The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 8, 1976 · Page 8
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December 8, 1976

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 8

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, December 8, 1976
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Page 8
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Tom Wicker The Palm Beach Post V" Going Slow With the Economy Daniel J. Mahoney, Jr. Publisher Thomas A. Kelly Editor Cecil B. Kelley, Jr. General Manager Samuel J. Pepper Managing Editor Clarke B. Ash, Associate Editor WEDNESDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 8, 1976 Air Bag Decision NEW YORK - With all due respect to the 16 economists and businessmen who are said to have recommended it to him, President-elect Carter may come to regret his renunciation of wage-price controls. This country's economic problems are so complex and demanding that its chief economic manager needs every weapon available. In the first place, Carter throughout his campaign led voters to believe that he wanted Congress to give him standby authority to impose wage-price controls and that he would not hesitate to do so if necessary. Repudiating that position before he even is sworn in may be aimed at building "confidence" among businessmen, but what about the confidence of people who voted for Carter? Precious few businessmen were among them. In the second place, coupling the renunciation of even the possibility of controls over the next four years with the nomination of a conservative Georgia banker, Bert Lance, to head the vital Office of Management and Budget must mean something. When Lance promptly said on the CBS program "Face the Nation" that it would be "very, very difficult" even to reach Carter's relatively modest goal of 6.5 per cent unemployment by the end of 1977, that meaning appeared to be that the attack on umemploy-ment is going to be cautious rather than vigorous. Yet these steps were taken at a time when unemployment for November, continuing the trend since July, was reported to have risen to 8.1 per cent, the highest of the year and just .4 per cent below the recession high of 8.5 per cent If that didn't stop recent price increases, ' what makes him think that business now will be persuaded by the president-elect's renunciation of wage and price controls that prices need not be raised? Even if not, however, Carter's economic task is not just to hold down or roll back infla--' tion and not just to reduce unemployment to acceptable levels. It is to do both - not only be-' cause he pledged to do both in his campaign, but because a healthy economy demands both. The combination of current inflationary, trends, the likelihood of an oil-price increase sooner or later, and Carter's clear campaign pledge to put the American people to work should have been enough to prevent the president-elect from foreclosing the possibility of, wage-price controls. They are, of course, an ex-, treme form of controlling the economy, and one, no one really wants - particularly given the range of less difficult actions open to a re-, sourceful administration. , But controls have become necessary before, and have worked rather well to achieve their'" object. In 1971, Richard Nixon achieved a considerable degree of success with wage-price controls - although their precipitate removal after his re-election proved disastrous. Both World War II and Korean War control systems were; reasonably effective. The no-controls pledge looks like one more indicator of a go-slow approach that will leave the economic problems Jimmy Carter campaigned against mostly untouched. in November 1975. At roughly the same time, the third consecutive monthly increase in the consumer price index was announced, and prices were raised in steel and other basic industries. No one knows as yet, moreover, what the OPEC nations may do about another round of price increases; and if oil prices do rise, with the United States more dependent on imported Arab oil today than it was in 1973, the inflationary impact could be devastating. Carter said he was renouncing wage-price controls because he believed the mere threat of such controls might be causing businessmen to raLe prices before controls could.be imposed. But the president-elect had in fact made no threat to resort to controls, taking only the fairly traditional Democratic campaign position in favor of standby authority. In fact, with every word he has uttered since his election, he has sought to reassure business and gain its glass, back-up lights, direction signals or padded dashes were." Unlike the seat-belt interlock system, air bags would require no inconvenience for motorists. The experimentation with seat belts over the last two decades has shown that millions of motorists simply will not bother with seat belts, regardless of their safety value. The Transportation Department study showed that universal use of air bags would save 12,100 lives a year, eliminate or reduce the severity of 100,000 injuries and save up to $4 billion a year in property losses. Despite these staggering statistics, Mr. Coleman accepted the auto industry's contention that the public simply wouldn't be willing to pay the extra $50 or $100 which the air bags would cost. It's obvious that powerful economic forces influenced the decision by the outgoing Ford administration official. Perhaps Jimmy Carter's transportation secretary will reach a different conclusion. U.S. Transportation Secretary William Coleman laid out the arguments convincingly for requiring air bags to be installed in all automobiles: "I am convinced, after a painstaking examination of the record, that passive restraints are technologically feasible, would provide substantially increased protection to the public in traffic accidents and can be produced economically." Then Mr. Coleman said he wouldn't require their installation. Instead, he said he wanted the auto industry to volunteer for a "demonstration project" to build public confidence in the air-bag devices. He contended that mandatory air bags might not be well received by consumers and might trigger the same kind of resentment which accompanied the ill-considered seat-belt interlock system. Rep. James Scheuer (D-N.Y.) called Mr. Coleman's comments "sanctimonious nonsense" and contended the decision to require air bags should no more be left to public whim "than safety Long Run for PBJC The union quite correctly objected on the basis that college trustees are hardly in a position to be impartial arbiters, inasmuch as they are at the apex of management. We hope PBJC will abide by the pledge, made to a Leon County circuit judge studying a union bid to block trustee hearings, that the trustees will not attempt to act as arbitrators. Any action otherwise would only support suspicions that the college has no intention of negotiating a contract. But even that is nothing more than a slight procedural advance. In the long run, it undoubtedly will take action by either the legislature or the courts to ring down 'the curtain once and for all. If they ever decide to put the Palm Beach Junior College (PBJC) faculty-contract negotiations on Broadway, the show probably would surpass "Fiddler on the Roof" as the all-time long run. Bargaining on PBJC's first-ever contract for instructional personnel has been going on for more than a year, ever since United Faculty won a representation election. First, mediation failed. Then the two sides refused to accept recommendations of a special hearing officer. The next and final step, according to state law, is for the "appropriate legislative body" to hold hearings and determine contract terms. That phase got off to a flying stop when PBJC trustees set themselves up as the "appropriate legislative body." Art Buchwald Askew and Friend Namesmanship in the Order-To-Be Reubin Askew has demonstrat sponsored measure, explaining later that he signed it as a "Well, if Billy Carter is out, who is in?" "Amy Carter's still in, but the Secret Service has orders to keep everyone away from her." "What a mess. We have a new administration coming in and nobody knows who to talk to." The headwaiter delivered a phone to the table. One of the men took the call. "Are you sure?" he said. "You're positive? You'll stake your life on it? thank you." He turned to the others. "I just got the word. Walter Cronkite is in." "Then that means Barbara Walters is out?" "It looks that way." "I'll have to cancel my lunch with her tomorrow." ed some apolitical traits during his six years as Florida's governor, but he still rewards his friends. The latest example is the appointment of the governor's 1974 campaign manager, attorney James C. Smith of Tallahassee, to a nine-year term on the Florida Board of Regents. The governor wasn't deterred by past controversies involving Mr, Smith's success in representing clients in the legislative and executive branches of state government since leaving the state payroll in 1972. One such case involved a bill lobbied to passage by Mr. Smith in 1975 to allow the use of portable bars at golf courses with liquor licenses. The governor, despite his general aversion to liquor bills, signed the Smith- WASHINGTON - The big game in Washington these days is who is "in" and who is "out" in the Carter administration. It seems to change every day and it's giving lobbyists and other power-seekers conniptions. At lunch the other day I overheard four people talking at the next table and it went like this: "I hear if you want to get to Carter you have to see Rhett Butler." "No, he's been out for two weeks. If you want to get anything done you have to talk to Charley Winkler." "Carter doesn't talk to Winkler any more." "Why not?" "Winkler had a fight with Hamilton Jordan and Jordan axed him with Carter." "I hear the guy with all the clout is Horace Bromide, a banker from change of pace from his normal practice of vetoing such bills or letting them become law without his signature. He said he didn't know the bill was backed by Mr. Smith. Although the appointment has a political tinge, Mr. Smith has the ability to become a strong member of the regents. He currently is president of the Florida State University Alumni Association. An avid supporter of the FSU athletic program, he can be expected to battle for parity with the more affluent University of Florida program. If Mr. Smith approaches the other problems facing the universities with the enthusiasm he has devoted to FSU's athletic fortunes, he should make an important contribution. day before the election when he lost Carter's luggage in Shreveport." "But he's back again because Billy Carter put in a good word for him." "I heard Billy Carter was out." "When did you hear that?" Pecksville. He was in the Peace Corps with Miss Lillian." "Don't waste your time on Bromide. Carter hasn't taken a telephone call from him in a month." "Where did you hear that?" "From Sarah Collins, Russell Haliburton's secretary. Haliburton is the only person Carter listens to these days." "He overcharged Jimmy for a lube job at his gas station and thought Haliburton blew it the my said that was the last straw." Letters to the Editor- Official Has Had Two Unhappy Experiences With Post-Times Many years ago, when I was a cub reporter for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, there was a code of ethics among newsmen. I certainly wish that it could be restored. Benjamin H. Oehlert Jr. Palm Beach In order for any government to function efficiently and effectively, and to the ultimate benefit of the governed, it must be prohibited from taking away the basic human drive for personal gain, substituting itself as an all-powerful dispenser of benevolences. The framers of the Constitution wisely guaranteed nothing more to the individual than equal opportunity. No one has the unqualified right to live unproductively at the expense of his society. The perpetrators and expedi-tors of the welfare state are simply buying power at the taxpayers expense to establish tyranny. Joe W. Smith Jr. North Palm Beach Sugar Tom Kelly's column on "sugar" in the Post-Times brings back memories when sugar went sky high in No Change THINK, YA KNOW In the past two months, I have had two unhappy experiences with The Palm Beach Post-Times. The first occurred on Sept. 19, when you published an article of mine about port expansion. Your reporter had asked me to write the article, which I did on the specific condition that I would be identified only as a private citizen and not as either a member of the Palm Beach Town Council, or as chairman of the Palm Beach Civic Association. Your reporter specifically agreed to that condition: However, when the article appeared, the byline was "Benjamin H. Oehlert, Palm Beach Civic Association." This caused me some embarrassment which was in part alleviated by your publication on Oct. 3, of my letter to the editor, accompanied by an "editor's note of regret." On Monday, Nov. 22, I had delivered to each of the local papers an identical statement reiterating my intention not to run for re-election to the Palm Beach Town Council. The release date was Nov. 24. It was circled in red and attention called to it specifically by the person delivering the release. The Palm Beach Post violated the release date and carried the story on Nov. 23. None of the other papers violated the release date. As a result, the other papers carried my statement simultaneously with the statement of another individual, who had read the article in The Post the date before, announcing his candidacy for the seat which I am vacating. This caused considerable embarrassment to him and to me. price, resulting in products containing sugar especially soda and candy, going up appreciably. However, sugar has now come way down as a result of a glut on the market but these same products do not reflect decreases in costs. As a matter of fact, a recent news item relates that chocolate candy bars are going to be increased by 5 cents because of a cocoa-bean scarcity. This projected assured increase by manufacturers doesn't take into account the vast decrease in sugar costs. It seems the manufacturers do not disturb price increases but rather allow consumers to become accustomed before the next price increase. Charles S. Bernblit West Palm Beach Tax Mess The most impressive thought transferred to me by the House Judiciary Committee's televised impeachment proceeding of Nixon was its passionate, reverent adherence to the Constitution. When it comes to the taxing of incomes, more homework is needed. Our noble statesmen should learn that their authority to tax may not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people. While, conceivably, there could be valid arguments for most of the acts of Congress, individually, which redistribute the national income, the scope has become so all encompassing it violates the authority to tax and makes a mockery of the federal government's purpose. It is silly to speculate on what Carter's foreign (or any other) policy is going to be. David Rockefeller will tell Kissinger and Kissinger will tell Carter. And that's what it s going to be. Had Ford been elected, Kissinger would have continued to tell Ford. That's what CFR flunkies are for, to do as they are told, from Kissinger on down. Peggy Wink Lantana Letters must bear the full name and address of writer, be no longer than 200 words and be written legibly. All letters are subject to condensation. A letter will not be considered for publication if the writer has had a letter published within the previous 30 days. O J 196 by NEA.Inc

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