The Jan. 11 edition of The Times included an interesting juxtaposition. Page 3, Part I had an account of the Reagan Administration's contribution to the creation of a "debtor generation" of college students by cutting federal scholarships. UCLA research has suggested that students are avoiding college or dropping out, for financial reasons. The Reagan solution includes more cuts in student grants in the 1988 budget proposal.
Flip over to Page 4: The total 1988 budget proposal is $1.024 trillion, and the allotment for defense is 30% of that, or $312 billion. Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger described this amount as "a most modest investment in security" and attempted to justify the figure with ridiculous "Rambo"-like rhetoric: defense cuts would "tempt tyrants to begin aggression" or allow the Soviet Union to use "military might to support its ruthless goals." "Our goal is to keep America safe and free . . . "
Defense wallows in opulence while education, the environment, and other domestic issues or programs beg for funds. The $18-20 billion Clean Water Bill must be passed, and the Reagan Administration should make budget plans for the future with a wider field of vision. As Rep. James Howard (D-N.J.) said, the current Administration shows a lack of concern and planning for the future "except in the field of armaments."