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G: Gaye, Marvin -- What's Goin' On? 
What's Goin On?

     Our Forefathers declared this country to be the United States of America on July 4, 1776. 100 years after they began our government, the telephone was demonstrated publicly in Philadelphia (June 25,1876). In another 100 years, there would be hundreds of millions of telephones. Radio and television would reach every inhabited spot on earth, and some spots on other planets. Through 200 years, a government designed in the 18th Century has served this country well.

     Our Forefathers set up the Federal Government to consist of three branches: the Legislative (U.S. Senate and House of Representatives); the Executive (The President, his cabinet, and appointees); and the Judicial (Supreme Court and various lower courts). The system was intended to function by designed checks and balances with each branch possessing the ability to legally curb another branch's power, if necessary.

     It is a tribute to the genius of the system that 200 years later, it still offers the chance to peacefully bring about change while acting within the guidelines of legal law. Because the House of Representatives is elected,every two years, the President every four, and the U.S. Senators on a staggered basis every six years, the people still have the right to choose who will represent us and vote on matters of policy. No matter how corrupt government has become, we choose the elected government that represents us.

     Our country is run economically by what we call the free enterprise system. However, the essential ingredient to a free enterprise system is competition. Large corporations swear up and down that there is intense competition in their various fields. Anyone who does not realize that most often they derive mutual benefit, in terms of increased profits, by the deliberate avoidance of competition is in need of a seeing eye dog and a simple course in arithmetic.

     The lack of competition today can be directly attributed to our government's failure to maintain one of its primary functions -- that of regulation. If there were no officials in football, the game would get rougher as players would realize that no one would drop a flag and penalize them for breaking the rules. Similarly, business is acutely aware of when and how it cheats.. All athletes look essentially for consistency from an official. Consistently, government has abandoned its role as a regulator.


     Instead, government has become a giant network of departments and agencies which assigns paperwork more regularly than a strict school teacher. Somehow it has managed to function in spite of the incredible tangled bureaucracy it has created. Government is a model of inefficiency that lives up to the old cliche that seemingly the left hand rarely knows what the right is doing.

     Maybe there are none naive enough to share Abraham Lincoln's belief that government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people." However, the other extreme is equally absurd. Many hold to the popular feeling that you can avoid continuing aggravation and annoyance by sticking your head in the sand. This theory may save wear and tear, but eventually it allows exploitation and ultimately the loss of participation in decisions that may decide how long humans inhabit the earth.

     As our government's power and prestige in the world community slips away, it is time to ask ourselves if those representing our government are adequately protecting our needs as a people and our interests as a nation. This leads to the annoying question: Who makes top priority decisions and just how are they really made?


GULF OIL -- Pittsburgh-based energy conglomerate.
                       Large holdings held by the Mellon family.

     All figures on oil companies hereon are supplied by Fortune Magazine. Figures represent total sales. This seems to upset oil executives, making them defensive to the point of anger. They prefer to talk about profits rather than sales. However, the sales figures are listed for two reasons. (1) When putting $5 of gas in your car's tank, you rarely hear the gas station attendant or cashier ask for $4.75 to cover expenses and an extra quarter to represent the profit. (2) Unfortunately for the energy conglomerates, their past history has created a credibility gap which will be difficult for them to overcome. Much like the boy who cried wolf once too often, they must live with the stigma that they have shown a willingness to lie, cheat, and misrepresent the facts countless times, to both the government and the consumer. Whatever profit - and sales figures -- they might show tend to make many believe that they are deliberately deceptive and inaccurate.

     A.  1971 -- $ 5 Billion, 940 Million, 002 Thousand
     B.  1972 --    6,243,000
     C.  1973 --    8,417,000
     D.  1974 --  16,458,000
     E.  1975 --  14,268,000
     F.  1976 --  16,451,000
     G.  1977 --  17,840,000

     On April 5, 1979 President Carter announced his decision to deregulate the price of gas, effective June 1, 1979.

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