The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on December 31, 1985 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Tuesday, December 31, 1985
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Opinion The Salina Journal Tuesday, December 31,1985 Page 4 ^"T^^ » C^&vTlyir^it;) ^f ^ • I <5)&UJll](Ll<2l I I 1 ne Journal Founded in 1«71 HARRIS RAYL, Editor and Publisher KAYBERENSON, Executive Editor SCOTT SEIRER, News Editor LARRY MATHEWS, Assistant News Editor LORI BRACK, Weekend Editor JIMHAAG, Night Editor MARY JO PROCHAZKA, Associate Editor Reagan in review Ronald Reagan, president of the United States of America, did it again in 1985. Misspoke himself, that is. Paul Slansky, a New York writer, has compiled a review of some of the more outlandish Reaganisms of the past year. They deserve reprinting and rereading: "I just had a verbal message delivered to me from Pope John Paul, urging us to continue our efforts in Central America." (April 16) The pope (surprise) denied he'd ever said anything like that. "One of the many who wrote me about this visit was a young woman who had recently been bat mitz- vahed. She urged me to lay the wreath at Bitburg cemetery w honor of the future of Germany, and that is what we have done." (May 5) Beth Flom, the 13-year-old, said she'd written the president asking him not to visit the cemetery. (Surprised?) "They (South Africans) have eliminated the segregation that we had in our own country, the type of thing where hotels and restaurants and places of entertainment and so forth were segregated — that has all been eliminated." (August 24) South Africans segregate whole cities. (But was anyone surprised by Ron's comment? Not us. The only surprise is that American voters still put up with it. That's the great mystery about the misspeaker.) Tonight's verse Tonight we'd like to post a series of signs alongside every street and highway. In the style of those old shaving cream advertisements, the signs would read: If you're thinking About drinking And driving. Don't count On arriving. We can't post the signs. The verse isn't much. Please heed the message anyway. We'd like you to be alive tomorrow. The small society Why IH be at the Rose Bowl "That's a pretty Republican kind of thing for you to be doing," an acquaintance sneered, upon learning I was going to the Rose Bowl. "What's the matter? Couldn'tyou find a revolution to cover? " Patiently I explained this was no sudden conversion to Yuppiedom; that I'd been planning it more or less for nigh onto half a century. I can remember back in the '30s when listening on a scratchy $3 radio to the Rose Bowl game, and to descriptions of Rose parade beauties, unimaginable in a Kansas blizzard, were the winter highlights. Growing up as I did, just up Highway 40 from Kansas State's poor, benighted Wildcats, 1 had to get my football glories vicariously. On autumn Saturdays my friends and I, having lost our own high school game on Friday afternoon, would hitchhike down to Manhattan to watch the likes of Missouri's Paul Chrisman humiliate Kansas State. The Rose Bowl was a kind of antidote to these depressing events of depression days. Its glamour symbolized the lure of California to which those who could were fleeing the Dust Bowl. Those who couldn't, fantasized about Hollywood and Pasadena. That cultural element persists. An Iowa sports columnist wrote the other day that the Rose Bowl remains the preeminent New Year's extravaganza, superior to all its imitators, because it is more than mere football. "On the line is the matter of superior lifestyle: West Coast or Midwest? It isn't just one team against another. It's alfalfa sprouts and tofu vs. meat and potatoes. Slush vs. smog. The byte belt vs. the rust belt. Where you moved to vs. where you moved from." I can relate to that. In 1941 Stanford defeated Nebraska, the only Big Eight team ever to play in the Rose Bowl. The following year I was in boot camp in San Diego and the smart alec California contingent in my platoon never tired of calling us midwesterners Letters John McCormally HARRIS NEWS SERVICE The Journal welcomes letters to the editor but does not promise to print them. The briefer they are the better chance they have. All are subject to condensation and editing. Writer's name must be signed with full address for publication. Letters become the property of The Journal. Okies, and razzing us about Nebraska's defeat. They seemed to be affronted that hicks from a place called Nebraska would dare set foot in their preciousRose Bowl.. It was especially painful for me, a poor but proud Kansan, to be forced to defend Oklahoma and Nebraska. I think it was about then I decided that one day I would be there, right in the Rose Bowl, cheering for my hick team from the Midwest and watching those damn Calif ornians get then- comeuppance. It took awhile, but this has got to be the year. It would be a better story if it were Kansas State, but the Iowa Hawkeyes, of my adopted state (of 20 years) are fitting enough. In the interval, we've seen seven children through the University of Iowa, not a single one of them an athlete, unless you count Megan's fencing lessons. But it has been investment enough to make loyal fans of us. It probably would have remained a fantasy, had the Cubs not done so badly. Our oldest grandson John, who'll be 13 on Nixon's birthday, had suffered all summer over the Cubs as I used to over Kansas State. I was only trying to cheer him up with my off-hand September promise: "Forget the Cubs. If the Hawks win the Big Ten, we'll go to the Rose Bowl." John, who is a junior high nose guard in Iowa City and watches every Hawkeye move, took me seriously. "You and your big mouth," Peggy said, when I despaired of getting game tickets and airline reservations. But even if John let me off the hook, there was still that other promise I made — way back in '42. Besides, like Halley's comet this opportunity will probably not be back in my lifetime. So, off we go. There are still a couple of hitches. The PAC10 has won 14 of the last 16 Rose Bowl games from the Big 10, and Iowa got clobbered in its last appearance four years ago. But blast the odds. California, here we come. Quotation This great misfortune — to be incapable of solitude. —Jean de La Bruyere "OHKO....EYERYT1ME I KILL fiOMSONEILOSEMY LICENSE Rg A MONTH I Some of the wonders 1986 has in store for us BOSTON — This is the time of year when columnists are asked to tell the future. I have no idea why, since we generally write in and about the present tense. Journalists don't do windows and they don't do the future. Nevertheless, a New Year deserves something new and so I will break old habits. I hereby offer a set of predictions which are absolutely rock-solid, sure-fire bets. In the year 1986: Sylvester Stallone will write, produce and star in a movie entitled "Rambo goes to Afghanistan." The entire Miami police force, through collective bargaining, will adopt white raw- silk jackets and peach-colored sweaters as its uniform. The surgeon general will add a new label to cigarette packages. It will read "Smoke This and You Die." Sales will remain steady. A group of terrorists will hijack a plane in the Middle East and, in return for giving up hostages, demand a 26-week prime-time television series of their very own. The Heritage Foundation will publish definitive research proving that white males are the sole victims of discrimination in America. Edwin Meese will use this research in 16 friend of the court briefs. Sometime in May, IRS computers will send the rebates for the entire state of Illinois to a small town in Wyoming. A political columnist will break the first story detailing Ted Kennedy's plan to run for president in 1992. In California, an irate client will sue a weight-loss clinic for malpractice because she gained ten pounds. The jury will find the clinic guilty despite the fact that the woman Ellen Goodman WASHINGTON POST ate a daily wheel of brie. Amidst great fanfare, Donald Regan will promote the last remaining woman in the Reagan Cabinet, Elizabeth Dole, from her lowly post in Transportation to an exalted seat as Ambassador to Tonga. In the NIH laboratories, 43 out of 60,000 white rats win die after being force-fed candy bars nonstop for six weeks, leading to a national panic about chocolate as a carcinogen. About 23 present or former senators, governors, Cabinet secretaries and others "mentioned" for 1988 will make their first visit to New Hampshire. Just for the skiing. A new rock group named The Child Abusers will release a record called "Burn, Baby, Burn." Those who protest will be described as "a bunch of puritanical, umbrella-waving old ladies." The Pentagon budget will show an unspent excess of some $50 billion dollars. The joint chiefs will present research proving that the Soviet military budget has $55 billion in unspent excess. In order to assure our national security, they will demand that we match the Russians. The Reagan administration will continue its harassment of Daniel Ortega by banning the export of designer sunglasses to Nicaragua. After research showing that breathing charcoal-grilled steak is bad for your health, a restaurant in Minnesota will become the first to institute a new policy of meat-eating and non-meat-eating sections. According to a new White House security policy, Cabinet members will be required to show identification before attending meetings. A passport, driver's license and two credit cards with a photo I.D. will be accepted. Somewhere in America, a lawyer will turn down a corporate case with a large fee because "I just didn't feel comfortable with it." After a nationwide search, NASA, which has selected Sen. Jack Garn and Rep. Bill Nelson for missions, will finally announce the winner of its journalist-in-space competition. It will be Ronald Reagan Jr. reporting from orbit the way he reported from Geneva for Playboy magazine. Following a spring fever of corporate mergers, the Fortune 500 will announce that they are now the Fortune 50. A new entrepreneurial breed of child researchers will announce a breakthrough method, complete with IBM compatible software, for teaching your child to read while he or she is still in the womb. Finally, George Bush will spend the year going to assorted international funerals and national rites of humiliation where he will perform the spirited "Bush and Right Wing." At the end of this, he will announce that if nominated for president, his running mate will be Richard Nixon. Here we go again. Even to Social Security reform, there is a season WASHINGTON — As the old year goes out and the new year comes in, let me venture a single forecast: One of these years (not one of these days), Congress will move toward a phasing-out of Social Security and toward a phasing-in of private programs to protect us in our retirement years. This is an idea whose time will come. This won't materialize in 1986. It may be a decade or more. Eventually political considerations will compel Congress to offer young workers, just entering the labor force, a better option than Social Security for their senior years. This phasing-in won't affect the 36 million persons now receiving Social Security benefits; then- benefits will be fully protected. Neither will it affect those workers now in then- late 40s and mid-50s. They will get everything now promised to them. The privatization (a dreadful word) will offer an opportunity to my grandchildren. It is their future that concerns me here. These thoughts are set in motion in part by an essay by Peter Young, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute. His article, recently released by the Heritage Foundation, deals with pending proposals for a gradual privatization of a part of Great Britain's social security program. What is going on there is a portent of what will happen here. Our program and the Brits' program have much in common. Both retirement systems operate under an illusion and a reality. The illusion is that some nebulous "trust fund" protects future benefits; the reality is that in Doonesbury James Kilpatrick UNIVERSAL PRESS both nations, the systems are virtually pay- as-we-go. Taxes come in; benefits go out. Both nations look to the same demographic future: We will have more old folks receiving benefits, and we will have fewer young people paying Social Security taxes. By the turn of the century, just 15 years hence, one of every five Americans will be more than 65 years old. A political war is coming. We have known these in the past, between free states and slave states, between farm and city. The impending political war will be between young and old. The relatively young, who will be paying monstrous, punitive taxes on their wages, will be rebelling against financing benefits for their parents and grandparents. They will demand an alternative for themselves. Great Britain is putting out feelers in just this direction. Our cousins have created a supplement to their basic retirement program. It now is possible for British workers to opt out of a part of the social security taxes they otherwise would pay. They and their employers may instead pay into approved private pension plans. Roughly half of all eligible British workers have chosen to take the option. The transition has had no effect on present- day retirees. Their benefits have not been reduced in any way. Every pension entitlement will be honored. Neither will the program harm those workers who already are close to retirement. Men over 50 and women over 45 will continue under the present system. Over a three-year period, if the plan gains parliamentary acceptance, younger workers would move toward paying 4 percent of their wages (matched by employers) into private pension programs to supplement the basic benefits. It makes sense. As Peter Young observes in his essay, the plan would create vast new pools of private capital for economic development. It would serve personal liberty, by giving workers greater flexibility in planning their retirement. The system of private pensions advocated by Young is essentially the same system long advocated by Peter J. Ferrara, who writes for the Cato Institute. Both economists believe private pension programs are philosophically and financially superior to governmental programs. Especially for blacks, who tend to die sooner than whites, private retirement plans offer tremendous advantages. Great Britain is now actively engaged in debate on the proposition. Our Congress will not even grant hearings on Ferrara's ideas. As I concede, the time for his ideas has not come. Believe me, it will come. .ANPITALKEP 10HK3KH£iA5T WKK.SHESENDS HKLOVB. I OFTHffTPUMP! \ ACCOUN1&KR INSPfRfT. X

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