed thrifts. But it's had trouble keeping track of its own bank accounts. • The Internal Revenue Service is in need of a massive audit During the past 25 years, the IRS has twice attempted but failed to modernize what congressional investigators call “antiquated tax-processing” systems, which impede the agency^ ability to collect and account for about $1 trillion in tax revenues. Ifs also contributing to the IRS’s failure to close the tax gap — the estimated $114 billion that represents the difference between taxes owed and voluntarily paid. Sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease. The Veterans BeneAts Administration undertook a modernization program aimed at speeding up claims payments to veterans. But they didn’t look before they leaped into a $94 million investment — an investment that will trim only six to 12 days from the average claims processing time of 151 days, a dubious return on the dollar. Or there’s the case of the Navy's $600 million program to improve non-tactical computers on ships, which has resulted in 12 separate Navy commands having authority over funding and procurement of mqjor computer systems making up the program. When Bill Clinton complains about stone-age technology, he’s putting his finger on a problem that’s bigger than he could have imagined. Jack Anderson and Michael Einstein are syndicated columnists fbr the United Feature Syndicate. Today in History Today is Thursday, Feb. 25, the 56th day of 1993. There are 309 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: Two hundred years ago, on Feb. 25,1793, the department heads of the U.8. government met with President Washington at his home for the first Cabinet meeting on record. On this date: In 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated England’s Queen Elizabeth!. In 1870, Hiram R. Revels, R-Miss., became the first black member of the U J3. Senate as he was sworn in to serve out the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis. In 1873, opera singer Enrico Caruso was bom in Naples, Italy. In 1901, United States Steel Corp. was incorporated by J.P. Biorgan. In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving Congress the power to levy and collect income taxes, was declared in effect In 1943, 50 years ago, during World War II, U.S. troops leoc-cupied the Kasierine Pass. In 1948, Communists seised power in Czechoslovakia. ;