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Dick Simpson discussing federal aid to local governments

BROADCAST: Jul. 6, 1981 | DURATION: 00:34:00


Discussing Reaganomics and federal economic assistance to local government and interviewing Dick Simpson.


Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.


Mace Rosenstein And now H. C. Nahigian and Sons on Golf Road in Skokie welcomes you to the Studs Terkel program heard each weekday morning at 10:00, and here is Studs.

Studs Terkel Thank you, Mace. When we hear the phrase "budget cuts" planned by the administration, how does it affect you, me, all of us, today and tomorrow? And I also think of the 90-cent fare, a buck fare for an express today, for the CTA, that is hanging on by the skin of its teeth higgledy-piggledy fashion, is there a connection? And I can't think of anyone better equipped to talk about this than Dick Simpson. Dick Simpson, the former alderman of the 44th Ward who now, who beat the Machine, you know, who now teaches political science at the Circle Campus University of Illinois. And in a recent issue of "The Sun-Times" he had a piece, "Reaganomics Would Hit Us All, Not Just Poor", and Dick is here to talk specifics: how it affects you, me, our daily lives. In a moment, the program after this message.

Mace Rosenstein A recent news item revealed that a Persian Tabriz rug sold for over $800,000 at a Geneva auction. H.C. Nahigian and Sons on Golf Road in Skokie advises you to ignore stories like this when considering the purchase of an Oriental rug. True, certain fine Oriental rugs have increased in value in past years, but there are no guarantees for the future. Rather, H.C. Nahigian and Sons recommends you buy an Oriental rug with an eye for beauty, not profit. A splendid handmade Oriental rug is a work of art that can bring you a lifetime of pleasure and satisfaction. In the words of Keats, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." Visit H.C. Nahigian and Sons at 5140 Golf Road in Skokie, that's just west of the Old Orchard Shopping Center, store hours weekdays and Saturdays are 9 to 5, Mondays and Thursdays until 9, and their phone number is 6-7-6-2-500. Studs?

Studs Terkel You know, Dick Simpson, I realize there's no direct connection at the moment between the crisis in mass transportation in our city and the cuts contemplated by the administration in Washington. Do you see a connection?

Dick Simpson Well, I think we're seeing sort of the tip of the iceberg or the first stubbing of our toe on what's going to happen. Of course, the reason we have the current crisis is because the governor and the state legislature were not willing to, to raise state funds to, to solve the current problem with the CTA and the RTA in the Metropolitan Chicago region. And so the fares are being increased. They're talking about a new tax which would add one percent to the sales tax. And that's, that's going to be repeated again, I mean the federal cuts haven't come down yet. The, there are going to be federal cuts in transportation that will be quite deep. Tens of millions of dollars will be taken away from the CTA, RTA, and that will have to be made up in the new local taxes. In fact, the present administration's program nationally is talking about making some, some tax rebate. Well, that tax rebate to the average family that makes ten or twenty thousand dollars will be somewhere in the range of 50 to 150 dollars. But it is estimated that they may pay as much as nearly a thousand dollars in new taxes and cost of new services, just like they're paying 90 cents instead of 80 cents on the CTA, just like they'll be paying a penny more on every grocery item bought.

Studs Terkel So the budget cuts will not save dough for say, the middle-class wage earner, lower-middle-class, working middle-class wage earner, rather he'll pay more, it's going to cost more.

Dick Simpson He'll get a small cut if the tax cut goes through, but he will pay a huge amount more in taxes, both because all of the services are being transferred back to the local and the, and the state government.

Studs Terkel It's an old carny con, it's an old carny shell game.

Dick Simpson Right. It's where the pea is. In fact, this, this budget has -- particularly the national budget, but also Thompson's budget at the State of Illinois level, has been sold on a number of false premises. And I don't think it's completely reached everybody exactly what is going on with the so-called budget cuts yet. They, they -- what is said in their favor is exactly what they do not perform. What is -- and that I think confuses the public in some ways just like in the early days of the Vietnam War. We didn't know whether we should be helping or not, we ought to certainly save Asia for democracy, and sending over a few advisers certainly wouldn't hurt anything, and only the president really had the secret information on defense. Well, I think the public sort of thinks, "Well, maybe only the president and his advisers really know about the federal budget. It's billions of dollars, and no one's ever seen a billion dollars that's a real person." And the same at the state legislature, "Well, the governor says we have to balance the budget, and if we don't balance the budget, something terrible will happen." And there are, there are bits and pieces of truth, but they've been -- the actual impact is not understood. A middle-class family, for instance, is going to be paying this thousand dollars more taxes. Their children, when they try and go to the university, you're not going to be able to get student loans. It's worth contemplating the effects of this. We are changing public policy, say educational policy, as if it were only a budget cut. Let me give an example: I teach at Circle Campus. There are 17,000 full-time students there, 21,000 students altogether. Six thousand of our students will either totally lose their student loans and grants, or they will have them cut. The middle-class students will have them eliminated altogether because they'll be above the 18,000 or 25,000 dollar income for their family, a level which will be the new level for student loans. And that means then they'll have to pay for their education. Five hundred small colleges across the country are expected to close because they lose not only their student money, but they lose their grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts. When all of that happens, you close all the 500 liberal arts colleges, you change the nature of public education so that the very rich can go and the very poor can still get loans, but the working-class and the middle-class are squeezed out of college, so that we are changing the educational policy saying, "Well, the middle-class don't really need to go to college, or the working-class don't need to. Maybe they can learn pipe-fitting from the union or something of that sort." It's that kind of mentality. The American public would never, I think on the question of education, adopt an educational policy if it were put to them that way. On the question of the handicapped, I don't think the American public would, if they understood even the dollars and cents, the choice is, and under the new president's budget, we will cut all of the aid to the handicapped that is directly, that helps them adjust to living an independent existence, and instead we'll force them into nursing homes or other, other care facilities which will cost us four or five times as much. We'll take away the daycare centers, and Governor Thompson's daycare cuts.

Studs Terkel Let's do one at a time here. First you talk about the students, and we talk about working-class students, and now you're talking about handicapped people, we'll come to the old and to daycare centers and, I guess everybody's affected.

Dick Simpson Nearly everybody in the

Studs Terkel But handicapped people, we say, we see these commercials: "Help the handicapped become independent," you see, there--look at the guy with his two hooks for hands, he's doing a job, well, we see these commercials all the time. Yet, precisely the opposite is taking place with the budget cuts. We're making them more dependent, and therefore it's going more to cost more dough to the

Dick Simpson Right. We're taking away both the Medicaid, which would actually solve their physical problems to the extent that they can be, that, so they'll have less money, they'll be able to purchase less drugs, they'll be able in many cases not to buy an artificial limb or whatever, and we're taking away the programs that train them to live independently, like Access Living here in Chicago that's run as an adjunct to the Rehabilitation Institute. You compact us, what you're doing is saying, "Well, our public policy is we would just as soon have the handicapped live in care facilities." But that obviously is a foolish policy. First it costs more. And secondly, it's inhumane.

Studs Terkel Well, you were going on to childcare centers.

Dick Simpson Well, child care, there are a number of daycare centers in the City of Chicago which are not being cut yet by the federal cuts, which will come this fall, but have already lost money in the state budget, and the effect of this is to take away daycare slots. If you take the Mary Crane Daycare Center which is at Lathrop Homes, they will lose some 40 or so children from their daycare program because the government will no longer pay the subsidy. Well, the subsidy to have a child in a daycare center is very small. It comes to something like 100, 125 dollars a month to have a child at a daycare center so the mother can work, get money, pay taxes, be part of the economy, stimulate the economy, and have dignity at the same time. If they take away the daycare child, they don't let the child go to daycare center any more, the mother will have to go on welfare, will have to be part of the Medicaid program, and the cost will be six hundred dollars a month at a minimum even before anyone in the family gets sick. So the choice is, those who favor the private enterprise system are saying essentially, "Well, we'll throw them back on welfare." Now, unless they're going to eliminate all human service programs, which the Reagan administration and to some extent the state [states?] are moving towards, unless they do that, they're in fact increasing their costs, not decreasing them, and they're increasing the impact on the families terrifically. That is, they're taking people out of the working class and throwing them in the poor. They're taking people in the poor and throwing them into the president's new truly needy class.

Studs Terkel So, old people.

Dick Simpson Old people. Old people are hurt in several ways. First of all, there's the whole issue of the city -- the administration's early attempt to change the Social Security system, which it looks like Congress will beat back. It will refuse to make retirement later and it will refuse to cut benefits in Social Security. But the older people are losing significant Medicaid cuts. I mean, already in the State of Illinois, the governor has cut 150 million dollars from Medicaid cuts. There is a typed list that runs four pages of drugs that senior citizens can no longer purchase on Medicaid. The federal cuts, there is an attempt to put a cap on Medicaid so that even if hospital expenses go up, Medicaid will not pay for the increased expense. There is an attempt to cut, and to put Medicaid and all of the other programs, into a single block grant. Some 88 federal programs, including health, social services, energy, these are all being collapsed into block grants, and the block grants are being cut 25 percent, and President Reagan and Stockman have both said the purpose is not to have block grants. The purpose is by 1984 to continue to eliminate 25 percent a year until there is no federal money for any of these 88 human service programs. Well, that's going to collapse it back to the states. If this -- we're going to what I call the Alabama standard of human services: Let the state decide. Well, the states decided once in this country, and we know what the states decide, the states decide to provide the poorest possible care for their citizens imaginable, because it is cheapest, and they are not going to raise money at the state level through taxation of citizens at the state level for these services. And many of these services, we're undercutting 20 or 30 years of progressive legislation that put rights and essentially end for citizens, that guaranteed certain kinds of of help from the government to certain classes of citizens. Now there's one group in the country who says, "Well, no citizen has a right to any of these services." That if they are handicapped, they don't deserve any special care. If they're elderly, they don't deserve any special care. If they happen to be unemployed, I'm surprised we still have things like unemployment insurance.

Studs Terkel Well, if they're babies, forget it.

Dick Simpson Right. Don't, don't give them any programs. I mean, they are cutting, in fact it's amazing, they're cutting programs, for instance, the women and infant children program, they're cutting food to, to help sustain babies that is part of the health program when in Chicago at least we have the highest infant mortality rate in the nation, or one -- close to it. We're going to be in worse shape once the nutritional programs are cut for women and children.

Studs Terkel Now, this is Dick Simpson, who is the former alderman, 44th Ward, teaching political science at the University of Illinois Circle Campus, but it's not he-- I was thinking, here's the "Chicago Tribune", John McCarron, who's the Urban Affairs editor, is saying precisely what you said: "At the state level, the most severe cutback would be in Medicaid, which pays the cost of health services to the poor. State officials [praying?] to lose 70 million dollars if the Congress proceeds to place a cap on future increases. The biggest loss," and then he goes on to CETA cuts and the ripple effects, CETA cuts--

Dick Simpson Yes.

Studs Terkel Cuts in -- for those, Comprehensive Employment Training Act.

Dick Simpson There are six, we just have already lost 6500 CETA employees in Cook County and the City of Chicago as of June 30th. Sixty-five hundred people were thrown out of work who had been employed, and they'd been employed first by the governments, such as doing job like garbage collector, answering the 911 emergency phone number, health aide, and in addition they were in volunteer agencies like the Spanish coalition for jobs training programs, where they had in addition to the Spanish coalition for jobs they had a 95 percent placement into the private sector, trained employees who indeed were getting work and were contributing to the economy. Sixty-five hundred of them in Chicago, some 80 million dollars' worth of wages have been taken from the City of Chicago in the CETA cuts alone.

Studs Terkel One other aspect of CETA employees: many are young, Black, Latino, poor white. If they're cut, they're on street corners, right?

Dick Simpson They're on street corners. The crime will go up. This is a program which will escalate inevitably the crime in this society because there are going to be more people with, with fewer avenues for hope, fewer hope of coming into the society and through job training, fewer hope of finally making it. And so as they become hopeless, stealing will be one of the ways that they turn to for survival.

Studs Terkel So if all this is being cut from, it would appear, the majority, when you add it all up, it might turn out to be a majority of the American people, including young suburbanites who are middle-class who will pay more dough, who's getting the dough?

Dick Simpson Well, the, the first thing that's happening is if you ask about sectors, what has happened is there, the defense sector is growing larger, and all of the social programs are being eliminated. The defense section is going up from some 39 percent this year, from 136 billion to 189 billion. That means instead of being 25% of the federal budget, it'll be 33% of the federal budget, and that's being done by cutting all of these social programs. It takes -- there is no improvement. This is not a budget that is a balanced budget or one that isn't going to not contribute to inflation. In many ways, this is a very inflationary budget. It takes the money that was going to social programs and then puts it in the military. And in fact, even the military officials have admitted that they can't spend this money wisely. We're talking about doing MX missile systems, we're talking about trying to gear up with new technology, it's a very fragile technology, it is not what makes the country safe. What makes the country safe is a, is a strong military that's well-trained, that is prepared but isn't quite so fragile. We have really over-specialized our military and much of our military hardware, and so we have constant overruns, we have mistakes. We -- it is the most inflationary possible way to spend the money, because if you build a bomb, particularly if you build a bad bomb, but whether it's a good bomb or a bad bomb in the sense of whether it works or not, it doesn't produce anything else. That's the end of the line. There are no more jobs, there is no trickle effect, there is no other part of the economy that is stimulated other than just the one company that builds

Studs Terkel Let's say for the moment, say a billion dollars, let's say two billion dollars for a certain missile. I'm just, you know, think arbitrarily.

Dick Simpson Right. That's [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel Now, that two billion dollars for that, would employ how many? Just curious. Not exactly -- in contrast, two billion dollars, let's say on a mass transit system that would also save our gas, naturally, mass transit would, see, save fuel. So as far as employment?

Dick Simpson There are probably a few hundred jobs in the factory that actually makes the bomb, and then it depends on what the parts of the bomb are and how many factories employ it. But if you're talking about jobs for a relatively sm-- in the hundreds or

Studs Terkel Whereas if it is a mass transportation system.

Dick Simpson Well, or if it, if it's any program that involves -- if it's a mass transit system and you have to, you not only produce equipment now, for instance if it were the rail system, if it were Amtrak, it would not only produce railroads, but it would produce railroads that actually took things and people from one place to another. It would have a constant contributing factor, and there would be many more people--

Studs Terkel So

Dick Simpson Involved in making it and maintaining it, continuing the system because it has a life that's part of the economy. The military, once the bomb's built, it's taken and stored somewhere, it's not, it's not a contributor to the economy. It's -- an easy example to think of it is, if you wanted to make something like a hammer, you can use a hammer over and over to build other things. If you build a mass transportation system, you can move people to jobs, you can encourage the beginning of new industries, you can transport both people and goods. But, but a bomb just sits there until it's used, and then when it's used, its only, its only purpose is to destroy, not to build.

Studs Terkel And you're saying, there's an issue of "The New York Review of Books", May 14th, a long piece by Lester Thurow on this very point. "Military spending is a form of consumption. It does not increase our ability to produce more goods and services," just paraphrasing you in the future, "While it may be necessary, it is consumption nonetheless," and it goes on: "It's the production of weapons and not the use," unless, of course, there's an [actual?] hot war, and then everything becomes academic. But it does not -- it creates unemployment, not employment.

Dick Simpson That's right. It creates the first few jobs to build the missile, but then all that money is sunk. It's like throwing it down a well. If you hired people, you hired 100 people to throw money down a well, you would have them employed until they'd thrown the money. And that's the end of it. Whereas if you employ them in either the private sector or in many parts of the public sector, you have a continuing effort that produces other products, that involves other people, that makes some ongoing contribution to the society.

Studs Terkel In that same piece of Lester Thurow in "The New York Review", again paraphrasing you, Dick Simpson, the question of, how come the Japanese are making better things than we are? And it's precisely because less of their dough is spent on the military, and right here: "Would the typical engineer rather work on designing a new missile with a laser guidance system or in designing a new toaster?" Of course, you see, the excitement of working on this new missile and, and more dough paid for that, so therefore they work on that, whereas to work on something of a computer or a toaster or something that can be used by the people themselves, it's not that -- you know, so they lose those good guys, the Japanese retain them, so then therefore they make better civilian products than we do.

Dick Simpson Well, in addition it is a matter of what you want to spend your money on and what you want to produce in the society. Obviously, we have to have a defense system. We're already spending 136 billion dollars. We're not talking about whether we're going to have a defense system or not. It's much more a question of what kind of defense and what's the proper level. The Reagan administration has accused previous administrations of throwing money at social problems. In a sense, this administration is throwing money at defense problems, and it's, it's clearly not going to solve our defense needs. And it is going to be very costly in economic terms of its impact. It undercuts even the Reagan theory of what it is that ought to be happening in the economy.

Studs Terkel Well, you know, it's a

Dick Simpson Which I think makes clear that this is really a political program. This really is not an economic program. If you look, I mean, the arguments are made, it's said that, well, the Reagan budget is supposed to eliminate waste. Well, it eliminates waste only by cutting into our programs. Every program that has the word "neighborhood" in it, that has "self-help," that has "community" in it, all those programs are cut. All social programs are cut. Well, that'll eliminate waste, it'll eliminate the entire program. But if you're going to eliminate waste--

Dick Simpson It

Dick Simpson You would do 10 percent or something, you'd say, "Well, there's 10% waste in the federal government, or 20% waste," and you would go across every agency. Certainly the defense establishment has as much waste as the, the other sections of the economy, even the Social Security and the welfare component of the, but

Studs Terkel We haven't talked about Social Security, have

Dick Simpson Well, that's partly because, because it is a political program, the calculation of the federal government was that they could not af-- not afford to attack the senior citizens, that their lobby was so great that if they tried to cut them as a social program, they would win in a fight in Congress and that then the whole administration's program might unravel. So senior citizens were left pretty much out of it and were cut -- sort of by the backdoor by cutting Medicaid, by cutting nutrition programs, by cutting food stamps and on down. There are ways in which senior citizens are hurt, but they left Social Security pretty much alone until fairly recently they decided they had to cut Social Security some, too, but they backed off again.

Studs Terkel Seniors are being mugged in an oblique way.

Dick Simpson Yeah, it's sneaking, sneaking around to get at seniors, because if there'd been a frontal attack, the Reagan administration and the advisers correctly analyzed that they would lose the whole battle, and if they lost to seniors in a direct confrontation, then they might also lose to some of the other coalitions. And I think that was that a, that's part of what makes this a mostly political program. It, it -- all it does is really transfer money from the social services to the defense. It doesn't cut waste except as it eliminates entire programs. It doesn't just hurt the poor, as been as expected, but it sneaks up in a tricky way and hurts the working class and the, and the middle class and the professional class without making that explicit, by saying, "Well, we're going to give you a tax cut, we will stop inflation, you like that," and the middle class and the working class say, "Yes, we'd like to end waste and inflation, obviously," but they don't tell them what the price tag's going to be down the line.

Studs Terkel Lester Thurow, again in "The New York Review of Books" issue dealing with this says, "The administration's cuts in the civilian budget have relatively little to do with economics," as you point out, it's political. "They are good or bad depending upon your view of what constitutes adequate provision for the needy or, for that matter, middle class in a good society. My ethics tell me that there's something wrong with cutting nutrition programs for poor pregnant women. Mr. Stockman's ethics tell him it's precisely the group whose benefits should be cut. Perhaps that's a difference between learning one's ethics and economics in the Department of Economics rather than at a divinity school." But there's one thing he didn't say: it's bad economics for the country.

Dick Simpson Yes. At least as, at least in the first round of the budget cuts, it is bad economics. It's [fairly?] like-- and the reason we're in trouble now with the inflation is, pretty well agreed that one of the principal factors is, the -- what we did in the Vietnam War, where we refused to tax ourselves or to, to accept the stringencies of fighting the Vietnam War because Lyndon Johnson wanted to keep the new society going and fight the Vietnam War and not get the American people aroused so he could do, accomplish both goals, and therefore we built in an inflation that is now hitting us very bad. We pay 12% of the federal dollar just to pay the interest on the debt, not even to retire the debt. Well, what Reagan is doing with the increased defense expenditure is building an inflationary spiral four, five, six, seven years down the road that is comparable. He is increasing the defense establishment more than it was increased during the Vietnam War.

Studs Terkel Oh, it's three times,

Dick Simpson Yeah, it's three times as much over the next five years--

Studs Terkel The

Dick Simpson Than the entire, in the entire expenditure for Vietnam.

Studs Terkel Three

Dick Simpson Well, that is inflationary, the military spending is inflationary when it's, when it's done this way, just by an increase with no secondary effects on the economy, no plans for integrating it into, into the

Studs Terkel You know, offhand someone would say, knowing all these facts, it's a question of knowing these facts, that this is an insult to the intelligence of the American public, to say, to say this, and so you are saying that there is a reaction about to be taking place specifically here in Chicago tomorrow night.

Dick Simpson Yes. Reagan is coming to town, interestingly enough, to give a speech at a Thompson political fundraising dinner at McCormick Place, and we're hoping that literally thousands of people will be joining the "I Care, Reagan Doesn't" rally. It's a very simple notion. It's "I care about day care. Reagan doesn't." "I care about senior citizens. Reagan doesn't." "I care about health care. Reagan doesn't." We are going to gather in Grant Park at five o'clock. There will then be at six-fifteen a human picket fence from the Museum of -- all the way down to McCormick Place and the -- it'll be along Lake Shore Drive and it'll be visible. These literally thousands of people cut in all kinds of programs saying to the president, to the governor, and to the public, "This is not in fact a mandate. Reagan got elected, Reagan has a right to advocate any program he wants, but we have a right also to advocate other programs and other policies." And I think it's time that that dialogue really began. The, the Congress and the state legislature have been a great disappointment I think to most of American people who have some sensitivity to these issues, because they really haven't focused what's, what's wrong here, what is this issue? Again it's like the early Vietnam period, no one can seem to get a handle. Well, the people who are having their food stamps cut, or the people like, like myself who teach at a college where 6000 students are going to lose their loans and grants, once you have the facts, it's clear to us that something is very wrong, and that needs to be spoken to, and that everyone who, who wants to cry out and say, "This is inhumane, this is wrong," ought to be part of the rally at Grant Park tomorrow night at five o'clock.

Studs Terkel I think a lot of the old people's groups will be taking part. I think -- Maggie Kuhn says old people, senior citizens' groups.

Dick Simpson We have 50 different squads, as we call them. It's a kind of march formation. We have the handicapped, we have senior citizens. We have several different sets of unions who were protesting the cuts in jobs. We have people who are concerned about El Salvador. We have people who are concerned about the defense spending. We have people who are concerned about daycare, healthcare, on down. Fifty different groups of people will be part of this demonstration, so that one can come and make one's protest really specifically to the part of the budget that they think has been most neglected or which they think hurts the most.

Studs Terkel So it starts at five o'clock. By the way, the reason we're ending your part of this program now is, I thought the last part of the program might be a gathering of survivors, the people who remember the Depression of the '30s. Before -- oh, before I ask you that, it's at five o'clock tomorrow

Dick Simpson Right. Tuesday the seventh, July 7th.

Studs Terkel At,

Dick Simpson Grant Park. Near, near the old band -- where the band shell

Studs Terkel The band shell.

Dick Simpson In the old days.

Studs Terkel And the march to McCormick Place. Now, this could lead to a Depression, couldn't it?

Dick Simpson For most people, it'll be a, much the same experience. As they lose their Medicaid benefits, as they lose their food stamps, as their kids can't go to the college of their choice, they, it won't be quite so total across the society I think, depending on what the inflation really does, which is really separate from in some ways the budget cuts, but there are going to be so many impacted sectors that for at least a large part of the population, they will experience the years ahead just as people experienced the Depression.

Studs Terkel You know, I say that, in working on the book "Hard Times" and speaking to the old survivors as well as young who had never heard of it, except in the form of a bawling out, then, too, it's a question Hoover had said, the predecessor to Franklin Roosevelt, whose hundredth anniversary is coming up, had said, "Well, let's just leave it to private industry." And that's precisely what's being said now.

Dick Simpson Right. It's really a strange notion. I mean, if you ask private industry, if you ask the heads of corporations, the people who head foundations, can they take care of the daycare problem, the senior citizen problem, the handicap problem, the Medicaid problem, their answer is "No," all of them are very straightforward. I mean, they would be glad to do their part and maybe they could do a few dollars more here or a few dollars more here. The arts. I don't know how many people have been to a play lately, but many of the theaters are now having actors at the end make a little pitch about the 50% cut in the National Endowment of the Humanities. There are going to be a lot of artists who've been employed who've been improving the opportunities even for, for understanding ourselves, who just aren't going to make it. The theaters are going to collapse.

Studs Terkel The other night on Channel 11 on PBS, it's on the network tonight, was the New Deal and the arts, and it was precisely about this: actors, painters, musicians, all variety of people involved -- writers, were -- and the work and the government program at the time that was needed, and what came -- the benefits came out of it, and how it was finally destroyed. Well, that deals -- we're really talking about a break in continuity, a break in memory, as though there were no memory of a past. We start again repeating the same mistake. This is what it's about.

Dick Simpson Right. It is somewhat fair to call this the Hoover program of economic recovery.

Studs Terkel Dick Simpson, thank -- I know there's much more you can say, but we've covered it pretty well. What old people just to sort of reprise as we say, in theater, musicals, a reprise affected by it. Old people, babies, students, working people, middle-class people, handicapped people, war veterans, and vet -- so that would be I would say a majority of the people of the country.

Dick Simpson Yes, unfortunately the cuts are coming in such a way that it'll be a year or two in many cases before they are felt. I mean, 6500 people got laid off June 30th, but in Chicago alone from the CETA program other cuts are coming down, the VISTA program is being eliminated. Volunteers in service to America. I mean, why would we want to cut the Peace -- the domestic Peace Corps program? Why would we want to do away with Legal Assistance Foundation, which are the only lawyers available to the poor for many disputes even, even such simple things as divorce and the problems of consumer purchases, we're going to take away the only lawyers who take those cases for the poor. That is, we want them to become lawless. I mean, I don't understand what else we could want if we take away the legal system. You can ask any lawyer, you can ask the bar associations, do they think they can handle giving free legal service to millions of Americans? More than a million Americans are served each year by the Legal Assistance Foundation. There's not going to be any lawyers for them, they're going to have to turn to lawless. That's, that's the [rout? route?].

Studs Terkel A questioning of this tomorrow, then, of this incredible program. Tomorrow then, at south end Grant Park band shell starting at five, with various speakers and comments and thoughts. Dick Simpson, thank you very much. For the second half of the program, memories, people's thoughts about that other period, pre-World War II, the Depression period. Thank you very much. After we hear from Mas, we'll hear those voices.

Dick Simpson Good, Studs.

Mason [Announcer] You're listening to Studs Terkel on WFMT in Chicago. Studs is brought to you every Monday morning by H.C. Nahigian. Visit 13 countries in one exciting showroom. H. C. Nahigian and Sons on Golf Road in Skokie invites you to tour the fascinating world of Oriental rugs. Discover handmade rugs from Persia, India, China, and Pakistan. Each rug is carefully handpicked by a member of the H.C. Nahigian family with the goal of selecting the best merchandise from each of the rug-weaving centers they visit. The result is one of the most remarkable collections of Oriental rugs in the Chicago metropolitan area, including rugs you may not find anywhere else. H.C. Nahigian and Sons, where a wonderful world of color, texture, and design awaits you. The H.C. Nahigian and Sons showroom is located at 5140 Golf Road in Skokie just west of the Old Orchard shopping center. Store hours weekdays and Saturdays are 9 to 5, Mondays and Thursdays until 9. The phone number is 6-7-6-2-500. [Pause] Studs? Do you want to say a word, or shall we?

Studs Terkel This is the last half of a program called Gathering of Survivors, the voices of people of the '30s, and the De--