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cra, 4 Hill I I Iln a J11111111PI111 m11111111″ 1,1,111117——=- :Ili 1111111111 11 1111111111111i ” ‘ PP TEOE. B SERVER The Texas observer Publishing Co.. 19,84 ROnnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 76, No. 20 7cgra’7 October 12, 1984 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger CALENDAR EDITOR Chula Sims EDITORIAL INTERN: Terri Langford 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,. Cat, 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 Leni, Matt Lyon, Rick Piltz. Susan Raleigh, Paul SWeeney, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue, Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Alicia Daniel. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Joe McDermott, Ben’ Sargent, Gail Woods. A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. 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 powerful 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. Managing Publisher Advertising & Development Director Subscription Manager Circulation Assistant Consultant Cliff Olofson Dana Loy Alicia Daniel Stefan Wanstrom Frances Barton Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 The Texas Observer -477-0746. Second class postage’ paid at Austin, Texas. Subscription rates. including 5 1/8% sales tax: one year $23, two years $42. three years $59. One year rate for full-time students, $15. Back issues $2 prepaid. 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. PAGE TWO Reagan’s War on the Middle Class IN THIS ISSUE, we take a look at what should be central issues of this presidential campaign. We have asked a number Of writers to examine the Reagan record of the last four years, particularly as it applies to the lives’ of specific, large sectors of the American population . the blue-collar worker, the farmer, the taxpayer, the child, etc. While each, writer draws a clear picture of the impact of the Reagan years in his or her particular area of inVestigation, the composite of these individual pictures provides analarming perspective from _which to view the ..last four years. When all the pieces are put, together, it becomes clear that a silent civil war is raging Within our sodiety. It’s fires are being fanned by an administration that pits the interests.of the affluent against those of everyone else. It is being achieved by a policy designed to eliminate the independence’ of the middle class the bedrock of our society. The primary victims of.Reagan’s economic. policy in this country have been what used to be called the “lower middle class” and is now called, justifiably, the “working poor.” The Reagan budget plan has lowered the income levelS needed to qualify for assistance in school lunches, medical care, daycare, and child support. What this has meant is that the household with a single working parent or the family of four earning a marginal income that once received assistance in order to make ends meet now no longer qualifies .for assistance. The only solutions for many of these families involve taking on a second or third job, which is difficult to find in a time : of high unemployment and usually . means added childcare costs, or quitting work altogether in order to qualify for assistance in childcare, medical care, and school meals. For many this has become the only way to obtain medical care. They haVe been silently forced out of thewageearning middle class by Reiganomics. Strange behavior . for an administration that claims to be putting peoPle back to work and attacks those on welfare as a drag on the taxpaying wage-eafner. Then there is the industrial worker laid off in the last four years. Reagan says he has put millions back to work. What he does not mention is that the unemployment rate is .’ just about the same as when he took office: What has happened in the interim is that the unemploynient rate soared, -throwing millions out of work. Many of these have since begun ‘to work again. But the catch’ is that most have begun to work at significantly lower wages with less protection and fewer benefits. In the same four-year period, many corporations were able to reduce their labor costs by laying off workers in the U.S., winning concessions from labor to protect those: jobs that remained, and investing’ in overseas operations, where cheaper labOr is available. At the same time, executive salaries increased as did the number of corporate mergers, reducing competition in what is called a “free=market” economy2Many of the workers laid off from industrial work have taken service jobs, in which they earn less, have less security and fewer benefits and almost no leverage. They have been moved from solid, middle-class security to the financial insecurity of the lower middle-income brackets and the working poor. Meanwhile, the rich get richer, taking advantage of personal income tax cuts for those earning over $50,000 and $100,000 OCTOBER 12, 1984