The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on August 28, 1975 · Page 8
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August 28, 1975

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 8

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Thursday, August 28, 1975
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OPINION Thurt., Aug. 28,197* flcojgtcr DAVID KRUIDENIER, Praident «nd Publaher KENNETH MACDONALD, Editor MICHAEL GARTNER, Executive Bdilor LAUREN SOTH, RHtorwl Page Editor J. ROBERT HUDSON, Dinttor of Marketing LOUIS H. NORR15, B**i*mt Manaper _ An Independent Newipaper THE REGISTER'S EDITORIALS Phony arguments on arms Retired Admirals Elmo R. Zumwalt, jr., and Worth Bagley are campaigning to block a new strategic arms limitation agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. Negotiators of the two countries are working on an agreement for possible signing before the year is out. Zumwalt and Bagley, with support from Senators Henry Jackson (Dem., Wash.), James Buckley (Cons.-Rep., N.Y.) and others, argue that (1) the Soviet Union has been violating the 1972 strategic arms limitation agreements; and (2) the treaty the negotiators are working on will give the Soviet Union enormous superiority in strategic weapons Instead of the equality the Senate insisted on for new arms agreements when it approved the 1972 agreements. The alleged violations are not violations, but merely Soviet exploratory pressing into loopholes provided in the agreements. In some cases, the Soviet Union has stopped the practices complained of; in others, the. U.S. government has accepted the Soviet contention that no violation was involved. Zumwalt's equality argument is even more phony. The new'agreement is to be based on the principles which President Ford and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev signed at Vladivostok in November, 1974, after many months of negotiations by their military and diplomatic experts. The Vladivostok agreement called for equality of numbers in two respects: 1. Equality for the United States and the Soviet Union in number of strategic (long-distance) nuclear delivery vehicles, including land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles; submarine-based nuclear missiles; and intercontinental bombing planes carrying nuclear bombs. The number agreed on is 2,400 for the total of all three types. The U.S. wants to count the Soviet Backfire bomber, which can fly one way between Russia and America; the Soviets do not. The Soviets want to count the new U.S. long-distance cruise missiles, which are not ballistic but fly through the air on wings with guidance near the target; the U.S. does not. But both agree on equality at 2,400. 2, There is also to be equality between the two countries in the number of these 2,400 delivery vehicles which may carry multiple, independently targeted re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) with nuclear warheads. The agreed number is 1,320. Zumwalt argues that these equalities mask two inequalities, in megatons and warheads. The Soviet Union has long gone in for heavy-lift missiles and big warheads, so it has far more megatons of explosive power in its 2,400 vehicles than the U.S. has. Right now, with a head start on MIRV- ing, the U.S. has many more warheads than Russia, but once Russia catches up on MIRVing, it could have even more warheads within the agreed limits on delivery vehicles. But Zumwalt's comment is beside the point. The agreement will put no limit on megatons or on number of warheads, but only on delivery vehicles and MIRVed delivery vehicles. The U.S. could, if it chose, match Soviet megatons and keep ahead on warheads within the agreement, by converting to more powerful missiles. The relatively small U.S. warheads and missiles were a deliberate choice by U.S. military men, to avoid wasting so much overkill in the center of an explosion. The agreefflent now taking shape promises equality at a hideously high level of destructive capacity and leaves both sides free to enlarge that capacity in anything but numbers of strategic delivery vehicles and MIRVs. Who pays for rail service? "Those elevators are just about everything hi a small town. If the elevator falls on hard tunes, then so does the whole community." — Bill Brown, vice- president, Tri-County State Bank, Zearing. Those elevators will fall on hard times if they lose their rail service. The higher cost of truck hauling would put them at a disadvantage against elevators located on rail lines that can take unit- trains of jumbo grain cars. This is one of several important economic and social issues at stake in a suit in federal court in Des Moines. The suit was brought by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to force the Chicago & North Western Railway to reopen the Marshalltown-Roland branch, which it let deteriorate and then stopped operating. The ICC charges that the railroad, by refusing to supply cars or service, saw to it that business fell below the 34- carload-per-year-per-mile ICC guideline upheld by the Supreme Court as pre- sumptive'evidence for abandoning a rail line. The North Western says it wants to close many of its "non-viable" lines and use the saving to repair viable lines. The railroad contends that small elevators and boxcar shipments of grain - a heritage from the days of dirt roads and horse-drawn wagons — are obsolete. A study made several years ago at Iowa State University supports this point of view. It suggested that small, rail-less elevators (if retained) serve as satellites to regional elevators able to ship by the trainload. Another issue Involves energy and the environment. Trains generally haul four to six times as much freight per unit of fuel as trucks. But that saving is greatest with long trains on long hauls, and relatively meager on little branchline trains. The 1,000 or so carloads a year required on the Roland line to meet the 34-car standard would translate into five or six big trucks a day. A third issue revolves around the duties of private common carriers, or the state, to provide transportation at a loss. The regulated private carrier in theory is given a chance to make enough profit on some routes to subsidize others. But this theory no longer works well for railroads, because they have lost their monopoly and can't make enough on their better lines to support many of their weaker ones. So the government is faced with deciding either that (1) the endangered service is useful and should be subsidized, or (2) that the greater public interest lies in not putting tax money into something like the Roland line. * * * The'Northeast railroad reorganization plan (ConRail) identified 5,700 miles of lines similar to the Roland branch. Some of the more useful of these are proposed for inclusion in ConRail (which is expected to be a for-prqjfit enterprise after it receives a lot o$ government help getting started). But most of the branch lines were put on the block, designated for subsidy if states want them badly enough to put up $3 for each $7 of federal money to keep them going. The rest of the nation would benefit from the same kind of careful inventory of its railroad resources. Until this is done, it will be a matter of one railroad deciding it can't afford a particular line, and another railroad deciding it still can afford a similar one. The question before the court is whether the North Western acted illegally in closing the Roland branch. But the broader issue, which the court cannot decide directly is: Who pays for train service to Roland and how much? And who pays, and how much, if trains never again run to Roland? Upgrading schools for retarded A major rebuilding project is planned for Iowa's two hospital-schools for the mentally retarded at Woodward and Glenwood to make them eligible for federal cost-sharing. At present, counties pay 80 per cent of the cost of care at the two facilities, and (he state pays the remainder. (Counties may recover their share of the cost from the families of the residents, but seldom do.) Two years ago Congress amended the Medicaid law to extend health care cov- i-'i age to residents of public institutions. The federal government will pay at li'fist half the cost of their care (57 per ('•nt in Iowa). To qualify for Medicaid, i!if physical plants and the care and training programs at the two facilities must be improved. The Legislature appropriated $500,000 ior a revolving fund to finance improvements. When the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare accepts the site's improvement plans, Medicaid funds will become available to replace money spent from the revolving fund. Medicaid pays the loan interest on borrowed state funds and pays the principal by covering depreciation costs. The influx of federal funds will sharply reduce (from 80 per cent to 43 per cent) the share of the costs borne by the counties. But the financial benefit to counties probably will be offset by the cost of improvements necessary to meet Medicaid requirements. The change in the law allowing use of Medicaid funds for the retarded in institutions will result in improved services for the 1,500 retarded at Woqdward and Glenwood. But the needs of another 1,200 are still to be met. That is the number of retarded persons estimated to be living in Iowa nursing homes lacking adequate facilities and services for the retarded. Monopoly pricing and inflation By HOBART ROWEN Washington Pnt N«wt Itrviet Inflation has reared its Ugly head again, and the administration's assurance that "double-dig i t" price increases won't persist misses the point. Double-digit or no, price escalation is on the march, and it is going to get worse before it gets better. The sad part of this inflation story is that much of it has been made In Washington (I'm not talking about the impact of budget deficits). The rest of it has been manufactured in the board rooms of American Industry, which, forgetting what the free-enterprise system Is all about, has been raising prices despite falling demand. . T ^ e J^ji_perj^t_pver-alLrate_of July inflation, invojvtag a 32 per cent increase for fuel and 22 per cent for food (all annualized and compounded rates), can't be blamed on any world-wide com, modities boom or on excessive consumer demand at home or on outsized demand by the unions. This is not a case of "too many dollars chasing too few goods." Yet, history suggests that the Ford administration's response will be to apply the monetary and fiscal brakes a bit harder That won't bring food and fuel prices down, but it will slow the pace of the economic recovery. Then we can enjoy high food prices, high gasoline prices, and higher unemployment all at once. Down the river The fuel part of the inflation is the end result of a game of political "chicken" played by the Ford administration and a Democratic Congress. Their joint ineptness has resulted not only in the absence of any program of energy conservation,, but in decontrol of all U.S. price controls on oil as of Sept. 1. Decontrol, economist Arthur Okun estimates, is probably worth a full point on the Consumer Price Index, and another boost by the oil-producers' cartel' would cost about the same. On food, believe it or not, the American public is getting sold down the river again as it was in 1972. Enormous new sales of grain to the Russians have driven the price of wheat and corn way up. Unless American crops prove to be especially bountiful, the American consumer eventually will pay the price for this mindless non-policy — not in pennies for bread but in dollars for meat. There is no logical reason why the U.S. should be at the mercy of deals made by a Tiandful of private U.S. agribusiness corporations. But perhaps the most serious aspect of the current and impending inflation relates to tin non-fuel, non-food area. Administration officials had been priding themselves on the fact that for several months, the "bedrock," or underlying, rate of inflation had been running at only 4 or 5 per cent annually. i Falling demand But what happened in July? That "bedrock" rate — everything except food and fuel — rose at an annual rate of 11 per cent. It Is true, as economists like to say, that one month doesn't make a trend. But the signs for the future are not good: several leading American Industries, including autos, steel, aluminum, and paper, are raising prices In the teeth of falling demand. What has happened to the old free- market concept that demand has something to o> with prices? More and more, major industries Ignore weak demand for their products, and raise their prices, regardless. On "Face the Nation" recently, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Arthur Burns acknowledged that "this is a dangerous trend." Even more explicitly, Princeton Professor Albert Rees, until a few weeks ago director of the Council on Wage and Price Stability (CWPS), noted that in contrast to the usual pattern of declining prices during a recession, this time "list prices of most industrial goods have not declined, and they are beginning to rise very early In the recovery." If the auto, steel, and other industries can make their prices stand up in the face of weak markets, something is seriously wrong with the American economic system. One consequence surely will be renewed talk about wage-price intervention by government. Even before the July price skyrocket, Burns dropped a hint into congressional testimony that something' better than the largely .ineffective CWPS operation now may be necessary. Without even subpoena power, CWPS is toothless. Mostly praying Ford and his band of advisers are ideologically incapable of thinking about meaningful wage-price intervention now. Mostly, they are praying for good crop weather, and self-imposed restraint by the oil industry after decontrol. ; But if autos, steel and the rest of them get away with their recent monopoly-style pricing practices, Burns's whispered suggestion on controls could grow into the kind of crescendo that even the ideologues at 1600 Pennsylvania may have to listen to. America's important 'allies' in Russia By ALEXANDER YANOV © ins, Niw York Timit In spite of all the respect I feel, as a newcomer, for the foreign policy of the United States, it somehow reminds me of an old film: It is hopelessly black- and-white. Take the formulations governing the conception of detente. There is a "white" position: A bad peace is better than a good quarrel, contacts of any sort are better than thermonuclear war. And there is a "black" position: In providing the Soviet Union with credits and technology, we forget Munich, and at our own expense we cultivate a new Stalin. I would like not so much to refute the veracity of the model as to introduce a shade of color, a nuancing and a shadowing into the picture, and to rally the Western intellect to a more careful investigation of the changes that have taken place in the depths of Soviet society since the time of the tyrant Stalin's death. Note the following: The irrationality of the economic-administrative mechanism was defended during Stalin's time by all the terrorist power at the command of the punitive machine, the secret police, which, entered into an open confrontation with the political machine (the elite of party functionaries), while at the same time creating even its own economic base, the famous Gulag, or system of prison camps. t Reform attempts The twentieth parly congress, in 1956, when de-Stalinization began, was essentially a successful revolt of the political machine against the punitive apparatus. But this victory entailed inevitable consequences: the collapse of the independent political role of the secret police, and with it the economic role of Gulag. But the Khrushchevian system of regional economic administration — a desperate attempt to liberate the economy from the centralized control of the party bosses — and Premier Aleksei N. Kosygin's reform (an attempt to stimulate the economy by profit-oriented devices) and the Brezhnev "corporation"type industrial concerns that he proclaimed at the twenty-fourth Congress, Alexander Yanov, a writer who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1974, is a scholar-in-residence at New York City's Queens College. This article was translated from the Russian by Sidney Moil as. in 1971 — all these are merely faltering attempts to replace Gulag with new administrative-economic forms. So far, they have been without results. For the country has fallen into a chronic depression; its economy stagnates. At the same time, a new generation of managers has come to leadership positions in the Soviet economy, unterror- ized by the punitive machine and possessing a kind of inherent sense of economic initiative. There is a socio-economic conflict throughout the Soviet system. The stratum of "socialist managers" is today, though tacit and latent, nevertheless, the only real mass opposition to the regime. This conflict has long since passed beyond the limits of production meetings. It rages in the Soviet press. It has burst into literature. It echoes in the theater. Dozens of journalists daringly raise questions. And only the West is incomprehensibly deaf and indifferent to the striking fact that in the depths of the autocratic system, under the conditions of a nationalized economy, a certain analogue of the Western "third estate" — the common people — has entered the arena. These managers believe that the only way out of stagnation presumes a total reconstruction of the economy, impossible without placing economic limitations on otherwise unlimited power, and presumes cooperation with Western capital and Western thought. It presumes detente. Natural ally To put it briefly, these are the very people who are the actual mainspring of detente in the Soviet Union. Alas, not one of the conceptions of detente now dominant in the West reflects this fundamental fact, or seeks avenues of cooperation with its only natural ally in the Soviet Union. Yet if Western political leaders, businessmen and intellectuals wish to avoid an analogue of Munich, they must cooperate with this stratum, with the Soviet middle managerial class. And the benefits of detente Leonid I. Brezhnev has long been promising to his Politburo should fall not on the Soviet m i 1 i t a r y-industrial complex but on that latent Soviet opposition that alone is capable of transforming the Soviet Union from an untrustworthy competitor, not worth a red cent, to a partner worthy of confidence. Hopeful view. LETTERS Sap mail carriers being harassed To the Editor: If you are disturbed with the service you are presently receiving from your local post office, don't blame your mail carrier. On the whole, moat carriers, both city and rural, go out of their way to give service to their patrons but their efforts are being curtailed by poor administrative policies. In an effort to curb deficit spending, the postal service is limiting and harassing carriers to the point where they must either reduce service to their customers or forfeit their jobs. Management is trying to limit spending by Suppressing i the very services that people appreciate and have come to expect. I have been both a city and rural carrier during the past year and recently I quit the post office under pressure by management which insisted I save time on my route. Most carriers are running full speed now and the only way to shave time off a route is to reduce service to its customers. Mail lies hi sacks for untold days, rather than have the clerks spend the man- hours necessary to sort it. Insured packages, registered and certified letters, and C.O.D. parcels are not delivered, but notices given rather than have the carriers spend the time delivering them. Carriers case their mail with lights and air-conditioners off in an effort to save electricity. In one post office in this county, employes are expected and often do work "off-the-clock" in order to move the mail. All this goes overlooked as management spends the majority of its time keeping track of the carriers' time. Postal rates will continue to rise and service decline under the present administrative policies which hamstring your carrier from doing his job and perpetuate conflict that results in carriers leaving their jobs. - James E. Ahart, Spirit Lake, la., 51360. Disputes Harris on Shakespeare To the Editor: Sydney Harris's discussion of Shakespeare [Aug. 1 Register] calls for comment. He incorrectly asserts there is not "the slightest reference to the theater as a craft, much less an art," "nothing to suggest that Shakespeare was a literary person, . . . nor that he ever exuded a drop of human kindness and compassion." True, Harris cites S. Schoenbaum in "William Shakespeare, a Documentary Life." But the fact remains that Shakespeare was identified with plays. In 1600 — Shakespeare was how at the meridian of his career —' appeared an all'but forgotten book, England's Parnassus — three editions that year. Evidence appears in this collection of poetry that Shakespeare wrote plays — dramas that exuded human kindness and compassion, and much else. Under "Death" is this from "Richard II," 1598, II, i, 5: The toongs of dying men Inforce attention like deep harmony, Where words are scarce, they are sil- dom spent in vaine: For they breath truth, that breath their words in paine. He that no more must say, is lissened more, Then they whom youth and ease haue taught to glose: More are mens ends markt, then their liues before. The setting sunne and musick at the close, As the last tast of sweet is sweetest last, Writ in remembrance more, then things long past. Under "Thoughts" is this from "1 Henry IV," 1598, V, ii, 81: Thoughts are the slaues of life, and life times foole, And time that takes suruey of all the ~ - --Must haue a stop. Under "Love" appears "Romeo and Juliet," 1599, 1, 1, 196: Loue is a smoake made with fume of sighes,- Being purg'd, a fier sparkling in Louers eies, Being vext, a sea, nourisht with louing teares, What is it else? a madnesse most dis- trest, A choaking gall, and preseruing sweet — Shakespeare, moreover, in this volume stands with moralists and patriots: Spenser, Daniel, Drayton, among others. . . . — E. P. Kohl, Department of English, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52240. Pet overpopulation To the Editor: [Regarding the Aug. 23 Register story on the numbers of dogs and cats in the U.S.]: While we're giving facts, let's get to the remedy. Have your cat or dog spayed or neutered. . . . It's up to dog and cat owners to do this and pass the word around. — Mrs. Merritt McCoy, Clarion, la. Watch your step To the Editor: ... The article stated that "solid dog waste amounts to 4 million tons a day" from "35.1 million dogs." That's 228 pounds per dog per day. It really isn't that much, it only seems like that much when you step in it, or hit it with a rotary mower. ... — Howard Brouwer, Ventura, la. 50482. A call for leadership in Boston desegregation An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor. As Boston reaches the final weeks before the start of school, it has the opportunity to show the nation an example of constitutional leadership in keeping with its bicentennial claims to fame. And positive leadership rather than "minimal compliance" with desegregation law is required at all levels of government, as was emphasized in last week's report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In terms of legal and political maneuver, this gives U.S. District Judge Garrity ammunition which he appears to have accepted without immediately specifying its exact use. To strip the school committee of its powers, as has been done elsewhere, would risk making martyrs of these elected officials. But Boston's desperate need is to go beyond maneuverings and to establish the climate for obedience to the law that many individual parents, teachers and others are working hard to support. Surety the school committee, with its central responsibility, should desist from the actions which Garrity says are "creatively designed to frustrate court orders." The impact of such actions and attitudes is pinned down in the civil- rights commission's report: "The effect of its [the school committee's] statements, policy and inaction was to foster within the community outright resistance to school desegration." Indeed, it was such recalcitrance by previous officials over the years which kept Boston from taking the steps to implement desegregation that could have forestalled the busing now reluctantly required by Garrity to prevent further violation of the law. Other cities can learn from Boston's mistakes. But, as the commission states, not only city officials are to blame. It alludes to President Ford's ill-timed remarks against busing last year (which 'he incredibly repeated on the brink of the coming school year). Strong leadership would diminish worries about violence and build on the forward movement in Boston schools which went unnoticed by a national television audience seeing mainly the darker side. In the midst of its criticism, the civil-rights commission concludes that "on balance, substantial progress was made in Boston ... in the direction of upholding and implementing the constitutional rights of children and young people."

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