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The Mail


To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

The Freedom Budget is a proposal for a massive, systematic attack on all the causes of poverty. It calls on the Federal Government to spend $185 billion over a ten year period in housing, education, guaranteed annual income, expanded medical care and social insurance, and most important, in creation of jobs to eliminate unemployment, jobs that will engage the poor in rebuilding their own cities and ghettos, in construction of homes, schools, mass transit, and hospitals, in useful services such as hospital and teachers' aides.

The enactment of the Freedom Budget would not only dramatically affect the lives of thousands of disadvantaged Americans. It would radically alter the relationship of government to the economy, and establish a commitment to democratic planning. It is therefore regrettable that the Crimson reporter dismissed the Freedom Budget as "warmed-over New Deal economics" as an attempt "to turn back the clock three years and make good all things previously made bad." The reporter is weary of economic priorities, and rejects them as no longer relevant. Tom Kahn, who will lead a Freedom Budget Conference workshop this Saturday on Jobs and Freedom, describes this weariness in the following way: "To some liberals and radicals, this list of social priorities has become tedious, commonplace, un-original--as if the constant recitation of the need were synonomous with implementation." What is significant about the Freedom Budget is its refusal to ignore the sweeping changes occuring in the economy and its recognition that only an unprecedented, national commitment to eliminate all the causes of poverty can succeed.

But the Freedom Budget is more than a proposal. It is also a strategy. It calls for a coalition of progressive forces in society, of labor unions, Negroes, liberals, radicals, religious groups, minorities. It recognizes the imperfections in each element, but conceives of such a coalition as the only real basis around which a movement can be built. Again, it is unfortunate that the reporter finds this "conventional." The question is, as Bayard Rustin (who will speak tonight in Lowell Lecture Hall) emphasizes, what is the alternative? Local ferment and community organization, in the style of SDS or black power militants, are an important and invigorating force for change. But they are only a complement, not a substitute, for a political coalition that can act on a Federal level to bring the massive economic program required for significant social change.

This weekend's Conference at Harvard on the Freedom Budget should have the full suport of all seriously concerned with social problems. --Laurence Seidman '68   Chairman of the New England Conference on   the Freedom Budget

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