Brownwood Bulletin from Brownwood, Texas on July 14, 1969 · Page 4
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Brownwood Bulletin from Brownwood, Texas · Page 4

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Brownwood, Texas
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Monday, July 14, 1969
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Page 4
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'Age Power* on the Grow ^& *j "You're Next!" W§ Ji§Sf a 181 about the rebellion* 6f the yoting (how cart we avoid it?). but afldthef rebellion—almost a coun- tSM-eVbltitiofi — is going on at the same lime. This is a rebellion of the older population, manifested by increasingly frequent defeats of school bond issues arid local tax measures all over the Mtiofi. fibth rebellions are the consequence of the radical'transformation that has eveftakeri society in this century. Writing" In the Los Angeles Times. Joseph W. Still, M.t)., identifies two major developments which have brought about this transformation: (1) the conquest of disease and (2) the move from farm to city. Flowing from both are profound effects on the makeup of the population and the roles played by different age groups within the population. In 1900, infectious and parasitic diseases caused 61 per cent of all deaths. Today the figure is 7 per cent. This has resulted in increased life expectancy and a larger percentage of the population in the 65-and-over age group. It has also meant that very few children now die from diseases. At the time of the Civil War, 85 per cent Americans worked in agriculture and lived in rural areas. Today less than 5 per cent of the population produces the food eaten by them and the other 95 per cent. When eight of every 10 Americans lived on farms, notes Still, they might be short of money but they seldom •went hungry, and unless they lost the farm they always had shelter. But when people moved to the cily, they became dependent upon jobs. In this process of urbanization are found the orgins of the problems of unemployment, welfare and the anxieties of those without incomes or with reduced incomes. Another consequence of the expansion, urbanizing and "technologizing" of society has been a marked increase in that part of the population which is economically unproductive. In 1880, nofiproducers—roughly those over 65 and under 14—totalled about 42 per cent of the population. Today these two groups total 53 per cent, and with the increase in the years of schooling necessary, we now have a situation in which most yourtg people do not enter the economy until their mid-20s. tn societies with an average life expectancy of 45 years or less, few people live long enough to educate more than one generation of children. In our society, with ' education mainly supported through the property tax, older people, a large percentage of whom are homeowners, are being required to pay the cost of educating not one but two or three generations of children. Whereas 100 years ago people feared they would die before their children were raised, now they fear that they will live longer than they can afford lo live decently, says Still. The paradox of modern America is that is not the young who are worried about having to support a large population of retired oldsters but the oldsters who are worried about having to continue to support a growing population of youngsters. Another significant change: At the beginning of this century, voters under 45 outnumbered the over-45 group by 67 per cent to 33 per cent. Today the two age groups are about equal. In other words, along with youth power, black power and every other kind of power, there is "age power," and it is being expressed in resistance the the over-45 age group to taxation lo pay for the education of the young and all the other manifold needs of the community. Until additional or better ways than the property tax are found to pay the soaring costs of education, and until the soaring cost of everything else is brought under control, that resistance can only be expected to grow. This is the generation gap, from a medical - economic - social -historical point of view. Other Side of Oil Story It seems to be open season lor giant- killing in Congress. But satisfying as it may be to see the hitherto inviolable Defense Department on the carpet or the powerful oil industry being threatened with the loss of some of its lax privileges and olher protection, in both cases the situation is one of perplexity for the average citizen — and probably for many congressmen themselves. The person who tries to keep an open mind is buffeted on both sides by opposing experts. Some tell him lhat the proposed Safeguard anliballislic missile system is absolutely vital for the nation's defense. Others, equally distinguished, warn lhat it is a vast boondoggle which could actually in - jprease the. likelihood of war. In the matter of oil, it is charged that 27V? per cent depletion allowance, which gives oil producers (and mineral producers also) tax compensation for the natural depletion of Ihe re- 1 sources they take out of the ground, qosts the government $1 billion in lost ;,taxes a year, Sen Edward Kennedy recently claimed that controls on the import of foreign oil were costing con.. gumers between 4 billion and 7 billion :'* year. The oil industry marshals its own to show that it pays its fair of taxes and that both depletion fi|nd import controls have helped main- ,\isin a strong domestic industry, which jj$ as vital to the nation's security as a *jKfjrong military establishment. M,,Thj public sees a few highly visible J CU "miiUonaires; it does not see the jnajny, ethers who have lost their shirts mmQ game. Of 8,879, exploratory wells " last year 84 per cent were dry , Some 1,600 fewer wells completed in J968 than in 1907- total figure of 30,599 wells was 46 belaw the number completed the United Statea had o,il reserves to last fa? e» production in ttot Since depletion allowance was enacted in 1926, the retail price of regular grade gasoline (excluding taxes) has increased only about three cents a gallon. Since import controls were imposed by President Eisenhower in 1959, gasoline prices have increased about 14 per cent, but retail prices generally have jumped 24 per cent. The wisdom of Ihe import quota system, which holds imports to 21 per cent of domestic production, was dramatically illustrated during the Arab- Israeli war in 1967 when oil shipments from the Middle East to the United States and much of Europe were abruptly halted. Foreign oil is presently cheaper than domestic oil, espcially with the advent of supertankers which have impressively cut shipping costs. But it would be foolish, the industry argues, to make ourselves too dependent upon oil supplies by foreign powers in order to lower prices or lo conserve our own resources, Oil production facilities and highly trained personnel are not things that can be mothballed for use at a later date. Each side accuses the other of taking extreme positions, yet it is only between extremes that a sensible middle ground can be staked out. Likeliest prospect Is that the depletion allowance can be modified some * what, perhaps by limiting it to fixed periods rather than over the entire lifetime of a well, but not eliminating it entirely or reducing it so drastically as to discourage continued exploration. And a modest easing of import quotas may not he incompatible with a Strong domestic industry and national security. In oil, as in A£Ms, the determining factor must be what promises the greatest benefit over the longest range for the nation. Jn oil, as in A3Ms the determining gregtest feenefit over the longest range for the nation. The rule is easy to state, .of course, but exceedingly difficult to put into Past and Future Ills By ERIC HOFFER NEW YORK — 11 is a mark of modern man's desperate need for pride that he finds the weight of sin much lighter than the weight of weakness. It is disconcerting that despite its monstrous transgressions under Hitler, Germany seems yet the one European nation with an unimpaired pride. Defeat in the Second World War had not blurred the awareness in most minds that no nation by itself — however vast in territory, population, and resources—was Germany's match; it needed the mobilization of the whole world' to bring Germany lo its knees. Thus the Germans alone among the Europeans are not oppressed by a vitiating sense of impotence, and it is their unimpaired pride which accounts for their astounding capacity for recovery. IT IS DOUBTFUL whether there can be such a thing as a collective sense of remorse; collective resentment yes, and of course collective pride and elation, but not shame. The association with others is almost always felt as an association with our betters, and to sin with our betters cannot be productive of a crushing feeling of shame. When we are members of a compact group we are perhaps incapable of shame. It is only as individuals distantly associated with a group thai the deeds of the group can blemish our self-respect. Yet if history is not lo repeat itself it is only as individuals distantly associated with a group that the deeds of the group can blemish our self-respect. Yet if history is not to repeat itself it is imperative that nations keep alive memories of past crimes, mistakes, and failures. Such memories can be a more potent source of social health than memories of past glories. One thinks of France fasting on the anniversary of the surrender to Hitler. So, too, Germany's task of cleansing itself of the taint of the Nazi era might be aided by a yearly day of fasting and prayer. The day should perhaps coincide with the Jewish day of atonement (Yorn Kippur) and some of the prayers should be translations from the Hebrew. AS Wi NEAR the three quarter mark of the century we seem less certain than ever before that the apocalyptic evils we have witnessed since the First World War are behind us. The unanticipated Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has crystallized the recognition that Colonialism has been transferred from the East to the West. Progress? Congressional correspondence has been running hot and heavy this session. A lot of letters from the folks back home have been inspired by con* cern over taxes, inflation ana government spending, including no doubt, the 41 per cent pay raise Congress voted for itself. Some congressmen compljSJnecJ they were being swamp* ed by the volume of mail. The result: The House of Representatives has auth.orize4 the hiring of $35 extra jclerJts, qua for every ememb.er. The cost: $3.8 million a year. Sometimes you can't win for losing. The future wars of liberation will be fought in Europe. The resurgence of anti-Semitism in Russia revives the threat of a final solution. Is it totally impossible thai one morning we shall learn lhat the Russians have decided to harass their .lews from the earth? Nor can we tell what the rapidly escalating Negro problem in this counlry is leading to. And what effect would defeat and humiliation in Vietnam have on America? One has the feeling that Ihe twentieth century will be a continuous hell to the end—one crisis after another, until all passions have burned themselves out. (Copyright 1969 by Eric Hoi'fer; distribuled by Ihe Ledger Syndicate, Inc.) Aw, Rats! Well, somebody finally built a better mousetrap and did the world beat a path to his door? A clean, noiseless, sanitary, humane, efficient and thoroughly modem mousetrap marketed by a manufacturer in Lititz, Pa., after much expensive research, was a commercial flop and "the worst shelf-warmer in the company's history," reports the Financial Times of London. The company invested more money to find out what happened. It learned that housewives, who evidently make the nation's mouslrap buying dcisions, don't want anything sleek, streamlined, scientific and permanent looking. All they want is something that can be thrown away along with the mouse. So much for another adage. Numbers When the military does anything, it docs it by the numbers—and numbers are something it has plenty of. Each member of the armed forces has a serial number, plus a social security number (as a taxpaying citizen) and a military occupational classification number. In hopes of cutting down on some of their massive paperwork, easing the load on computers that handle pay records and providing "speedy and direct data interchange" between of' fices, the Army and Air Force are putting the records of incoming person* nel under social security numbers instead of the traditional serial nun> bers. Beginning July 1, each new recruit will be assigned his own social seeur. ily number, or a new one if he doesn't already have one, upon his arrival at the reception center, The Navy is slated to follow with this procedure in 1970 and the Marine Corps in 1971, The Internal Revenue Service i<Jen* tifies each taxpayer with his social security number. Now the services will. Banks and credit card issuers have long talked of doing the same. The time is corning when each new* horn baby will be issued a lifetime dog tag bearing his own number, good for registering in school, for driving car, fox making purchases, for writ, ing a check, for going to war, for paying taxes, for collecting a pension and, undoubtedly, for reserving a slot in the cemetery, Wider Base Vlfol To Saigon Future WASHINGTON (NEA) The National Libef alien Front and President Thief's Saigon government ate locked in a major political stalemate in South Vietnam which is ho less significant than the bloody i on the battlefields. The NLF's formation of a provisional tnent was, among other things, an acknowledgement that the front's political struggle for the vital allegiance of larger and larger numbers of South Vietnam* ese was not going well. The provisional government, embracing also the secondary Alliance of National Democratic and Peace Forces, is a new net intended to draw in Wavering or uncommitted elements of South Vietnamese society and suggest to America and the world— at heavy cost to Saigon-lhe advancing "legitimacy" of the Viet Cong. Off the record of the NLF and the Alliance (form* ed in early 1968 for the same purpose, though on a less pretentious scale), the new political mechanism prob ably will not succeed. But, by the same token, the Saigon government is not widening its popular base, eigher. Worse still, it is not trying. In fact, rather than welcoming new, diverse, and often healthy opposing elements, Thieu and other leaders have discouraged them. In critical instances, they have represed them. There is nothing really startling in this, of course, since Saigon governments from the time of the 1954 Geneva accords have been characteristically inhospit* able to new elements they perceived as potentially threatening to their power. If, as now seems likely, the American military role in Vietnam is hereafter destined to diminish at a fairly steady pace, Saigon will obviously need all the home-based support i lean get to survive more or less on its own. And it will need sympathy abroad which, as a basically repressive regime for all its new constitutional forms, it does not enjoy today. A following report will examine the important reasons why, over the years, Saigon has usually spurned moves toward a widened base or has simply blown opportunities toward that end. It has been saved from itself, sometimes too thoroughly, by the great American military presence and the persistent inability of the NLF, the Viet Cong and related groups to make the enduring political alliances they need in South Vietnam. Estimates by allegedly detached observers in Saigon suggest thai the NLF and its ''provisional government" today could command no more than 15 per cent of the South Vietnamese population as either hardcore or sympathetic supporters. Hardcore strength is figured at around 750,000 but this includes some 300,000 Viet Cong and civilian members of the NLF. Should these figures be even just roughly accurate, Hanoi's present reluctance to sanction early elections in South Vietnam is understandable. In the elections proposed for July, 1956, by the Geneva pact (but never held), it was broadly assumed that both North and South Vietnam would vote— on the general subject of reunification— and that the then more populous Communist North would engulf the rival South. No such prospect is currently envisioned. An election this time would be limited to the South, and to the choosing of a government for Saigon under the terms of a new military and political settlement, However firm Hanoi stands against such a test today, its leaders know they will have to pay some price for the withdrawal of major U.S. forces from Vietnam. Internationally supervised elections are the obvious American bargaining weapon. It is perhaps this recognition which puts urgency in the NLF's new quest for a greater hold on the South Vietnamese people. Yet, beyond the "provisional government" gambit, Hanoi may very well be fresh out of compelling popular appeals. in

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