We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see h. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; We will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerlid or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit_ Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. pm \\ r *a8m 124iteta:er ‘II I’llt I 1 If -3 IT; t I I 111.1i!, 111’1′ CS. The Texas Observer Publishing Co. 1984 BSERVER Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 76 No. 8 7d ifeW April 20 1984 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Achvcate. EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger CAREY McWILLIAMS FELLOW: Nina Butts CALENDAR: Chula Sims WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Al Watkins LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Alicia Daniel EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton. Austin.; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy bridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury. Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Fred Schmidt, Tehachapi. Cal., Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Nina Butts, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk, Ed Garcia, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Amy Johnson, Laurence Jolidon, Mary Lenz. Matt Lyon, Greg Moses, Rick Nil. Susan Raleigh. Paul Sweeney, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue. Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Kevin Krenek, Ben. Sargent, Gail Woods. A journal of free voices Business Manager Assistant Advertising, Special Projects Frances Barton Alicia Daniel Cliff Olofson Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 The Texas Observer Co., 600 West 7th sirtet, at Austin. Texas. years. S56. One year rate for full-time students. $13. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road. Ann Arbor. Michigan 48106. Copyright 1984 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. 2 APRIL 20, 1984 PAGE TWO Guns and Butter in the Valley DOES IT ALWAYS have to be guns and butter or no butter at all? Senator John Tower, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, knows a good opportu nity to serve a little more cream to military contractors when he sees one. On April 4, Tower announced that two contractors will build plants in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, supplying some 800 jobs to the economically-ravaged area by next fall. Garcia Ordnance was given a $5 million contract for 3,000 10-horsepower engines and 11,000 cylinder heads and a $10 million contract to put together 5,000 20-horsepower engines. To do so, it will build a plant in Edinburg. Universal Canvas has contracts with the Defense Logistics Agency, the Army, and the Navy to provide tents and aircraft nose shelters. These will be manufactured at a Brownsville plant, scheduled to employ 350 workers when at its operational peak. Tower said the two plants represent the Reagan Administration’s “commitment to revitalizing the South Texas economy” and will provide “meaningful economic growth.” Similarly, the Air Force is considering re-opening its base in Laredo with estimates that it will provide, in the process, some 3,000 new civilian jobs for a city with the highest unemployment rate of any U.S. urban area at the end of 1983. The base was closed one year after Webb County voted heavily for Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 Presidential election. There is considerable speculation that if the base is re-opened it will be used for training helicopter pilots from Central American counter-insurgency forces. So here we are, caught between the rock of unemployment and the hard place of increased military expenditure. Among the effects of an employment solution such as the one offered by Tower is the automatic recruitment of a constituency for more military spending. A candidate would have a hard time running in Laredo these days on the issue of U.S. involvement in Central America. But there are even greater problems inherent in an employment program built around military spending. Military expenditures perpetuate rather than resolve structural problems in society which create high unemployment. Military production is by its very nature inflationary in that more money is poured into a market while no products enter that market because they are destined instead for that never-never land of $400 wrenches known as military procurement. The defense contracting industries are not self-generating but depend upon continued government’ expenditure \(though they do generate not improve the quality of life or the efficiency of distribution of goods and services, as public works projects would do. Nor do they generate new industry that is not dependent secondarily on continued government support.
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