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Staff Naive

DISSENT:

By Dhananjai Shivakumar

AS THE inteilectual, economic and political bankruptcy of communism has become apparent in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, it seems odd that the majority opinion calls for more government intervention in the economy as a panacea for America's own social problems.

With the easing of tensions between the superpowers and the expansion of democracy, it is clearly time for prudent bilateral reductions in defense spending. President Bush's proposed troop reductions in Europe are one such example.

But the majority is shortsighted in its belief that the so-called "Peace Dividend" should free billions of dollars for more social programs--such as an expensive universal health insurance program.

There are many problems with this line of analysis.

For one, it assumes that the solution to society's problems lies in an ever expanding government bureaucracy. The failure of communism demonstrates that this is not true. It is ironic that as the Soviet Union accepts privatization and competition, the majority neglects these principles.

Equally simplistic and naive is the majority's assertion that the low standard of living of some Americans is the immediate result of high defense spending. Such a one-to-one correlation is faulty. Other factors--such as the flawed nature of some welfare programs--have contributed to the poverty in which, unfortunately, many Americans live.

The majority also fails to address the massive budget deficit. Many claim that the deficit was caused by Reagan's military build-up. If so, why would the U.S. want to squander an opportunity to cut the deficit in order to fund new and costly social programs?

With democracy forming roots in places like Romania and East Germany, the time has come to address the shortcomings of our own democratic system--inadequacies the majority opinion aptly describes. This is not the time, however, to indiscriminately pour billions of dollars into inefficient-welfare programs.

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