Skip to main content
The largest online newspaper archive
A Publisher Extra® Newspaper

Herald and Review from Decatur, Illinois • Page 12

Herald and Reviewi
Decatur, Illinois
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

Page A 12 Decatur. Illinois. Tuesday. DVcrmber It. 1980 Opinion- Candor needed on economy Wayne E.

Schile Publisher Thomas L. Blount Editor Richard D. Brautigam Managing Editor CENTRAL ILLINOIS Hobart Rouen confidence in the government's ability to solve the economic dilemma. Sen. Robert Dole, who will take over the Senate Finance Committee from Russell Long, said on "Meet the Press" recently that Reagan might declare an "economic emergency" that would be "followed by some action to really shock the American people because we are in deep trouble in America and it's going to be up to President Reagan to lift us out of it." But Reagan's advisers, though they'd like the psychological benefit that would come from such a dramatic move, are chary about declaring a national emergency.

Univer- Commentary Don't delay on gasoline tax despite the tense Russo-Polish tin-derbox, and that it would be nice if the president-elect could find some dramatic way of generating new The Washington Post Company WASHINGTON When Ronald Reagan is sworn in next Jan. 20, he will be confronted with rising unemployment, interest rates at or near record highs, and the economy, in general, in a mess. Like John F. Kennedy, who blamed a similar situation on the Republicans, Reagan can put the monkey on Carter's back and take credit if he later "gets the economy moving again." Reagan adviser Alan Greenspan says high interest rates "currently are choking off" economic growth (and putting the final coffin nail in the decaying U.S. auto industry).

Greenspan predicts the early part of 1981 will be "very soggy" for the economy as a whole. Economist Otto Eckstein observes that Reagan thus will inherit "an economy which can only get better in response to his policy moves." But Reagan has a tougher assignment than did Kennedy 20 years ago. We didn't know it at the time, but the 1960 recession that helped tip the election away from Richard Nixon was just about over when Kennedy took office in 1961. But all signs indicate that the present situation is still deteriorating, with business in a credit squeeze, inflation in double digits, and the jobless rate heading for 8 percent by spring. If you want yet another depressing thought, remember that if the world has one more bad harvest next year, retail food price inflation (which has been a "mere" 10.1 percent over the last 12 months) could easily be 20 percent.

And lurking in the wings is yet another OPEC price increase despite the current excess-supply situation. Meanwhile, soaring interest rates have helped to put both housing and the auto industry on the skids. And, as if the economy needed yet another blow, there will be the Jan. 1 increase in Social Security taxes, taking another $20 billion bite out of consumer purchasing power. So the big question in Washington these days is: What can Reagan do about this sick economy? Didn't his campaign rhetoric about tax cuts and a new golden age for America raise expectations too high? This question also preoccupies Reagan's advisers, who recognize that dealing with inflation and the economy must be his No.

1 priority sity. of Michigan economist Paul McCracken, who has been through the mill once before as Richard Nixon's economic council chairman, told me that a national emergency might only lead to a demand by liberal Democrats for wage and price controls. What McCracken would rather see is a frank admission by Reagan at the very start that there Is very little that can be done in the short term. This may not match the campaign rhetoric, but it's the truth. For is more or less stuck with Carter's budget for 1981, and any cuts will be symbolic or minimal.

This kind of candor may puncture overblown expectations, but could establish a sense of credibility. He could then concentrate on getting at least the first year of the Kemp-Roth tax cut through Congress, anticipating passage by mid-1981. The reductions (possibly made retroactive to Jan. 1) would come into being coincident with a spring recession, and help to give the economy a slight lift His team could begin working on the major budget shifts it wants for fiscal 1982. But that won't solve the current major dilemma of the economy outlandishly high interest rates.

In a speech to one of the Reagan think tanks, the America Enterprise Institute, McCracken laid out a four-point economic program for Reagan. It stresses steadier ibut not necessarily monetarist) policies for the Federal Reserve Board, and a more moderate fiscal policy that will make it easier for monetary policy to stay on course. McCracken would push for tax cuts stressing investment (so will Dole), and a liberal, non-protectionist trading policy. And finally, he advises Reagan to stay away from the kind of re-industrialization policy that focuses on bail-outs. A steady-as-you-go policy hardly corresponds to anything even vaguely dramatic.

It may be difficult to sustain in the wake of some of next year's grim economic tidings. But the public is more sophisticated about economic issues than many observers give them credit for being. If Reagan or anyone else promises a quick fix. they'd laugh him out of town. The New Orleans Saints might as well promise to win the Super Bowl in 1981.

state still collects only lxk cents. With people conserving gasoline, even less money will be available for roads unless the formula is changed. Perhaps because of the election campaign, Thompson, after a flurry of statements last spring, has laid low in recent months on the formula change. Thompson's history on taxes isn't encouraging. His tendency has been to announce with a great flourish a crisis only new revenue can resolve, then back away when all the predictable complaints come pouring in from special interests.

What Thompson seems unwilling to learn is that few are going to praise a politician for a tax increase, even when the need is demonstrable. More money is needed for roads. The word crisis is overused, but one does exist in the state's transportation network, now in a rapid state of decay. It will get worse if Thompson fails to provide the leadership to convince the reluctant among legislators and the public of the real need for more money to get on with U.S. 51 and other badly needed road projects.

WITH DECEMBER rapidly melting toward January and a new session of the General Assembly, Gov. James R. Thompson and the folks around him still seem uncertain about road funding changes. Thompson has thrown trial balloons all across the sky, the first one being a need to change the formula for the gasoline tax from a fixed rate of Vh cents a gallon to a percentage of the retail price. Then, Thompson began talking about increases of the sin taxes alcohol and cigarettes to raise money for roads.

This idea should be dumped. Only a huge increase would make the revenue gains worth the trouble. And it would hurt business, particularly near borders with other states. People who buy cigarettes and liquor out of state are supposed to pay a user tax to Illinois. But there's no way to enforce the law, except through roadblocks.

Thompson's best bet is to go with changing the formula for the road fund. The current rate was set in 1969 when gasoline sold for about 30 cents a gallon. At $1.25 and more a gallon, the Bum deal for DeBartolo yThis be a real attention-getter. Satire new book is a jewel Universal Press Syndicate WASHINGTON If your Christmas gift list includes someone who loves the language truly loves words, their meaning and their us age let me suggest the perfect present: u- liam Satire's "On Language." It is pure fun. MAJOR LEAGUE baseball is again in disgrace for rejecting construction magnate Edward DeBartolo's $20 million offer to buy the Chicago White Sox.

A multimillionaire from Youngstown, Ohio, DeBartolo is a rags to riches story, having built a fortune by having the foresight to get in early on the construction of shopping centers. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's alleged reasons for leading a' crusade against DeBartolo that he would be an absentee owner and has racetrack interests are patently absurd. Many owners of teams live in other cities. George Steinbren-ner (owner of the New York Yankees) lives in Tampa, and John Galbreath (owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates) in Columbus, Ohio. Galbreath and Steinbrenner are also each involved in horse racing.

Even worse was a "fear" expressed by Kuhn that widespread business interests would prevent DeBartolo from giving proper attention to the White Sox. But the same could be said of virtually every other owner. Few team owners rely any more on the income they might get from the team. What we're left with is a nasty suspicion that Kuhn and the oth er American League owners are suspicious of DeBartolo's Italian heritage. Hints of DeBartolo's alleged involvement with organized crime were bandied about during a vicious campaign in which he was judged guilty of being an Italian-American.

What is curious is that DeBartolo's background was turned inside out by the Illinois Racing Board a few years when he purchased a track near Chicago. Headed at the time by former state Rep. Anthony Scariano, an Italian-American who loathes the mob, the commission gave DeBartolo a "squeaky clean" rating. So did the National Football League and the National Hockey League when he purchased the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Penguins. By contrast, the free-wheeling Steinbrenner was convicted of perjury for lying about a campaign contribution to former President Richard Nixon.

What can be done now isn't clear. DeBartolo has threatened to file suit. It may also be time for Congress to review exemptions given organized baseball. DeBartolo seems to have gotten a shabby deal from people whose own line isn't spotless. James J.

The volume is a meaty collection of Satire's Sunday pieces for The New York Times, interlarded with scores of shame-on-you letters of amplification and correction from his readers. My brother pundit may not be as eminent an Kilpatrick ConimcntarxA i authority as the Times late master, Theodore Bernstein. He may not match the erudition of such linguistic professionals as Henry Fowler, Ernest Gowers, Roy Copperud, Basil Cottle and Wilson Follett. But by golly, Safire goes haring through the fields of usage like a beagle on a is the use of "media" in the singular. For most of us in the news business, this is a tooth-grinder.

The media never is, the media always are. He also objects strenuously to the prettifiers that hang onto usage like tassels on a lampshade. A used car these days is not a used car, but rather a "pre-owned" or even an "experienced" car. Maids have become "household technicians." A recession is a "rolling readjustment." and a flack, publicity chief or press agent has risen to director of an "Office of Public Awareness." Here and there my Homer nods. (The cliche is by Pope out of Horace: Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus.) Safire has embraced the orphan "hopefully." as in "hopefully, the sun will rise." He does not even flinch at such verbs as "to impact" and "to obsolete." He is entirely too tolerant of "to prioritize." He has a lamentable habit of using "since" when "because" would be better.

But by and large (the expression comes out of sailing, and once meant to sail alternately not alternatively close to the wind and with the wind abeam or aft), forgive the degression, my brother Safire scores exceedingly well. I wish he had turned around on "fulsome." and "transpire." and "nauseous," and "virtually." and "pinch-hitter" (which means something more than "substitute" or but we can't have everything all at once. Safire's "On Language" is a box of Christmas candies for anyone who savors words. The temptation is to eat them all at once. hedgerow.

On most points, my brother Is sound. He wants to preserve the nice distinction between 'anxious" and "eager. He Insists that one does not graduate college; one graduates from college. He scorns those language slobs who use "less" when they mean "fewer." He fights one more round against the misuse of "liter thinking of the beautiful Helen, if this were "the face that launched a number of ships." Or Lincoln at Gettysburg: "A number of years ago, our fathers brought forth All of us who write for a living have such crotchets. (A crotchet, for the record, started out as a small hooked Instrument, and emerged by metamorphosis as "a highly individual and usually eccentric opinion or One of my own losing crusades has to do with "replica," which as any schoolboy ought to know, is a reproduction or facsimile made by the maker of the original work.

Language slobs have let this precise and lovely word degenerate to the point that we now read about replicas of Roman coins, Greek temples and 18th-century sailing ships. Safire has his own pet peeves, starting, of course, with "pet peeve." He contemplates acquiring a dog, to be introduced to visitors as "my pet. Peeve." Among his major irritations Remember folks back home ally," as In, "she literally mopped up the court with her opponent." Safire charges head-on against "a number of," as in, "Pretoria has ordered the expulsion of a number of embassy personnel." If the writer does not know precisely, or even approximately, how many diplomats have been expelled, such preferable fudges are available as "a few," or "several," or "dozens." or "scores." Suppose Marlowe had inquired. 'Signs of the times 9 confusing But the added duties also will take time they previously used to deal with the interests of their constituents. Back home, the folks may begin to feel they're being ignored.

This complaint was frequently raised against John Brademas and Al Ullman, two powerful Democrats defeated this year. Chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee seem particularly vulnerable. Percy's two immediate predecessors J. William Fulbright and Frank Church both were dismissed from office by the voters. Added responsibility for national and international matters can provide luster for congressmen so long as they pause to remember the folks back home.

WHILE IT'S nice to see Illinois Republicans moving closer to the head of the line in Congress, it also poses dangers. With the GOP ready to take control of the Senate, Sen. Charles Percy will become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In the House, Rep. Robert Michel of Peoria was elected House minority leader.

Closer to home, Rep. Edward Madigan of Lincoln will become chairman of the House Republican Research Committee. What dangers are there to those who move up the ladder? To an extent a leadership position will give a legislator added clout to get projects for the district or state. William Safire Commentary r. MADE WITHOUT CUSTOMER BEING PRESENT." Graphic design takes an award at Harold's Chicken Shack in Hyde Park.

Chicago. David Harmin describes a sign that has a large "NO" on the left, and smaller lettering on the right saying: "DOGS EATING BICYCLES." Though this may have been intended as an admonition against three sins, taken together it warns of an event that has not often been witnessed. (My pet. Peeve, munching a tire, acknowledges the regards sent from Paula Diamond's bete. Noire.

Competition was keen for the sexiest sign. "SOFT SHOULDERS" was a frequently submitted entry; a subtler message was sent in by Fritz Golden of Philadelphia, who read a Kama Sutra meaning Into the countertop signs at ticket windows: "NEXT POSITION. PLEASE But the best can be found In Manhattan, at many intersections. "I picture people prostrating themselves in the crosswalk." writes Barbara NicoU of Hartsdale. N.Y..

"to be seduced or even just tickled by passers-by The romantic grabber: "YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS IN CROSSWALK." New York Times News Service The most threatened man In the English-speaking world must be named William Stickers. Throughout Great Britain, blank walls and freshly painted fences bear the admonition: "BILL STICKERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. His accomplice, Bill Posters, has also been widely warned, although In the United States the sign painter usually prefers the antimail "POST NO BILLS." Time now for the first annual "Signs of the Times" awards, for the most engaging, cryptic or confusing notices posted on purpose by serious people. (From the injunction in the New Testament: ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the The sign requiring the most patience: At the Howard Johnson restaurant near Cornell University, patrons are greeted with a notice reading "PLEASE WAIT FOR HOSTESS TO BE SEATED." Reports student Leslie Sara Goldsmith: "I waited patiently for about 10 minutes, but the young lady failed to sit down, and feeling rather neglected, I felt compelled to sit first." The most glaring example of unparalleled construction: "NO BALL PLAYING, BIKE RIDING, LITTERING, SPITTING OR DOGS." Runner-up in this category is seen on Indiana highways: "WATCH YOUR SPEED WE ARE." The most imaginatively phrased, hand-lettered notice at City College of New York was submitted by Ed Early of Stamford, "MAILMAN, PLEASE LEAVE BOOK WHICH WAS DROPPED IN HERE YESTERDAY WITH THE ELEVATOR MAN." The most schizophrenic directive actually, two signs that beat as one was sent in by Thomas Clinton of the University of Pittsburgh: "NO SMOKING ON ELEVATORS USE STAIRS IN AN EMERGENCY." (Clinton, a chemistry teacher, also reports he saw a sign in an eyeglass shop that advertised: "EYES EXAMINED WHILE YOU WAIT." which he finds "by far the most comfortable The sign that most evokes sympathy for inanimate objects can be found, says Realtor Robert McKee of New York, on Connecticut's Merritt Parkway: "DEPRESSED STORM DRAINS." The sense of helplessness this sign summons is akin to "WATCH FOR FALLING ROCKS." Perhaps the sign writer means "fallen." Illinois motorists are still trying to figure out the South Lake Shore Drive advice: "DISABLED CARS REQUIRED TO PULL OFF ROADWAY." Most ubiquitous mistake in a sign is "TEN-ITEMS OR LESS" at speedy checkout counters in supermarkets. Perhaps we could do with fewer, or less, supermarkets.

A more creative semantic foul-up is reported by Selma Fischer to be in Woolworth's on Seventh Avenue and West 50th Street in New York: "NO ERROR "In their debate." writes Sally Urang of The New York Times picture desk, "both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan used presently' at least three times apiece to mean 'at the pre sent time. As you well know, 'presently means anon, 'in a little In olden times, "presently" meant "now" during the past few hundred years, it came to mean recently, it has begun to mean "now" again. What to do? Here's what to do never use the word. Alexander Haig I.

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 300+ newspapers from the 1700's - 2000's
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the Herald and Review
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

About Herald and Review Archive

Pages Available:
Years Available: