terites felt the Catholic hierarchy cost the Democrat as many as 400,000 votes in Nueces County, San Antonio, El Paso, and the Valley. A lawyer friend confides that preci ous few of his profession in Texas could withstand the kind of scrutiny that the State Bar’s grievance committee has given newly elected Supreme Court Justice Don Yarbrough. “They got 53 misconduct grievances against him, but they could easily fill a book if they tailed some of my distinguished colleagues,” our informant squealed. After five days of testimony, a six person inquest jury in Palestine determined that the shotgun death of eminent civil rights leader Frank J. Robinson was a suicide. Robinson, 74, was shot October 13, and his wife termed his death a “political assassination.” The black community is not convinced that Robinson took his own life, and some are working to keep the investigation open. An Anderson County Defense Fund has been established, offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction “of persons responsible” for Robinson’s death. State Rep. Paul Ragsdale tice Department to enter the case. Briscoe vs. co-ops Various government officials con tinue time to come down heavily on Zavala County’s plan to develop and operate a cooperative farm. The project was to be funded by a $1.5 million federal grant until Gov. Dolph Briscoe and a covey of lesser politicos submerged it in a flood of legal technicalities and demagoguery. Atty. Gen. John Hill, carrying the water for Briscoe, took Zavala County to court on the technical point that the federal grant had not received proper review by state authorities. The state won that point in U.S. district court, and on Nov. 17 a three-judge panel of the circuit court of appeals in New Orleans found no reversible error in the district court’s decision. Meanwhile, Briscoe was on his high horse again, saying Zavala officials had publicly acknowledged that the grant money would be used to establish a cooperative farm. Briscoe said that meant the project was purely socialistic, which is a judgment that must puzzle the thousands of Texas farmers who are members of co-ops, as well as the thousands of families hooked up to the state’s rural electric cooperatives. Then a U.S. representative from Washington state, one Floyd Hicks, released a subcommittee letter criticising the federal agency that made the grant. Hicks claimed in the letter that the proposal from Zavala 8 The Texas Observer County was inadequate, that the federal agency had not supervised the Zavala group closely enough, and that the grant ought to be terminated. Last and least, the Middle Rio Grande Development Council hustled into the act by conducting their own review of the Zavala proposal. The council is made up of local officials, and it surprised no one by its pronouncement that the grant should be rejected on the grounds that federal money should not be used to compete with private business. Del Rio city manager James Hester, a member of the council, postulated that “it is most contrary to our system” for the government to give land to people, ap parently oblivious to the Homestead Act, the giveaway of vast lands to the railroad cartels, or the current use by some Western ranchers of public lands to graze their cattle. While the politicians posture, the Zavala farm project is floundering. San Antonio attorney Phil Hardberger, representing Zavala County, has filed a motion for rehearing before all 14 judges of the circuit court of appeals. But the likelihood is that Briscoe, Hill, and other politicians effectively have killed this project, at least for the time being, and so the farm workers of Zavala County can look forward to another year of migrant work rather than developing their own farm. The national debt: A modest proposal By Tony Proffitt Austin One of the biggest governmental quagmires that President-elect Jimmy Carter will face before taking the oath of office in January is what to do about the federal deficit. Professional polling organizations report that 99.9 percent of the American public want the government’s budget balanced and the country rid of its public debt. On June 30, 1976, the Congress increased the national debt from a staggering $400 billion to near $700 billion by September 30, 1977. The congressional increase was the fifth in less than 18 months and passed the House by a slim 184-177 margin. During the debt debate, it was pointed out that the interest alone on the new national debt would total $41.297 billion during fiscal year 1977. That’s so much money that there isn’t a calculator in Texas that would be able to convert that in terms of pitchers of beer at Scholz Garden. Where the government gets its money is pretty simpleit prints it. Or, at the very least, the government issues “notes” and “bonds” against future tax collections. In effect, we “owe it to ourselves” to have a national debt. Part of the blame for having such a big debt at this day and time goes to Jerry Ford and the Republicans who have been running things for the past eight years. Last year, the GOP government ended up something like $65 billion in the holean amount that was made up by borrowing; hence, the increase in the national debt. Anyone who has cashed a check three days before payday and prayed that the mails and the complexities of modern banking would keep them from standing before a grand jury on a swindle-with-worthless-check charge can readily appreciate all the bookkeeping acrobatics the government must go through to keep the country solventat least on paper. Carter, of course, has let the public know that government reorganization will be his number-one priority once he’s taken office. The daily newspapers and the television commentators report that the Carter Administration’s transition team is working out the details of a revamped government. Old-timers like Arthur Burns have come up with plans to straighten out the economy. Other former cabinet members have suggested increased military spending as a means to relieve economic doldrums and balance the budget. There’s a better plan. Being overlooked by our brightest economic thinkers and planners is the most efficient means of doing away with the national debt, and ridding ourselves of a lot of government overhead to boot.