INDEPEHDEHT PRESS-TELEGRAM Ford plays high-stakes poker . 1 1 J ( f ^ ^ Â· ^ ^ f \ Â· Â· ^fc TM / Â· Â· ' . _ 604 Pine Avenue, 90844 - Telephone 435-1161 Herman H. Ridder -- 1952-1969 Daniel H. Ridder -- Editor and Publisher Samuel C. Cameron -- General Manager Miles E. Sines -- Executive Editor Larry Atiison -- Managing Editor Don Ohl -- Editor Editorial Page Bert Resnik--Assistant Managing Editor L.A. Collins Sr.--Editorial Columnist Don Nutter, Advertising Director E. H. Lowdermilk,'Circulation Director Milton A, Lomas, Production Manager B-2 LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, FRIDAY, JANUARY 17 1975 Editorials Gloomy, but not hopeless Like Harry Truman in 1949, Gerald Ford carried his State of. the Union message to Congress hi a plain black notebook. / Like Truman, Ford spoke plainly. THE DIFFERENCE, as Ford pointed out, was that where Truman was able to announce that "the state of the Union is good" Ford was compelled to say that "the state of the Union is not good." "I've got bad news," President Ford declared, "and I don't expect much, if any, applause." The bad news was no surprise to Congress or to the nation, nor was Ford's plan for improving things, most of which he disclosed in an address Monday night. THE SPEECH presented a somber contrast to that long-ago day in January 1949 when. Harry Truman was President and Gerald Ford was a freshman congressman. On that day Truman was also concerned with the economy, but his concern was "in keeping our economy running at full speed." Ford's concern is to bolster an economy in decline and to reduce American dependence on foreign oil. Where Truman proposed tax increases, Ford proposes tax cuts. Truman called for new and expanded federal programs to develop rivers, add public power plants and public transmission lines, expand the social security program, develop a national program of prepaid medical insurance for all, increase federal aid to states to help them improve schools, provide low-rent public housing and encourage the building industry to provide more low-cost private housing. BY CONTRAST, Ford pledged to veto "any new spending prq- ; gram adopted by the Congress." ' The applause for Ford came : only nine times in the 41-minute : speech. But the Congress received the President's message in the cooperative spirit in which he offered it. There will be partisan differences, but it is plain that Congress recognizes the truth of Ford's assertion that "the American people want action, and it will take both the Congress and the President to give them what they want." The details of Ford's tax rebate proposal can be argued about, but Congress should act by April so sizable rebates can be in the hands of taxpayers. Ford's proposed payment dates for two rebates -- May and September -are not too soon. They can be achieved. FORD'S OTHER tax proposals -- including higher taxes on oil and increased investment credits to spur business expansion -- are also vital to economic restoration. They, too, should have critical but swift congressional examination. If the tone of the President's message was one of gloom it was not one of hopelessness. It should not have been. As the President pointed out, the real income of Americans is far higher today than it was when Gerald Ford first entered Congress. Indeed, it is hard today to believe that one of President" Truman's proposals was that the minimum hourly wage be increased to 75 cents. At the time Truman spoke, America's minimum wage was 40 cents an hour -- a level that for someone working a 40- hour week would provide an annual income of $832. AMERICA HAS COME a long way from that. If it is suffering reverses, it can recover. President Ford's plain talk was a start. It is now up to the President, the Congress and the people to follow it with a cooperative effort to turn things around to the point where this President will be able to tell us next January that the state of the Union is better, and continuing to improve. Chile's repressive regime could lose aid from U.S. En route to an informal meeting of Organization of American States foreign ministers in Buenos Aires in March, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger is expected'to make a stop-over in Chile. One purpose of the visit, it is said, is to tell Chile's ruling generals that further U.S. military and economic aid will depend on a "return to more democratic principles. Events preceding and loliowing the fall of President Salvador Allende's Marx- Phil .Vwsom ist government in September, 1973, and the roles played earlier by those who will take part in the discussions should make them especially interesting. 'Â· WHEN THE military junta led by President Gen. Augusto Pinochet took over after Allende's fall and his reported suicide, the nation's economy has been described as resembling the chaos leu "oy war. In the last year of Allende rule, inflation had jumped by 700 per cent. A Sharp deciine in ayricuiiuiisi piOmiC- tion had led to long lines outside food stores and had forced Ihc country to import around $600 million in foodstuffs, four (imcs the previous record. Copper production, providing more than 80 per cent of the country's foreign exchange, was down. These were events that later were to become of some embarrassment- to the American secretary of state. As chairman of the "40 committee", a high-level panel in charge of overseeing secret activities of the Central Intelligence Agency, Kissinger had to bear considerable responsibility for the CIA's expenditure of a r o u n d $8 million in clandestine activities against the Allende government. Some of the money went for the support of the anti-Allende strikers. In general, the idea was to insure a continuing political opposition to the Chilean Marxists who were running the country. But as the political pendulum swung from the left to the right it went to another extreme. SINCE THE military take-over more than 40.000 persons have left the country. No one outside the government is sure how many are in political prisons, some- t i m e s without a formal charge or a warrant. It may be as high as 10,000 or more. Documented charges of torture have drawn protests f r o m m a n y respected organizations. The switch to alleged "police state" has had other repercussions. Britain suspended economic aid and arms sales to f h i l n Cu-oHon Â£"crwÂ»nHed oCOPOniic Md. Finland canceled a*" credit agreement for forestry development. Mexico broke diplomatic relations. And the American Congress rejected an administration request for $21.3 in military aid to Chile and cut proposed economic aid from a requested $63.6 million to $25 million. WASHINGTON - Once President Ford finally perceived the reality of the. energy crisis, he made a strategic decision that could have fateful consequences: to impose an import tax on oil without asking specific congressional authority. "THAT'S A GUN at our head," one outraged Senate Democrat complained. The gun is the gradually rising oil import tax, which would create agonizing maladjustments throughout the economy unless "other crucial aspects of Mr. Ford's program are passed by Congress. This is privately confirmed within the administration. "Sure, it's a gun .at their head," one senior official told us. "How else can you get Congress to move?" But reaction by many key Democratic congressmen forbodes the worst: refuse Â· to move at all but .instead stare down the President, forcing him to drop the import tax. Thus, instead of forceful action vital to the national interest, the first compre- Â· hensive energy program ever to come from the White House could rejmlt in a dangerous stalemate. That Mr. Ford is playing high-stakes poker with Congress shows how far he has traveled the last two months. When Mr. Ford returned from Vladivostok Nov. 24, he seemed oblivious to reality -- including the unintended energy crisis. However, briefings soon educated Mr. Ford to the need for mandatory conserva- . Robert Novak Inside Report 1 Rowland |Evans tion. Long .before he realized what was at stake, Mr. Ford had promised no new gasoline tax. Since he was philosophically opposed to rationing, only one option remained: taxing all oil to force up prices and reduce consumption. THAT LEFT Mr. 'Ford with this choice: should he use existing law to tax imported oil or should he ask Congress for new -statutory authority as part of the WHEN THE NATIONAL PASTIME U5ED TO BE BASEBALL?.? energy legislative package? The decfston, essentially political, was in Mr. Ford's own hands. :. Â· , ; . Â· " ' ? Â· The President made his decision'awmt two weeks ago, without much agonizing and without consulting Republican con- gressionalleaders -- two characteristics of his presidency. So critical is the energy problem, he told advisers, that he,must act now without waiting for a dawdling Congress. Â·., . . " Â· ":'Since then, there have been backstage rumblings among middle-level bureaucrats. While overjoyed by the rare sight of a president actually engrossed in energy problems, they wondered whether their handiwork was being sent to obliyion in the heavily Democratic new Congress. Instead of confronting Congress with, a fait accompli on the oil import tax ( , they asked, might it not be-better to ask specific authority for the sake of conciliation?: BUT THE PRESIDENT'S major energy advisers did not join the dis,sent Thus, the decision was not seriously questioned in the-closing hours before Mr. Ford's televised talk Monday nighC,The only late revision was changing the fl|J $3 a barrel import levy to a gradually ascending $1 on Feb. 1. $2 on March.frand $3 on April 1. .-..-?-. Actually, there are private misgivjngs within the administration about the entire package, even if fully enacted by Congress. It would raise the retail price,:of gasoline by 12 cents a gallon at most; not enough to reduce consumption markedly. But it would come down hard on public utilities and airlines, two industries qn;the edge of disaster. ~r;:Â· A $3-a-gallon levy on imported oil by itself is clearly intolerable. Apart from causing economic dislocations, the import tax by itself, would boost gasoline pump prices no more than 3 cents a gallon, a guarantee of no reduction in consumption. Accordingly, Ford strategists reasons^that to make it tolerable, Congress will; be forced to pass the rest of the program..,.-. THAT INCLUDES not only the delightful congressional task of cutting income taxes but less pleasurable chores: a-.$2-a- barreKexcise tax on domestic oil (after which the import tax would fall to ,the same $2 level);' deregulating "old" (relatively cheap) domestic oil; imposing a tough windfall profits tax 'on theVoil companies. .,,,.: .But many Democrats view this as merely Mr. Ford's opening bid in negotiations and will not act until he offers a,new proposal. Others feel Mr. Ford really expects congressional inaction so he-can flay the do-nothing 94th Democratic .Congress in Harry Truman style. ,;,., This raises the grim prospect of an'Oil import levy starting Feb. 1 with nothing else -- except, of course, income tax. .cuts -- adopted by Congress, leaving -.the Republican President and Democratic Congress shouting dirty politics at'.ea'ch other. Whoever really deserved:.-.the blame, the disastrous, impact of government stalemate, continued lack of confidence and no effective Â· energy program could then result from President Ford having decisively imposed the import levy on his own. 'Â·.", Letters to the editor Commendable decision Bad medicine EDITOR: J u d g e Sirica's decision releasing Dean. Magruder and Kalmbach was commendable in the light of all the assistance siven by these men. The'y cooperated with: the special Watergate prosecutor in exposing the roots of Watergate. These three were of great assistance in ,'the prosecution of their accomplices. Without the cooperation of these men, Watergate cou'd have never been fully exposed. N. PACCIONE Long Beach Help the starving EDITOR: Is there enough food to feed everyone in this world? The major countries have enough manpower and equipment to do it. The Bangladesh people dying of starvation are in very poor living conditions and don't have the knowledge of trades, as we are gifted. Sure, we work for our food, but when \ve can climb into a warm bed with our filled bellies don't we get a cramp knowing people are dying within our reach? MARK MATTHEWS Los Alamitos Dial-a-ride EDITOR: I believe that Long Beach urgemiv needs a dial-a-ride transportation system that will meet the needs currently left unmet by taxis or the traditional bus service. Lack of suitable transportation keeps many elderly and handicapped persons housebound. Today's serious problems involving the energy shortage and air pollution affect all of us and solutions must be found. It is imperative that local governments be responsive by developing the kind of mass transit that will present people with an attractive alternative to the confort and convenience of their own car. Dial-a-ride systems already are in operation in La Mirada, La Habra, and East Los Ageles and are a flourishing success. 1 fed that our turn is long overdue. How about it. Long Beach? LOLA MATT1NGLY Long Beach EDITOR: I agree with Milt Nalibow. We should not be punished for needing medicine. The arrow on the cap is no help. There should be a person around with more ingenuity to find a better solution to get to the medicine. EVE LEMKE Long Beach It lacks credentials EDITOR: Agathocles ((letter, Jan. 1 13) is a funny it. Me, I'm just a secretary tired of being called Mister. Ms. merely means myself, which is all a Greek god like Agathocles needs to know. I never ask gods for their credentials. Their inane utterances reveal enough. MS. R. GREATSHELL Long Beach Crusader with finesse;' 1 EDITOR: The article in the edition of Sunday, Jan. 5, failed to accurately describe L.A.C. as many of us who have known him a number of years saw him. The part that was omitted was'that L.A.C. in reality was Long Beach's own Ralph Nader or People's Lobby or Common Cause, but he did it with such finesse that he did not alienate any segment'of the population as have the above-mentioned individuals and groups. In his own quiet, sometimes public, way he made it known that the future of the city was at stake or that sometimes the future of a very few people was at stake. He did his utmost to protect this city and these people, while at the same time protecting all except those who'w''" e at fault. .As times changed, L.A.C. changed, as he should have, but he still clung to'the basic belief throughout "of people Tjeing served as more important than anything else." DON M. MUCHMORE Long BÂ£ach 'S o 3D "Oh lor heaven's sake -- don't get so excited! I bought a lot ot b-o-u-i-l-l-o-n today, not a lot of b-ii-l-l-l-o-nl"
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