New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 7, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
4 New Braunfels Hera\6-Zeitung Friday, January 7,1983OpinionsHerald-Zeitung
Dave Kramer, General Manager Robert Johnson, EditorJack AndersonHouse titans wade into Social Security
Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., wears power like the infantry helmet he wore in Korea — and he’s soon going to need all the protection he can get.
As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the big man from Chicago is responsible for legislation to keep Social Security solvent. He’ll be the target of potshots from all sides — congressional, colleagues, the White House and the public. Even a Solomon couldn’t please everybody on this one, and nobody has ever accused Rostenkowski of being a Solomon.
If the prospect of impending battle daunts him, he didn’t show it during a recent meeting with aides in his office a few steps from the House floor. Knowing that many, perhaps most, of his colleagues consider it the better part of political valor to avoid either tax hikes or benefit cuts, Rostenkowski realizes he’s not going to be popular when he proposes one
solution or the other — perhaps both. But he also recognizes necessity when it confronts him.
“I’m going to deal with this even if it means standing alone and being an S.O.B.,’’ he said, jabbing a finger in the air for emphasis.
He is now in demand for political appearances. But he observed that once he tackles the Social Security mess, he’ll be about as popular as Typhoid Mary.
Rostenkowski has already had a brief skirmish with the White House. On a reconnaissance mission down Pennsylvania Avenue a few weeks ago, he had breakfast with James Baker, the president’s chief of staff.
Baker, still smarting from the November election results, accused the Democrats of irresponsibly politicizing Social Security during the campaign. Baloney, Rostenkowski responded (or something to that effect). The painful truth was that
President Reagan’s vaunted safety net had developed gaping holes — and the voters had simply caught onto it, he said.
Rostenkowski will also have to deal with another powerful committee chairman, Rep. Claude Pepper, D-Fla. The 82-year-old Rules Committee boss is the foremost congressional champion of the elderly, and can be expected to bottle up any Social Security reform bill that tampers with their benefits.
The gravity of the problem is emphasized in a report prepared for the Senate Budget Committee by the Congressional Record Service. My associate Michael Binstein has seen a draft of the report.
“The public...seems to have lost a significant degree of confidence that the system will survive over the long haul,’’ the report warns, “and it is not likely that recurring "minimal measures’ to restore financial
soundness will remove these doubts.” With startling frankness, the report suggests that if the public really understood how Social Security is funded, it might well consider it “as a sort of ‘Ponzi game’ in which the cost of meeting today’s benefit obligations is borne not by the recipients of those benefits but by today’s workers — a sort of passing the buck to future generations.”
The unflattering reference, of course, is to Charlie Ponzi, a con man who, in 1920, paid “dividends” to investors out of money he got from new investors instead of earnings — precisely the way Social Security operates, as the Senate report admits.
Pentagon Pipeline: One reason the Air Force keeps throwing billions into its much-criticized Maverick antitank missile may be that old Pentagon institution — the “revolving door” that leads former Defense Department employees to lucrative jobs with
contractors whose weapons they worked on for the government. Hughes Aircraft of Tucson, Adz., which makes the Maverick, has hired three ex-Air Force employees who dealt with the controversial missile at the Pentagon: Ronald Decosmo, now a project engineer at Hughes, Wayne Mattson, a senior staff engineer, and Lochlan Mackay, assistant manager of programs.
— The Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Program, which arranges performances for American troops overseas, has been caught with its male chauvinism showing. A new brochure contains several pictures of pretty women, and demands: “Touring groups must include at least one female.” The brochure explains that servicemen “welcome the opportunity to talk with young people their own age (especially the
girls!)...” A Pentagon official confessed that the brochure was “embarrassing.” The people who edited it have been reassigned to Korea.
Israeli Mischief: In a cocky bit of bear-baiting, the Israelis deliberately bombed the Soviet Embassy compound in West Beirut at least twice during the siege and raided the place when they took over the city, according to intelligence sources.
Israeli officers secretly boasted of their feat to U.S. liaison officers. The Israelis explained that they knew the Soviets were powerless to intervene in lebanon, and figured a good way to demonstrate this to the world was to deliver a calculated military insult. Sure enough, all the Soviets did was splutter at the “outrages,” showing friend and foe alike just how helpless they were.
John L. Hess
Reruns, movies bring longing for football
Let's quit talking and do something about nuclear arms
In every state in the nation, wives of football freaks are lamenating the end of the NFL strike as millions of husbands go into their weekly trance in front of of the TV set. But not at my house.
At my house, it’s the other way around. I’m on my knees, begging Old Dad to forgive and forget and for goshsakes, switch over to the Cowboys.
Ifs not that I’m panting to watch the mayhem on the field (I would’nt know a tight end from a wide receiver), but I’m sure am getting sick of the garbage on all the other channels.
Old Dad, you see, is anti-strike, especially among folks who are pulling down $100,000 a year. He looks upon that as pretty good pay for playing games and he was outraged beyond measure when his favorite teams betrayed him by walking out.
That’s when he slapped on his one-man boycott. Muttering “to heck with ’em all”(or words to that effect), he vowed never to watch another NFL game. Ever.
Friends and neighbors have standing bets on how long he can hold out. Deep down, they cannot believe that any he-inan fan can make do with college football. Sooner or later, they smirk, he’s got to crack, and right now ifs even odds that it’ll happen on Superbowl Sunday.
I don’t know if I can last that long.
In the first place, although I don’t watch football, I like to listen to it. It’s a little hard to explain, but there’s
something familiar and comfortable about the noise, the whistles and the cheering crowds. Somehow, after all these years, it just doesn’t feel right to read the Sunday papers without the Cow boys in the background.
Especially when you consider what I have to listen to instead. Take last Sunday afternoon:
It was kickoff time and Old Dad was twiching for a football fix. He’d denied himself “NFL Review” (when he quits, he quits old turkey), but “Meet the Press” helped him get through that half hour. Then Cleveland took the field against Pittsburgh and he had to switch channels.
First we listened (and he leered) as a buxom brunette warbled mournful Mexican songs. Then he flipped to the last half of “Wonder Woman,” which was followed by something from outer space called “Battlestar Galactica.”
When I yipped in protest, he moved over to “The Big Blue Marble,” where we were treated to a sequence of Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn and Amy on the White House lawn, listening to a high school band from Costa Rica playing Civil War melodies. Circa 1978.
Next we watched an old Abbott and Costello movie for a while ... peeked briefly at “Lone Ranger Theater” ... and settled on the last half of a 20-year-old epic wherein Robert Ryan had been left to die on the desert by his wife Rhonda Fleming (remember her?) and her young lover.
Well, it was either that or old, old, old reruns of “Bonanza.”
By now, the Cardinals are mixing it up with the Redskins, but we’re in the undersea world with Jacques Cousteau and a flock of manatees. From there we stumbled into a 1966 Paul Newman-Julie Andrews spy thriller, followed by another Newman epic, “The Secret War of Harry Frigg”( 1968).
Now I yield to no woman in my fascination for Paul Newman, so it was a terrible shock to discover that four and a half hours of him was more than I could take. I retreated to the kitchen to get dinner and to ponder the
really big question:
Would I tire of Robert Redford after 270 minutes? < Say it ain’t so, Joe.)
But it was late, football was over, and sanity had returned to the dial; it was safe to switch back to “60 Minutes.” You can see, though, why I ’rn hoping Old Dad will relent.
Superbowl Sunday is still three weeks off - and by then I’ll have OD-ed on Abbott and Costello ... “Tarzan and the She Devil” ... or Jimmy and Rosalynn practicing their Spanish on a Costa Rican tuba player.
Bumbling along, mankind has made its way, somehow, into 1983. Shall we make it to 1984?
Probably, but we can’t be sure. This w ill be a year of great decisions on the world economy, on half a dozen smoldering battlefronts and, most momentous of all, on the atomic arms race.
This is the year when the United State is committed to introduce a new generation of weaponry: the cruise missile, the Pershing II, the Trident and the devil knows what more.
These are designed to close the “window of vulnerability.” What they would certainly do is shorten to a few minutes the time in which the prospective enemy must decide whether it is under attack, and whether to respond.
They are described as “bargaining chips” in the interminable talks on arms control — as if the talks were a game in which the winner ends with more chips than the loser. In fact, the chips just keep adding up on both sides, and some are turning up in the hands of other players.
The Kremlin has announced that it will match our new weapons. On the record, there is no reason to doubt it. The more fools they. And us.
The bomb is often described as a deterrent to war, as if World War ll were not deterrent enough. History since 1945 has made that thesis debatable. Today, it is absurd.
The development of arms that can destroy a continent with virtually no warning is in itself an incitement to a pre-emptive first strike. Or it can provoke a holocaust by accident. It is the most terrible threat that civilization has ever known.
There is hope. It lies in the great anti-nuclear movement that has spread over Europe and our own country, and must find its echo among humanity on the other side.
The forthcoming letter of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops is precious because it raises the question of the
morality of destroying populations.
The nuclear party argues that the bomb is just another weapon, only bigger. It points out that more people died from the “con-ventional”bombing of Tokyo than in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
Well, of course, that is right as far as it goes. Concerning our bombing of Hanoi, the British Methodist leader Ixjrd Soper demanded: “What is the difference between throwing a baby onto a fire and throwing fire onto a baby? To my mind the only difference is about 25,000 feet.”
“Strategic bombing” of civilian populations was employed by both sides in World War II. It proved ineffective there as in Vietnam, but has become part of prevailing strategy. The hydrogen bomb brings it to the ultimate phase.
It is curious that many who oppose abortion as the murder of innocents now tolerate a weapon that cannot be used without the massacre of innocents by the millions.
A few days before his election, Ronald Reagan declared: “As
president, I will immediately open negotiations on a SALT II treaty.” Actually, he took more than a year to do so, and has made little visible progress since then, but he has shown a capacity to change his stance under pressure.
The public is confused by the talk of unilateral disarming, of intermediate-range missiles, of triads, of zero options. What needs to be done is not all that complicated.
The Senate could ratify existing agreements on test explosions and move to a total ban. A freeze on production would logically follow. Then, a major mutual reduction in the number of existing bombs should be quickyl agreed upon.
Both sides say that’s what they want. After all, the ability to destroy ourselves only a few times should satisfy anybody. What are we waiting for?
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