The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 13, 1992, Page 4, Image 4

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Welfare lab rats
Poor need education, not less money
Try to add one and two and come up empty-handed. It’s a
pretty tough equation.
But for Wisconsin residents who receive government
aid to raise their children, it soon will be possible to do just
Wisconsin has proposed, and the Bush Administration has
endorsed, a plan aimed at reducing spending on welfare.
President Bush said he was pleased to encourage Wisconsin
and other states to become “laboratories” for welfare reform.
Under the Wisconsin plan, a poor woman who has a child
will receive the usual amount of Aid to Families with Depend
ent Children. If she has another child, her benefits will increase
only by half. For a third child, there is no increase in benefits.
The theory behind the plan is that poor women have babies
to get more welfare money.
Yet, when Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson was asked to
give evidence to support that assumption, he replied that there
was none.
.. (B)ut there is no evidence to the contrary either,” he
So, the plan apparently was based on no evidence whatso
ever. TTiat doesn’t seem to be a sound way to make policy.
The plan has a number of other problems, too.
It does take a step away from a welfare Catch-22 by allow
ing working participants to keep the first $2UU and one-nail oi
other earnings each month. Previously, participants only could
keep the first $30 and one-sixth or one-third of earned income.
Proponents say the change will allow more recipients to
work — or have “personal responsibility,” in the words of
Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan. But
these proponents fail to acknowledge that the cost of child care
for working participants is high, perhaps higher than monthly
benefits and part-time work will allow.
The plan also sends the unsettling, barbaric message that,
while all poor children are unwanted, some are more unwanted
than others.
Instead of trying to reduce welfare spending in such an after
the-fact manner, Wisconsin officials should go for the heart of
the problem among the poor, lack of information about birth
control, combined with no inexpensive or readily available
means of contraception. Once those problems arc addressed,
officials can focus on secondary problems by providing inex
pensive and educational child care and job training for the
Wisconsin’s reforms, which will be tested over a 5-year
period, aren’t the only ones being considered. President Bush
said he wanted to encourage all states to try new ideas where
welfare was concerned.
More care should be taken in other states where reforms are
being considered.
After all, the poor children affected by such experiments
deserve better treatment than mere laboratory rats.
Clean air act picks on minority
1 want you lo stop whatever you re
doing and think seriously about the
basic flaw of democracy. That flaw
is: the majority rules.
But that’s a good thing, you say? I
know, you’ve been socialized to think
so. But now I want you to really think
about it for yourself, not just rerun the
propaganda that has already been put
into your mind and that glosses over
the reality.
This time the minority targeted to
suffer is smokers. The Nebraska Clean
Environment Act wants to tax smok
ers another 25 cents per pack, and no
one else, in order to allegedly “clean
up Nebraska’s environment.” Person
ally, I think the true purpose is to
create a few high-paying office jobs.
I asked some UNL students who
are in support of the Nebraska Clean
Environment Act to give me one good
reason why smokers alone should bear
the burden for something that they
think will benefit all. I was told that'
“smoker health care is a burden on
society,” “anyone can get cancer from
secondhand smoke,” “smokers litter
and they should have lo pay to clean
Nebraska up!”
Hey, back t^>, there! Geriatric health
care is a “burden on society.” Health
care tor people in many categories is.
And it hasn't been proven that sec
ondhand smoke causes lung cancer,
but I don’t want to argue that one.
Even if it were true, so what? YOU
choose which section of public areas
you will patronize, YOU choose with
whom you will associate. Some
smokers litter, that is true. But so docs
most everyone. So why doesn’t “most
everyone” pay for this “clean-up”?
I asked for good reasons why
smokers alone should pay the price. I
got excuses. If you think you know a
good reason, please say so. But no
more trashy excuses, OK?
I think I know the reason, and it’s
not a good one: Non-smokers (the
majority) want smokers (the minor
ity) to pay everyone’s bills. That is
morally wrong, but this is a democ
racy, so it is quite possible that it will
happen, unless a wave a conscience
strikes Nebraska voters.
Look out — what goes around
does come around, and you, yourself,
may be part of a selected minority
one day.
Fran Thompson
Staff editorials represent the offi
cial policy of the Spring 1992 Daily
Nebraskan. Policy is set by the Daily
Nebraskan Editorial Board. Its mem
bers are: Jana Pedersen, editor; Alan
Phelps, opinion page editor, Kara
Wells, managing editor; Roger Price,
wire editor; Wendy Navralil, copy
desk chief; Brian Shellito, cartoon
ist; Jeremy Fitzpatrick, senior re
According to policy set by the re
gents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely
in the hands of its students.
__ST. GfcORSfi. >w WtftKaOM
/Y )
Faceless sources tarnish media
I can’t live with myself anymore.
I’m tired of the lies, the scan
dal, Macaulay Culkin, the de
ceit, etc. So I’m going to tell all.
I wasn’t surprised when Bill Clin
ton’s various scandals came up or
when Jerry Brown had to defend
himself last week against faceless
accusers who appeared on an ABC
news program. The whole thing had
been planned weeks ago by that most
evil of entities — the media.
We of the media have been run
ning this campaign from the begin
ning. Sure, it all looks good to the
people back home, but here at this
end of the keyboard, we’re laughing
at America, the flag and bald eagles.
Ha ha ha, Washington Monument!
You see, the run for the presidency
hasn’t become a farce for nothing.
There is a method to this madness.
In short, Sam Donaldson wants the
White House. And what Sam wants,
Sam gets.
Donaldson, the Romulan who shows
up on all kinds of ABC news produc
tions, has had his eye on America’s
highest elected office for years. Day
after day, he drudged about Washing
ton. digging up stories, working his
way up the ladder.
All along, his goals were set high.
He began an olive oil business that
was really a front for an underground
news organization and began build
ing it into the giant you sec today.
Across Washington, Sam has made
friends by doing favors for people. Of
course, the trick is, everyone owes
him favors now.
No one seriously expects Brown to
win the nomination, barring some far
out scenario. But Donaldson wanted
to make sure. He lashed around, search
ing for a charge that would be easy to
stick on the former California gover
Wild drug parties seemed to be the
ticket. Sam rounded up a few of the
guys hanging around tire office, such
as Ted Koppel and Peter Jennings,
and, after ruboing their faces off, taped
the segment that would appear on last
Thursday’s broadcast.
Many Californians were quick to
come to Brown’s aid. B.T. Collins, a
Republican Assemblyman, said Brown
never had parties.
“He was the worst damper on a
party there was,” Collins said. “He
was just a prude.... he didn’t even
like cigarette smoke around him.”
I’m sure Brown thanked B.T. for
those kind words. Of course, if it’s
true, there probably weren’t a whole
lot of the wild parties that Sam con
tends were going on at the Moon
beam mansion.
Wild Californian: Moonman, great
“Elvis, iq hi featured
(Ut OB upcomine US.
postafestamp. evi
dently was ‘fattened
mu like g (um awl bx
Clinton, as the Arkan
sas governor evaded
the draft, had numeiz
ous extramarital af
fairs. participated in
the government’s UFO
cover-up and killed
bash! Here, have a drag, hee hee hee
Brown: What? (gasp) What is that
you are smoking? Some new kind of
cigarette? No, tnanks, but I prefer to
be High On Life.
W ild Southerner: C’mon, man, it’s
OK if you don’t inhale ...
Sam Donaldson: But Jerrmaster,
everyone’s doing it... You want to
be a member of our peer group, don’t
Brown: Everyone out, or I’m call
ing CHiPs—that’s right—both Erik
Estrada AND the white guy!
Donaldson’s not about to stop yet.
He has several more little news items
up his sleeve. His plans come through
our fax machine almost daily. Let’s
look at today's message:
RE: My rise to supreme executive
Dear Media Under My Control:
I’m going to make you a deal you
cannot refuse. Bill Clinton’s looking
strong after that New York win, but I
found this exclusive story for your
front page:
“MEMPHIS, Tcnn. — Democratic
presidential hopeful Bill Clinton to
day was accused by several reliable
faceless entities as being the master
mind behind Elvis’ bloating.
“Elvis, to be featured on an up
coming U.S. postage stamp, evidently
was ‘fattened up, like a farm cow’ by
Clinton, as the Arkansas governor
evaded the draft, had numerous ex
tramarital affairs, participated in the
government’s UFO cover-up and killed
JFK ..
Thus far, the media have been all
too willing to participate in
Donaldson’s little power play. While
some of the issues that have been
raised are relevant to the campaign,
others — especially the latest attack
against Brown — border on die ri
ABC News, under the thumb of
Sam, allowed anonymous sources to
discredit Brown years after the events
they allege happened. While anonym
ity at limes must be protected, this
does not seem to be such a case.
The accusers, who ABC said were
former security guards at the Brown
estate when Jerry was still governor,
have nothing to fear from Brown.
Their jobs no longer depend on him.
If they are telling the truth, Brown
wouldn’t be able to touch them.
The people at ABC must believe
the guards are being truthful, or they
wouldn’t have broadcast the accusa
tions. But Brown wasn’t the only party
to lose credibility from the report.
It’s a mile dangerous for me to
disagree with the ABC decision. Sam
has eyes and ears everywhere these
I once received a vicious phone
call from Sam. There hadn’t been
enough candidate-bashing on the
opinion page, he told me. He warned
of a cloaked Rom u I an warbird stand
ing near my house and gave me some
“inside information’’ about Paul Tson
gas and Barbara Bush.
Donaldson doesn’t worry a whole
lot about college newspapers in Ne
braska. He probably thinks that one
call turned me around, and then he
forgot about the DN.
So I’m going to chart my own
course through these troubled elec
lion-year waters. I’m free. It feels
good to have that moral weight off
my back. I don’t have to bash candi
dates! I can write flowery columns
about good things like butterflies.
And then when the election rolls
around, I can choose between a couple
upstanding nominees, and everyone
will have all the cotton candy they
want and no one will ever get fat!
On the other hand, maybe Sam
wouldn’t be such a bad president.
Phelps is a sophomore news-editorial ma
jor, the Daily Nebraskan opinion page editor
and a columnist.