The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, March 24, 1992, Image 13

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Opinion uesday, March 24, 1992 The Battalion Page 13 ™ not to Rarest! (a ge. Th^ lowing so, ; too com ial excavaS iles," and: 'o areas cc The Battalion Editorial Board DOUGLAS PILS, Editor-in-Chief The llattalion BRIDGET HARROW, Managing Editor BRIAN BONEY, Opinion Editor JASON MORRIS, Night News Editor MORGAN JUDAY, Night News Editor MACK HARRISON, City Editor KARL STOLLEIS, Photo Editor SCOTT WUDEL, Sports Editor ROB NEWBERRY, Lifestyles Editor The following opinions are a consensus of The Battalion opinion staff and senior editors. ork-based mission, nc I reported i red under: fc last year,! I reds of So I Apartheid's end Referendum signals beginning of end On March 17 South Africa's 3.3 million white voters voted for , . President F. W. de Klerk's referendum jfl-nl to abolish apartheid. Over 68.7 percent of the voters voted "yes". More than 86 percent of those registered turned out to vote on the referendum. It was a great accomplishment and sign of change in the one of the most racist and segregated countries in the world. Yet the United States and other countries should not loosen the reigns of economic sanctions on South Africa. There is much to be done in the creation of a democratic society in South Africa. Afrikaner's, white South African citizens, have only said yes to de Klerk's referendum. The process and the actual adoption of a new constitution and law to allow all blacks to vote has not been done. The possibility of complete anarchy, coupled with Afrikaners' fear of losing power, might destroy the process of creating a democratic system. De Klerk has the support of over two-thirds of Afrikaners. In addition, several major South African corporations have encouraged their edtodii employees to vote yes. With major oadingm economical backing by these interest ig leaked groups, de Klerk has a better chance of idicatedp:abolishing apartheid. Furthermore, the iry. 'i support of the industrialized world in ! ending apartheid gives de Klerk even a ins mns AL, Fla led laund \tlantis uel leaks, as a fleet io danger, reschedul ob Siecksi ■ trouble he hydroj 1 the year in 1! auts had i when M jbbed. evels of /ere detec omparte ly after ft better reason. De Klerk can persuade the Afrikaners who voted "no" that economically, the sooner South Africa abolishes apartheid, the sooner South Africa can be accepted into the industrialized world. For his actions, de Klerk has earned consideration for the Nobel Peace prize. He put his political career on the line in order to get his referendum passed. De Klerk realizes the danger of change and the result of what might happen. He has struggled and pushed for equality between blacks and Afrikaners. De Klerk deserves the prize as an acknowledgement for his tireless efforts for democracy. The process of change in South Africa will be a slow and painful one. All South African citizens will sacrifice much in the cause. There is resistance in many different forms on both sides, but all must stop the violence and bickering if they want to accomplish anything. South Africa must change. Afrikaners have no choice in the matter. There are nearly 30 million blacks to 3.3 million whites in South Africa. The process must go on if Afrikaners want to cling to some autonomy. It is not a question of what is a better form of government. It is merely logical. m just® ate Bi’i jr areas the in® new sy# Texas’s r dues It jy werti rrease wi ? system' »g 3 water floating' n arre. lockpit 2 - nderwat ■ swallo"’ I arrived Mike 0 cy Met later I plane's' and NB rh a trail i feet Io' a series he run"' er. No VAT Forget about regressive tax State Comptroller John Sharp recently proposed to replace the local property tax and the state franchise tax with a new state value-added tax. The proposed move is described as an attempt to create a constitutionally acceptable solution for Texas public school finance; but its archaic regressive tax stance will not solve our state's revenue woes. The value-added tax, or VAT, is little more than a hidden sales tax. Present sales tax rates around the state range from about 6 percent to 8.25 percent here in College Station. The proposed VAT would add a 3.75- percent tax rate, bringing state taxes on certain good to 12 percent around A&M. Sharp proposes placing the 3.75- percent tax rate on the value added to goods and services at every point of production minus labor and materials cost. He expects about $9.5 billion from the VAT, roughly equaling the revenue generated by school property taxes and the corporate franchise tax. But the tax places more burden on consumers than ever. The sales tax is a regressive tax, one that places a greater proportionate burden on the poor than on the rich. The new VAT would place an even greater burden on the poor in our state. The Texas tax structure has never been significantly modified to meet the changes in the economy, and the VAT does nothing to help the system. The VAT could be detrimental to business activity in the state. The VAT will be placed on services and would operate similarly to the service tax already used in other states. Such a tax would drive service work, such as computer programming and legal work, to the 48 other states without a service tax. The potential business loss is too great to gamble with a new tax. The VAT may be capable of working around the Texas Supreme Court ruling on public school financing, but only by using technicalities. The Supreme Court ruling requires more equality in school finance. The VAT may shift burden from property bias, but it will hurt lower income ranks in its quest for equality. Several fiscally responsible ideas have come out of Comptroller Sharp's office, and we welcome changes in the tax structure in Texas. But the VAT is a rehash of old ideas, not a fresh idea in revenue generation. Sharp must try some new ideas if Texas is to get out of its budgetary mess. MAWues THE pfCcfTD NEW JERSEY MIPEAST NEGOTIATIONS 1111111111111111111111111111111^^111111111111,1111111111!!^; IjllllltllllliiirriiniiiiHrHiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiisni:^'!!- In honor of Menachem Begirt, let’s have a moment of MIPEAST NEGOTIATIONS i[iiiiiiiiiiimiiniiimiiiiimnmiiiifiiiu,iiii(inii!!t!' lillllllllllltUlfiitliiimmiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitniis:^: 9 .! Better ...let’s have a moment o£ talking ¥3^ MIPEAST NEGOTIATIONS iiiiiiiiii'iimiiiinimimmimiiiiimiiiiJiiiiiiin!!! lj]il1llltllltlliriiiii!iiHmiiitiiliiiiuiiiiiHi:i;i:>tT> The pursuit of happiness Government should stop its interference into our private lives B y now, my three regular readers have seen my face here and expect yet another dry dissertation on some aspect of government or politics, with supporting quotes from dead people. They are only half right. I will talk about the government and quote old documents, but I have also written here about fun things like drinking beer and driving fast , and gambling, and listening to rude music and drinking beer. This, of course, is only a partial list of fun things, and is not necessarily in order. First of all, here is one of the places in which I will quote old documents. In the Declaration of Independence is the statement that man has "certain unalienable rights," and "that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." I feel that the most important of these three, besides life and liberty, is the happiness deal. I recently returned from the grand state of Nevada, and let me tell you, they know how to pursue happiness with a vengeance. Nevada is the only place I am aware of in the United States in which casino gambling is legal. Atlantic City is not an exception unless you consider New Jersey a part of this country, which is a dubious proposition at best. In Nevada, the drinking age is probably 21 as it is here in Texas. However, neither I nor my younger brother was ever asked for identification in Nevada, and I got the distinct impression that nobody cared whether or not we were "of age." Better even than that was the fact that the casinos served drinks for free! It's incredible, but true - - bottled beer or gin and tonic, they didn't cost one thin dime. There was one catch, however. One has to be in the process of trying to take money from the casino by gambling in order to be served free drinks. Go figure that one. In this wonderful state, one is allowed to drive 65 miles an hour, not just on rural interstate, but on any highway Nevada decides. Apparently, this state told the federal government where to stuff their highway money and decided to set their own speed limits. Perhaps these reasons have something to do with the fact that Nevada had the highest population growth of any state in the 1980's. Maybe everyone wanted to go to a place where they were free to spend theii; money on gambling, prostitutes (legal there also), and the burning of gasoline on faster highways. That, or they were avoiding a state income tax, one of the few vices not legal in that state. This is not a Nevada tourism brochure. My intent is to show an example of a place in which people seem to have a clearer idea of the fundamental purposes of government. This is where life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness come in. The government is supposed to ensure that you are not overrun by foreign armies, murdered by your fellow Americans, or imprisoned without due process of law, and then it is supposed to leave you the hell alone. Then you could be free to pursue sex, drugs and rock & roll until you either wise up or die, but at least your choices would not be dictated to you by some pompous father-knows-best politician. Seat belt laws, for example, are an arrogant and condescending way of protecting poor dumb constituents from themselves. Argue against the outrage of a mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists and someone will likely extol the virtues of helmets in retaining the contents of a rider's head. One might hear that helmets (and seat belts) save lives, and all of this is true. That is why I use both. However, in invoking these arguments, one abdicates one's own responsibility for personal safety and relinquishes it to the government. It makes no difference if anyone disagrees, because the responsibility for their welfare is simply taken from them by the law. Prostitution, besides causing the downfall of televangelists and offending the morally self-righteous, probably is not a safe activity for either participant (assuming only two are involved), but again, who is best equipped to weigh the risks and decide? Is it the individual or is it the state? If the idea of the PMRC, the group which campaigns for laws to restrict the sale of music with lyrics of which they do not approve, does not set your blood to boiling, you may be missing my point. Who appointed these guardians of wholesome "Leave it to Beaver" values to guard everybody's children? Had "2 Live Crew" been making albums when I was 12 years old, my parents would not have needed a law to prevent me from purchasing that music. They were allowed to do their job of parenting without the interference of Sen. Do-gooder and his distinguished colleagues. The drinking age is not only another example of big government usurping the rights of parents and their children, but is the biggest political joke ever. Imagine being 18 (some of you don't have to) and having beer, and your choice of regular or light, taken away; and replaced with voting, and your choice of Demo-idiot or Republi-dolt! Small consolation indeed. That pesky Declaration of Independence goes on to say that "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it. .." I do not advocate the violent overthrow of the U. S. I do advocate an overthrow at the polling place. Tell these strange people in Washington to leave us the hell alone! Loughman is a junior journalism major 1 \ Mail Call Seek true meaning of voting column [ A good sense of humor, I feel, is vital to one's mental and physical health, and therefore I would like to thank Brian Boney for that wonderful piece of satire on voting. I practically fell out of my chair reading it because I was laughing so hard. I really howled with laughter reading Michael S. Mason's hotheaded denunciation of Brian Boney, too. Michael, Michael, Michael. . . you need to chill out, smile, learn to read between the lines and think before responding to your knee-jerk reaction! Lighten up; you'll live longer that way. I mean, you really made yourself look foolish! (Brian Boney's article was written very much tongue-in-cheek, Michael.) It kind of ruins a good joke to explain it, so I'll let you try and figure out what Brian Boney really meant. Find some friends who are English majors— they might be able to help, because you seem pretty clueless. As for Brian Boney, I think The Battalion is very lucky to have a satirical writer with as much skill as he has. Keep up the good work!!! John J. Ronald Class of '93 YCT does not speak for Republicans First, on March 10, Anthony Cutola stated in a letter to the editor that the Young Conservatives of Texas was a Republican organization. The National Republican Party and its auxilliaries are in no way affiliated with the YCT nor its projects. Second, whether Cutola wants to admit it or not, Repulicans are not all white conservative Christians. Tens of thousands of non-Christians and minorities have found a home in the Republican Party. Texas Aggie Fred McClure (Class of '76) and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas quickly come to mind. Let's not forget some basic facts. The first Republican Party in the county was founded by former slaves. Many of these men amd women were hanged by white conservative Christian Democrats. Democrats have since become more subtle in their manipulation of the race issue. Rather than resorting to shameless bribery, promises and political correctness to win votes, the Republican Party still offers honest solutions to the problems of racism in this country. Some people on this campus have yet to open their minds and take a look at the big picture. Joseph F. Trimble Class of '92 Bonfire causes little damage Just when you think the bonfire controversy has gone into its dormant state, something comes along that just can't be ignored. This little tidbit comes to us from the inside of the box top of my Kellogg's Rice Krispies. "Did you know that if Americans recycled all of our Sunday newspapers, we could save over 500,000 trees each week..." Hey Ags, that's about 26 million every year! Kinda makes bonfire look like a matchstick, huh? Robert E. Vaughan, Jr. Class of '93 Have an opinion? Express it? The Battalion Is interested in hearing from its readers. AH letters are welcome. Letters must be signed and must include classification, address and a daytime phone number for verification purposes. They should be 250 words or less. Anonymous letters will not be published. The Battalion reserves the right to edit all letters for length, style and accuracy. There is no guarantee the letters will appear. Letters may be brought to 013 Reed McDonald, sent to Campus Mail Stop 1111 or can be faxed to 845-2647..