The National Federation of the Blind is not an organization speaking for the blind--it is the blind speaking for themselves

Monitor Headquarters
2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708

Published monthly in braille and distributed free to the blind by the National Federation of the Blind, President: Jacobus tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708.

Inkprint edition produced and distributed by the National Federation of the Blind.

Editor: Jacobus tenBroek, 2652 Shasta Road, Berkeley, California 94708.

News items and changes of address should be sent to the Editor.



by Floyd Matson


by Jean Dyon Norris

by Patricia Snyder Ortiz

by Philip Frohlich



by Bill Dwyer

by Venkite Subremanyam

by Henry Hanson


by Floyd Matson

by Grant Metcalf

by Stanley Oliver


by Stanley Oliver

by Floyd Matson



by Manuel Urena

by Helen O. Nicol





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by Floyd Matson

The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, in a four-to-one decision, has upheld the judgment of a lower court that Edwin R. Lewinson, a blind college professor, was properly disqualified to serve as a juror on grounds of blindness.

The court rebuff, delivered on July 10, 1967, will next be appealed by Lewinson to the highest court in New York, the Court of Appeals.

The case of Lewinson v. Crews grew out of the finding of a county clerk (Crews) that Lewinson, being blind, did not meet the standards set forth in the county's judiciary law requiring that a juror must "be in the possession of his natural faculties and not infirm or decrepit" and that he must be "able to read and write the English language understandingly.” The clerk's decision was subsequently affirmed by the Supreme Court of Kings County (see the BRAILLE MONITOR, February 1967).

The state court's majority decision against Lewinson, presented by Justice Christ, turned upon the judgment that a blind person does not have his "natural faculties" within the purview of the statute. "Eyesight is expected to be found in human beings as a part of nature's complement of sound health and physical equipment,” the justices maintained. "When one is deprived of this power of sight, he falls short of the total capacity which is natural in a human being and thus, by statutory definition, we believe that a blind person cannot be said to be possessed of his 'natural faculties.'"

Justice Christ declared further that "the mind does not operate in a vacuum. . . . The judgment reached by the mind is predicated upon the impressions which the senses convey to it.” He also argued that sight was essential to the duties of a juror in examining visual evidence and testing the credibility of a witness.

"A litigant who comes before the Bar of Justice, whether in a criminal case or in civil litigation, wishes to have the impact of his evidence fall with its full weight upon the jury, if there be a jury trial. If his evidence or exhibits are not understood or the force of his interrogation of witnesses is lost, he will not have been afforded his full rights,” the court maintained.

The majority decision added, as an apparent afterthought, this interesting notion: "In requiring 'natural faculties' as a qualification for service on a jury, the Legislature may have considered not only the function of a juror, but also the effect his disability would have on the orderly and practical operation of the court's processes. While this factor alone would not support the construction we make, it is a pertinent consideration.”

The court's lone dissenter, Justice Hopkins, took issue with the definition of "natural faculties" as physical rather than intellectual powers, and argued, also against the majority, that the prevention of jury service to a large segment of the population -- such as the blind -- "violates the constitutional guarantees" of equal protection of the laws and of the privileges and immunities of citizenship.

"The blind is a large segment of our population,” the dissenting justice stated. "A statute which by its definition of qualifications of jurors denied to the blind the right of jury service should do so in unmistakable terms; and the discrimination must be based on rational grounds. But our statute does not single out blindness as a ground of disqualification, as it does felons or the non-propertied.

"In order to deprive the blind citizen of the right to be a juror, the majority finds an implicit disqualification in the words of the statute that a juror must 'be in the possession of his natural faculties and not infirm or decrepit.' Certainly, a blind person is not infirm or decrepit, and I think that in the context of the statute he is in the possession of his natural faculties. The statute must be considered in the light of the constitutional purpose to diffuse the right and duty of jury service throughout the whole citizenry. The ability to serve effectively as a juror must be the point of the statute; and the possession of intellectual power to discharge the duty is the meaning of the term 'natural faculties' which the statute employs.”

The dissenting justice went on to assert that the "right of jury service, then, unless limited by a clear direction, reposes in all citizens; the litigants may, of course, exercise their power of selection at the voir dire. A litigant may well favor the acceptance of a blind juror to serve in his case, despite the physical handicap.

"The ability of the blind to serve in the seat of judgment is reflected by the careers of many non-sighted persons,” Justice Hopkins observed. He appended a footnote citing "United States Senator Thomas P. Gore; members of Parliament, Henry Fawcett, Sir Ian Fraser; judges, Charles R. Simpson, Clair L. Finch,” -- and adding that "blindness is not a disqualification for holding public office.”

He declared that, as blindness does not disable one to be a lawyer or a judge, "it is contradictory to use the defect as a reason of rejection as a juror, especially since the juror does not act alone but in conjunction with eleven other persons to reach a joint determination.”

In conclusion, the minority opinion stated: "As the majority fairly admits, save for the existence of blindness, the petitioner has an exceptional educational background. He undoubtedly could act in the capacity of a juror as well as the average sighted juror. The community has increasingly recognized the potential reservoir of talent and intelligence which the blind possess in common with other members of the group through the expansion of schools and auxiliary services; jury service, it does not seem to me, is beyond their capabilities.”

Although Justice Hopkins in his forceful dissent did not charge his fellow judges with simple prejudice, it is difficult to interpret otherwise the contention of the majority that the mind "is fed by the senses" and therefore its judgment "is predicated upon the impressions which the senses convey to it.” The point of this statement can only be that loss of sight entails not only loss of a physical faculty but also loss of rational faculties. It is noteworthy that the majority decision does not make that case openly; it does not equate physical endowments with rational or mental faculties, but adds the above phrases almost as an aside. This innuendo is coupled with the curious observation that "the effect [which Lewinson's] disability would have on the orderly and practical operation of the court's processes" constitutes "a pertinent consideration" in the case.

It would appear from this that the majority of the justices regard the blindness of a juror as a handicap to the court at least as much as to the juror himself. It is the old argument of "convenience," utilized from time immemorial to prevent blind persons from walking abroad and gaining access to the normal avenues of participation in society. Invariably the claim is that they will impede the smooth flow of affairs -- and that, anyway, sight is essential to such activity, whatever it may be. In case after case, and field after field, whenever the barriers of prejudice have been knocked down, blind persons have demonstrated both that sight was not essential after all and that their presence on the scene does not disturb the continuity or equanimity of the proceedings.

It is to be hoped that New York's highest court, to which Lewinson is now making appeal, is less given to the sophistry of bad faith and less unbalanced by the vicious stereotype of the helpless blind man.

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DETROIT (UPI) -- A 19-year old youth blind since birth, took his first vows August 19 as the first step in a seven-year course to attain the priesthood.

The acceptance of Gilbert Pries by the Detroit Passionist Fathers is the first time a blind person has been accepted in the United States to study for the priesthood. He had already been denied acceptance by nine different religious orders because of his blindness.

One order, he said, wrote his parents and told them it "was morally wrong to encourage me to be a priest.”

Pries already has completed his one-year novitiate with the Passionate Fathers at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery where he was accepted.

"Naturally we felt honored," said the Rev. Michael Stengel, co-director of novices at the monastery.

"We have seen how well he has adapted--not only to our religious life--and have seen the possibility of the work he can do," Father Stengel said. "The whole community of priests here votes on each new member, and they voted him in with flying colors."

Striving to overcome his blindness, Pries won honors in debating, Latin oratory and foreign language contests in high school in Los Angeles.

The youth said he wants to do missionary work and has insisted on studying for the priesthood because "I am too outgoing, and being a monk doesn't appeal to me."

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by Jean Dyon Norris

Children's books of all kinds, loved by sighted children everywhere, can now be read by blind and sighted together . Twin Vision books have pages of braille opposite printed pages, so that a sighted parent can read with his blind child, or a blind parent can read with his sighted child. These books make it possible for the sighted to share reading experiences with blind members of their families or with friends.

These Twin Vision books are now available through the Twin Vision Lending Library, sponsored by the American Brotherhood for the Blind, Inc. Any blind parent, or sighted parent of a blind child, can become a subscriber of the Lending Library upon request. There is no charge for the service. Books are mailed, three at a time, to the subscriber, and may be kept for one month. When the books are returned, three more are sent out. A record is kept of the books sent to the subscriber so that titles will not be duplicated in later mailings. A record is also kept of the age and sex of the child to assure that appropriate titles will be sent. The Library includes books to be read to the very young child on up to books of interest to children of all ages through about fifteen years as a source of pleasure and education.

Anyone wishing to become a subscriber of the Twin Vision Lending Library should write to:

Twin Vision Lending Library
American Brotherhood for the Blind, Inc.
18440 Topham Street
Tarzana, California 91356

Include the name and sex of your child, whether it is the parent or child, or both, who is blind, and any other information that would help the librarian to select suitable titles. Since new titles are constantly being added to the library, it is not possible to provide a catalog.

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by Patricia Snyder Ortiz

[Editor's Note: Angelo and Patricia Ortiz are the blind parents of three normally sighted children. Patricia here tells the story of their struggle to maintain their rights as parents against the massed array of welfare and public health officialdom acting on outmoded stereotypes of blindness.

"If you don't permit the children to go in the taxi tomorrow," the lawyer advised me, "you will be saying that you want the responsibility of bringing them up yourself. If you let them go, the county officials will take more and more of the responsibility from you, and if you do want to bring up your children you'll have to fight them next year or the year after.”

This war had already lasted for more than a year. It had begun in March, 1966. For some time before that our county's public health nurse had been asking us anxious questions. They all concerned our little girl Valerie, then two.

"Valerie will have a difficult time when she starts school," she had informed us. "They will have to keep her back so that she can learn to talk and eat with a spoon and fork. How will you ever teach her to dress herself or to go to the 'pottie' ? And someone has to teach her to see. If no one does, she'll never learn to look at objects which are at a distance.

The nurse had consequently contacted the senior child welfare worker and had told her of her fears. Together they had looked for a solution. In March they had come to me and had informed me excitedly of their panacea.

"We have found someone, "they told me, "who babysits for children of working mothers. We think that it would be a good idea to send Valerie to her house for five days a week from 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. This would be a sort of preparation for nursery school to get Valerie accustomed to playing with other children.”

Not having had time to give it much forethought, I went along with the idea. Valerie went to the home of the babysitter for one week and three days of the second week. On Wednesday Valerie became sick and again Thursday morning. She stayed home that day and her stomach was upset all day. The next day, although she was still sick to her stomach, I sent her back. Later I went down to talk to the sitter.

Valerie did not improve over the weekend, and on Monday we had to take her to the hospital. The doctor diagnosed her condition as a nervous reaction and kept her in the hospital for three days to rest.

It was the day after Valerie's return home that the nurse and the child welfare worker again came to our house. They declared that Valerie had been ill to try to get her own way and not have to go to the babysitter's. I should send her back immediately, they urged. I should make her mind. I contacted a psychologist, and he disagreed. His opinion was that she was too young, also being pushed too hard, also tired from the long hours, and perhaps felt a little rejected. But the factor which had contributed most, he said, was conflict between the adults involved. I must straighten out this conflict either with these women or with their supervisors, or it would be disastrous to send Valerie back.

It was not difficult to find the reason for the conflict. It is necessary to relate only one incident, and no comment will be necessary.

I had explained to these two county workers one day that I had been in a training program at vocational rehabilitation. I had related how the blind people who were in this training program had been given tests and had been timed according to sighted standards. "They told us that we had to try to do at least as well as the average sighted person on these same jobs,” I had said.

"I can't believe that," the child welfare worker had interrupted. "Why, it's ridiculous to assume that a blind person could do as well at something as a sighted person."

I wrote to the State Commission for the Blind. The commission asked the local welfare officials to hold off on any further plans for us because the commission intended to move us to Rochester. They searched for a year but found no housing for us there.

After waiting until the commission had given up its search for an apartment, the local authorities again began to press upon us the idea of the babysitter--this time with a few differences. Valerie, who was now 4, was to be accompanied by Frankie, two, leaving only David, 7 months at home. But there was also a difference in the method used for presenting the idea to us.

"The decision isn't yours to make,” they informed me. "It has al- ready been made. We'd rather have your cooperation in this than have to make you do it. . . . You had better say yes for your sakes (mine and my husband's) as well as for the children's. . . . We may have to take drastic action. ... I don't want to create an unhappy situation. ... I don't want to threaten you, but we must have 100 percent cooperation on this. The commissioners of health and of welfare are both in favor of this. I'm going to watch it closely. ... If Angelo's against it, he'll have to go.”

I was sure that they meant that they would have us in family court and we became very worried and quite upset. We contacted a lawyer, and I wrote a letter to the Secretary of the NFB. I'd like to thank him for his moral support and for his offer of help if it had been necessary. It gave us strength and encouragement to know that help was standing by just in case. We wish we knew how to express more appreciation to such people under such circumstances. A mere 'thank you' seems inadequate.

On August 4, the child welfare worker told me that the following Tuesday the two children would begin to go by taxi to the babysitter's two days a week, 6 hours a day. They intended to increase this every few weeks so that the children would eventually go all day every day.

By this time Valerie knew how to talk, to dress herself, and to perform all of the skills which these people had been sure that she would not learn. She had even learned to see--and all by herself. How about that?

When I informed the child welfare worker that Valerie knew how to eat with a fork and spoon, she had no immediate answer. The next time that she came she told me that Valerie would have to learn to eat with a knife and fork before going to kindergarten.

The lawyer advised me not to send the children. When I told him how upset we had become, he said that if we refused to cooperate, we need have nothing to do with the nurse and child welfare worker.

Tuesday the children did not go in the taxi. Wednesday the child welfare worker called twice, and we refused to talk to her. The next Monday the nurse came to the house and called on the phone, but no one here spoke to her. Later the same day our welfare case worker informed us that they had decided to have a conference Thursday to discuss what should be done for the children.

Thursday we found the county nurse, her supervisor, the health commissioner, the child welfare worker, and our case worker, gathered to have a "conference" with Angelo and me. But I had invited my mother, an aunt and two friends who know us well. We had thus balanced the discussion a little. I also carried with me the September, 1966 BRAILLE MONITOR. I had selected a few choice sentences from the "Letter to the Editor of Life Magazine" to read just in case the going got rough.

The "conference" started with a semi-lecture by the health commissioner on doing what was best for the children. Then I had my chance. First I stated that sending the children away from home was unnecessary and unreasonable, and my friends and relatives let the county know that they supported me on that. When I mentioned that I was being forced to do something which for any other parent was a matter of choice, there were immediate objections.

"We were under the impression that you were in agreement with this,” the child welfare worker protested.

"And what did you expect?" I asked. "You came to my house and threatened me."

"No one threatened you,” she insisted.

At this I quoted one or two of the threats which she had made, and my mother quoted one or two more.

"Are these threats, or aren't they?" I asked.

Not long after this everyone began stating, "I'm ready to bow out."

The final decision was that I should take charge of anything that is to be done for my children. This was a grand victory for us - one which came a year later than it should have.

But something more wonderful happened the next day, something for which we had been waiting even longer. A friend took Angelo to Syracuse for a job interview. He talked with the employer, and the employer showed him the work. The employer then informed him that he was interested in training and employing him in the "dark room" at the film processing company.

We are looking forward to the future with optimism and hope. It is wonderful to know that our days of complete dependence are nearly at an end. These past five years have taught me one lesson above all others. Even among those who have thought that they knew us well there has existed much ignorance and prejudice. Education is the antidote for ignorance and we must provide this education.

While I was in the midst of my struggle here, I spoke with a clergy-man. "I know that there are attitudes about you on the part of these people which are not right,” he assured me. "But it would be a very great task for anyone to try to change them. I wouldn't want to attempt making such a change.”

This brought up an interesting point. Often we encounter attitudes which are not right. Often, too, we are afraid or unwilling to attempt very great tasks. We must then ask ourselves if the principles involved are worth the effort required. In this case I know that they were.

September 13, 1967

Dear Mr. tenBroek:

"Would you please make note in the "Monitor Miniatures" of our change of address from 218 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, to 2121 East Fayette Street, Syracuse. The reason for the move is that Mr. Ortiz has become an employee of the Carhart Photo Company here. . .”

(Mrs.) Patricia Ortiz

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Disability Insurance and Aid to the Blind


(Reprinted from Social Security Bulletin, August 1967, Vol. 30, No. 8)

ALTHOUGH it is possible for blind persons in acute financial need to qualify for both aid to the blind (Ali) and old-age, survivors, and disability insurance (OASDI) payments, there has been little overlap of the two programs recently among persons receiving such payments. In 1962, the latest year for which data are available, only 1 in 5 blind persons aged 18-64 who started receiving public assistance payments that year was also an OASDI beneficiary.

The most recent survey of AB recipients was conducted in the fall of 1952 by the Welfare Administration's Bureau of Family Services.1 Data for those recipients who had qualified for payments during the preceding year were later combined by the Social Security Administration with statistics from its earnings and claims records to provide a basis for the present study. As in a similar comparison2 of recipients of aid to the permanently and totally disabled (APTD) and OASDI (also based in part on 1962 data from the Welfare Administration), the study is restricted to recipients aged 18-64. This age range was chosen in order to facilitate the comparison with disability insurance beneficiaries.

Table 1 is a distribution of the AB recipients in the study by OASDI beneficiary status; it also shows what type of benefit was being paid in 1962 to the beneficiary recipients and the reason why the nonbeneficiaries were not receiving a benefit. Since the purpose of the study was to explore the relationship between the OASDI and AB programs, the analysis concentrates on comparisons between the beneficiary and nonbeneficiary groups. Those AB recipients whose OASDI status was pending or unknown have been omitted from these comparisons.


Recipients receiving both OASDI and AB payments were found to be more urbanized than the blind nonbeneficiaries: 78 percent of the former lived in cities, compared with 63 percent of the latter. The beneficiaries were also older than the nonbeneficiaries (table 2).3 Almost all the disability insurance beneficiaries and two-thirds of the old-age beneficiaries were men, compared with less than half of the nonbeneficiaries.

Table 1. — OASDI status of persons approved for AB in 1962 (Contact NFB for the table)

The differences between AB recipients who were OASDI beneficiaries and those who were nonbeneficiaries in residence, sex, and age undoubtedly reflect differences in opportunities for covered employment. Women are less likely than men and the young less likely than the old to have worked long enough to acquire the insured status required of beneficiaries. Similarly, covered employment has been more readily available in urban than in rural areas. Examination of the data on OASDI status, grouped by type of benefit received or reason for nonreceipt, shows that the groups for whom covered employment was essential (disability insurance beneficiary, old-age beneficiary, and medical denial) had much higher proportions of those who were urban and of men than did the groups that were not covered-employment-related (dependent and survivor beneficiaries and those who never applied for benefits).

Table 2. — Residence, sex, and age of persons approved for AB in 1962, by OASDI status (Contact NFB for the table)

Compared with the general population of the same age, a much higher percentage of the AB recipients were widowed, divorced, or had never married (table 3). The social and economic handicaps of blindness were probably the most important reasons why many of the recipients either did not marry or did not remain married, but the fact that AB recipients were generally older than the population as a whole also accounted for the higher proportion of widowed and divorced persons among them. The proportion of those who were married was higher among beneficiaries than among nonbeneficiaries, but the proportion of those who had never married was lower. Considerably more beneficiaries than nonbeneficiaries lived in their own homes and correspondingly fewer lived with parents or children (table 4).

Table 3. — Marital status of total population aged IH-M in 1960, and of persons approved for AB in 1962, by OASDI status (Contact NFB for the table)

Few of the AB recipients (8 percent) were confined to their homes, but more than one-half of those who were not confined needed help in getting around outside the home. One out of 4 (26 percent) had received vocational rehabilitation service at some time in his life. No significant differences were found between beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries in mobility, care from others, or the receipt of rehabilitation services, but there was considerable variation in the ages at which they lost their sight. The average beneficiary became blind at age -42, compared with age 31 for the nonbeneficiary (table 5) — further evidence that those in the former group had had greater opportunities for employment than those in the latter.

Table 4. — Living arrangements of persons approved for AB in 1962, by OASDI status (Contact NFB for the table)

AB recipients were found to have had much less education than persons of the same age in the general population: only 12 percent of them were high school graduates, compared with 40 percent for the Nation as a whole. Though this generally low level of educational attainment undoubtedly contributes to the need for public assistance on the part of the blind, no significant differences were found between beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries.

Table 5. — Age at loss of sight of persons approved for AB in 1962, by OASDI status (Contact NFB for the table)

Table 6. — Employment, history and quarters of coverage, 1047-C2, of persons approved for AB in 1962, by OASDI status (Contact NFB for the table)

Twenty-nine percent of the AB recipients had never been employed and an additional '21 percent had earned no quarters of coverage during the 15 years preceding the survey (table G). Though the beneficiaries had a history of more employment, than the nonbeneficiaries, 12 percent of them had never worked. These persons were dependent and survivor beneficiaries, since persons drawing disability or old-age benefits necessarily had some employment experience. The data on earnings, education, and employment suggest how disability, low skill levels, and low socio-economic status reinforce one another. A blind person is less likely than a normally sighted person to acquire an education and develop skills; he is therefore less able to compete economically and less likely to have the necessary wherewithal to prevent or cure disability.


Welfare agencies estimate the recipient's total income requirements and compare this amount with his actual income to determine how much assistance he may receive. AH recipients who began receiving an assistance payment in 1962 had mean total requirements of $88 a month — an average of $1!) a month in other income and an average AB payment of $64 a month, leaving $5 as the average unmet need (table 7). When the corresponding figures for beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries are compared, it appears that beneficiary recipients have greater financial needs, on the average, than do other recipients. Table 7 reveals that more than one-half the needs of beneficiaries were met by income other than public assistance, but only one-tenth of nonbeneficiaries' needs were met by funds that did not come from public assistance. This fact suggests that beneficiaries with low income needs usually would not qualify for assistance; their OASDI benefits and other income would be sufficient for their minimum requirements. It is also evident that beneficiaries receiving aid to the blind have lower-than-average OASDI benefits. The average benefit for all disabled workers in 1962 was $90, compared with $G0 for AB beneficiary recipients.

The data suggest that, for those blind persons fortunate enough to qualify for benefits, disability insurance usually provides additional income support when needs are small or benefits are large, but that the blind with large financial requirements or low benefits need further income support. The data also show that the majority of AB recipients lacked the work experience and time spent in covered employment that is necessary to qualify for disability benefits.


The only important differences between AB and APTD recipients aged 18-64 were in marital status, mobility, the need for care, and receipt of rehabilitation services. Forty-one percent of the AB recipients and 29 percent of the APTD recipients were married; and 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively, were widowed, separated, or divorced. Those receiving aid to the permanently and totally disabled were about three times as likely to be confined to their homes, and the AB recipients were about three times as likely to need help outside the home. Only 7 percent of the APTD recipients had ever received rehabilitation services, compared with 26 percent of the recipients of aid to the blind (table 8).

Table 7. — Mean requirements, income, and unmet need of persons approved for AB in 1962, by OASDI status (Contact NFB for the table)

Table 8. — Selected characteristics of persons approved for APTD and AB in 1962 (Contact NFB for the table)

These comparisons suggest that, in general, blind recipients of public assistance who are under age 65 resemble other disabled persons receiving public assistance but have a somewhat more normal family life and receive somewhat more help from society. A comparison of the AB and APTD recipient rates since 1950 also suggests that our economic and social system has marshaled more resources to help solve the economic problems of the blind than those of other disabled persons. The ratio of AB recipients to the total population has declined from 10 per 10,000 aged 18 or over in 1958 to 8 per 10,000 in 1965. This decline has virtually coincided with the rise in disability insurance benefits, which were introduced in mid 1957.

The APTD recipient rate rose steadily from 1 per 1,000 persons aged 18-64 in 1050 to more than 5 per 1,000 in 1965, and the introduction of disability insurance benefits did not alter this trend. Disability insurance would thus appear to be more effective in meeting the needs of the blind than those of other disabled persons; perhaps the criteria for qualification are less stringent for the blind. Regardless of whether disability insurance is the major factor, these figures suggest either that blindness is decreasing or that society is increasingly providing for it in ways other than public assistance to a much greater extent than for other forms of disability.


*Disability and Family Surveys Branch, Division of Economic and Social Surveys, Office of Research and Statistics.

1. For a discussion of the findings of the 1962 survey, see Robert II. Mugge, "Recipients of Aid to the Blind," Welfare in Review, April 1965, pages 1-12.

2. Philip Frohlieh and Lawrence D. Haber, "Disability Insurance and Public Assistance: A Study of APTD Recipients," Social Security Bulletin, August 1960, pages 3-9.

3. Welfare agencies award payments to recipients aged 65 and over much more frequently in the aid to the blind program than in aid to the permanently and totally disabled, where most recipients are transferred to old-age assistance at age 65. Thirty-five percent of the persons awarded AB payments in 1962 were aged 65 or older.

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WASHINGTON--Senator E. L. (Bob) Bartlett's bill to ensure that nonresidential public buildings financed with federal funds are designed and constructed to be accessible to the physically handicapped was passed unanimously by the Senate.

The bill authorizes the Administrator of General Services and the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to prescribe design standards to make non-residential buildings accessible to and usable by physically-handicapped persons.

An amendment added by the Senate Committee on Public Works permits the Administrator to grant modifications or waivers of the regulations in specific cases which can "clearly show that such regulations are not necessary.” Senator Bartlett said that he understood this to mean that certain "special-use" buildings may be excepted, but that no waivers would be granted to any "general-use" buildings.

The committee report accompanying the bill states, "If people who are physically handicapped are to rehabilitate themselves and seek gainful employment, it is vitally necessary that they have access to and are able to use public buildings in which they must work or visit in carrying on a normal life.”

The committee also emphasized that this legislation is needed to set an example which would, hopefully, be followed by state and local governments, as well as private industry in constructing buildings that must be used by the public.

In a prepared statement delivered immediately before the vote in the Senate, Senator Bartlett said, "The physically handicapped are citizens of this country-just as others of us are; they pay taxes and contribute to the economy of the country--just as others of us do; and they deserve access to their public buildings on an equal basis with the rest of us. This is all they ask--and it is all I ask.”

"Without spending any appreciable sum of money and without any long and complex studies but with just a little bit of thought and consideration, we can take steps to open up our public buildings and a more normal life to all the people. I urge swift passage of S. 222; we have delayed longer than we should have,” Senator Bartlett concluded.

The Bill now goes to the House of Representatives where a similar bill is pending before the House Committee on Public Works.

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New Job Opening

A new position in the Federal Civil Service has been established with the title, Junior Federal Assistant. The pay is $92.00 per week. The requirements are the completion of two years of college, or two years of clerical or administrative experience. Such experience would qualify either before or after a blind person had lost his sight.

The announcement indicates the jobs are available in virtually all Federal agencies in all parts of the country. Some of the more promising positions are to assist professionals in the fields of Economics, Professional Administration, General Administration, Finance, Contracts, Supply and Transportation. There would, of course, be opportunities for promotion after experience and good performance. There is a written examination which is given on a continuous basis in Civil Service offices in virtually every major city in the country.

It is difficult to predict whether it will be easy or hard for blind people to obtain jobs in this new classification. We hope that a good many will file applications and take the examination in an endeavor to obtain positions. To get full information on these positions, get in touch with your Civil Service office and ask for Announcement No. 411.

Of course, for those who have completed four years of college, or will receive their college degrees next June, the Federal Service entrance examination is again open. This offers the opportunity for a number of blind people to obtain beginning professional jobs with the Federal Government. For information on it, ask your Federal Civil Service office for Announcement No. 410.

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by Bill Dwyer

Presentation of the Louis Braille Award to NFB President Jacobus tenBroek, his magnificently stirring banquet address, and two stimulating and informative panels were among the highlights of the Twelfth Annual Convention of the Empire State Association of the Blind, held September 1-4, at the Penn Garden Hotel, New York City.

Veterans of the organized blind movement in the Empire State agreed that the Twelfth Annual ESAB Convention was the best and most successful ever!

Ninety-five persons were registered in attendance at the convention!

One hundred and twelve were present at the convention banquet!

But though these statistics are impressive, since they greatly exceed similar statistics of all prior New York conventions, they do not express the spirit of dedicated purpose that was apparent as the convention progressed, as scheduled events occurred, as small groups of conventioneers gathered in lobbies and rooms and discussed the day's events!

On Friday evening the Executive Board met to review the resolutions and other important matters that were to come before the Convention. On Saturday morning after the usual welcoming addresses were given and the official delegates to the NFB Los Angeles Convention submitted their report, a report on the state of the State was given by the president.

Two resolutions were then adopted unanimously. One provides that the ESAB Executive Board, from time to time, will select a person in the organized blind movement (NFB or IFB) whose outstanding work in behalf of the blind merits recognition and attention. The resolution further provides that the person selected be presented with a plaque with the person's name and a brief description of the accomplishments of the person inscribed thereon, during the banquet of the annual convention. This award will be known as the Louis Braille Award and will be held in very high esteem. The second resolution is similar to the first except that the recipient will be a person outside the organized blind movement, but who has served the blind with distinction. A plaque describing the accomplishments of the person to be honored will be secured. His name and accomplishments will be inscribed on the plaque and will be presented to the recipient at our convention banquet. This award will be known as the Dr. Jacobus tenBroek Award. Any member who wishes to make a nomination for any of these awards is urged to do so before the May Board Meeting.

On Sunday afternoon we were all on the edge of our seats as Dr. tenBroek, in his usual thorough manner queried, pried and cajoled to get the facts he wanted in a panel discussion on rehabilitation that he chaired. Those participating in the panel discussion were Stanley Wartenberg, Coordinator - Placement and Education Divisions, New York Association for the Blind; John Possentini, Director - Catholic Guild for the Blind, New York City; and our own John Nagle, Chief of the NFB Washington office.

On Sunday afternoon we were treated to another exciting and informative panel discussion on legislation which was chaired by John Nagle. Participating on this panel were: Rae Shoemaker, Consultant on Eye Health, New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped and legislative assistant to Oscar Friedensohn, Director of the Commission; George Keane, Assistant Director of the Industrial Home for the Blind, Brooklyn and legislative chairman for NYS Federation of Workers for the Blind and for the AAWB; last, but not least, was Nathaniel Seaman, Director of the Blinded Veterans Association and Director of NYS Federation of Workers for the Blind.

Interspersed throughout the weekend we were privileged to hear such personalities as Professor Ed Lewinson as he described in detail his court battles for the right to serve on a jury. Miss Farkhunda Wahid, a blind school teacher from Pakistan, who is touring the United States on a U.S. State Department grant arranged for her by the NFB, told of the problems and conditions blind children face in Pakistan. Bettina Wolff, Librarian, New York State Library for the Blind, described the herculean task her small staff must handle and during a question and answer period made many good suggestions on how we can be of assistance. The usual committee reports were given as were various and sundry door prizes which were donated by the firms in and around the City of New York.

The Convention voted to have introduced in the 1968 Legislature a total of five bills. Included in this group is a proposed bill which would remove the Commission from the Dept. of Social Services and make it a separate entity. We will try again to get the Model White Cane bill passed.

Because it was Bill Dwyer's resolution for the Dr. tenBroek Award and his resolution and nomination for the Louis Braille Award, he was allowed the honor and privilege of making the presentation. At the banquet. Bill presented the first Louis Braille Award to Dr. Jacobus tenBroek for reasons so obvious to all of us that they need not be recounted here. One hundred twelve Federationists and their friends attended the banquet and heard Dr. tenBroek deliver an inspiring address. Peter Campbell, Director of Student Information at Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Yorktown Heights, N. Y. served as Master of Ceremonies and Chairman of the Publicity Committee. Pete did a yeoman's job at marking the floors and elevators in Braille.

A small group met and discussed the progress of the Student Division of NFB. Several vending stand operators attended a workshop and had a good session with Anthony C. Maffettone, Business Manager of the Commission and Alex Samuels, Vending Service Program Supervisor.

Elected to serve two-year terms commencing January 1, 1968 were: Dominic DeJohn, Brooklyn, President; Bill Dwyer, Albany, First-Vice President; Bill Webb, Syracuse, Second-Vice President; Mrs. Dorthea Vogel, Tonawanda, Treasurer; and Mrs. Laura Herman, Secretary. Elected delegate and alternate to the NFB Conventions were Dominic DeJohn and Bill Dwyer.

The 1968 ESAB Convention will be held over the Labor Day weekend at the Syracuse Hotel in Syracuse, N. Y. The convention chose Rochester as the site of the 1969 convention.

The officers and members of the Empire State Association of the Blind are deeply indebted to Dr. tenBroek and to John Nagle for giving of themselves so freely during the entire weekend by participating wholeheartedly in our convention and by making available to us their advice and counsel during all of our meetings.

We firmly believe that because of the assistance we received we were able to have our most productive and successful convention ever.

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Customs Duty on the Typewriter

Editor's Note: Customs Duty on the Typewriter of the Blind. Test Case in India. ... In the summer of 1966 Dr. Isabelle Grant sent a donated portable typewriter to Mr. Venkite Subremanyam. We are presenting here his account of his efforts to establish that a typewriter is a necessary appliance for the blind, and should be duty free.

I was charged with the criminal offence of conspiracy for importing without licence a portable typewriter and an explanation was demanded within ten days by the Chief Postal Appraisor of Government Post Office, Madras on August 29, 1966. Free entry is allowed only to articles worth Rs.50/- for individuals and Rs.150/- for organizations. The assessed value of the typewriter was Rs.200/- and a duty of Rs.41/- was levied.

Equipment for the blind, a gift to our organization of the blind was my defence by return post.

Long before the expiration of ten days, a postman brought a parcel and demanded the payment of the duty. I declined it on principle although there were friends to pay off the amount. The parcel was wheeled right about turn to GPO 500 miles away.

On the 13th of September 1966, the Asst. Collector of Customs wrote to me, "Clearance is allowed as a special case.” I interpreted it to mean free clearance, and forwarded the order to the Chief Postal Appraiser, but the duty was confirmed. I asked for a customs remission certificate from the Government of India and it was promised in due course from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. Clarification was sought whether the typewriter was an imprint typewriter or a Braille-writer.” A typewriter is a typewriter and nothing else," I explained.

The Postmaster General at Madras advised me to settle the issue with the collector of customs.

The relevant notification from the Ministry of Finance was forwarded to me regarding the import of tangible equipment for the blind. "Free entry is allowed to tangible equipment for the blind and the deaf to the institutions of the blind and the deaf for imparting instructions,” was the chief regulation. Accordingly, I claimed free clearance for the typewriter as tangible equipment for the blind. Meanwhile on January 7, 1967, the postman brought to me again the parcel with the very same demand. Once again I declined to pay the duty and wrote to the Postmaster General that "it is far better to surrender the machine for state service than help to break it into pieces by unauthorized transit.” The parcel was returned to GPO.

I sent the U.S. National Federation of the Blind all the records in original to take up the case from that end. On March 10, 1967, the NFB offered to pay the duty in case the parcel was still within the shores of India. Accordingly I presented this letter to the Superintendent of Foreign Posts and asked for the detention of the machine. He offered to keep the machine in deposit for 65 days from April 17th to enable the payment of duty from USA.

The Chief Postal Appraiser insisted that a portable typewriter was not equipment for the blind and that the Indian Federation of the Blind was only an organization and not an institution imparting instruction to the deaf and the blind. So he threatened to return the parcel to the sender as per the international postal regulation. "You are at full liberty to pack it off from our shores,” I replied.

The Postmaster General in the United Kingdom and the United States forwarded to me at my request the rules in force in their countries regulating the import of equipment for the blind. They do not accept portable typewriters as equipment for the blind. The American Printing House for the Blind justified the duty as universally accepted. I decided to request the Government of India to alter the regulations in the light; of common sense and the development in modern science. On April 13, a comprehensive petition was presented to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on the subject. I claimed that a portable typewriter was modern equipment for the blind for communication with sighted people and that duty-free entry should be allowed to such machines for the use of any blind persons, institutions or organizations. I suggested that India should set an example to the world at large.

An express telegram was received from the Deputy Prime Minister on the 28th of April in which I was asked whether the portable typewriter in question was a gift, from whence and whether intended to an individual or an organization. My answer was, "A gift intended for the service of the Indian Federation of the Blind.”

An "Ad Hoc" exemption order dated the 26th of May 1967 was received from the Under Secretary in the Department of Revenue and Insurance, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, to say "that in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 25 (2) of the Customs Act, 1962, the Central Government on being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest so to do, hereby exempts, as a special case, typewriter in question from payment of customs duty, leviable therein! Necessary instructions have been issued to the collector of customs Madras who may please be contacted direct in the matter.”

I presented a copy of the order to the customs collector forthwith and on June 5, 1967 the postman delivered the parcel free of duty. I unfastened the knots and took out the machine. Three broken parts were inside the box, the upper part of the machine was jammed, evidently the net result of to and fro rough handling for over 1500 miles between GPO and my address.

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by Henry Hanson

(Reprinted from the Chicago Daily News, Aug. 19, 1967)

DECATUR, ILL.--He's 27, totally blind, and has no hands. He reads Braille with his lips. With a metal hook strapped on the end of his right arm, he clutches a 6-foot, red-and -white walking stick. The stub of his left arm swings free.

The tap-tapping of the stick is heard daily up and down corridors of the state's new Adolph Meyer mental health zone center.

Daniel Albert Nellis, the man with the stick, is not a patient. He is state rehabilitation counselor for the mentally ill in a district made up of 11,000 square miles and 800,000 people

"I like the work,” he explained. "It means something.”

Does his own life of handicaps encourage the mentally ill to fight harder for a comeback?

"It might,” he said. "But I can't say. They'd have to tell you that.”

Twelve years ago, Dan Nellis, son of a Chicago plumber, was a normal youngster with a consuming passion--chemistry.

While playing in his home, he improperly mixed some chemicals. They exploded. He lost his sight and both hands and also suffered burns on his neck and chest that resulted in months of hospitalization for plastic surgery. . . .

Nellis completed high school at Spaulding, where he learned Braille, and then went on to college.

Now he holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Oregon.

Steve Bailey, late head of the Chicago Plumbers Union, helped send Nellis through school by giving him $10,000 raised at what was supposed to have been a testimonial dinner for Bailey.

"I'll never forget Steve Bailey,” said Nellis.

Dr. Lewis Kurke, director of the Decatur zone center, says Nellis is one of his best employees. "He's bright, he's learning a lot and he's teaching others. He eventually will train six more rehabilitation counselors in the district.”

The job requires traveling throughout the district, talking with judges, state's attorneys and community leaders working to aid the mentally ill. He also works with families and patients. . . .

Nellis, a husky, 6-foot, 1-inch blond, lives alone. Each day he slips in and out of a shoulder harness that, with a wrench of the back controls the opening and closing of his metal hook. . . .

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by Floyd Matson

The pioneering efforts of Professor Jacobus tenBroek, president of the National Federation of the Blind, in defining the "Law of the Poor" and stimulating self-organization on the part of numerous disadvantaged groups are gaining increased recognition across the country.

The most recent tribute to Dr. tenBroek's writings and speeches has appeared in an article published by the New Republic (August 5, 1967), under the title "We've Got Rights! The No-Longer Silent Welfare Poor.” Authored by two distinguished professors of the Columbia University School of Social Work, Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward, the article points to the growing number of court tests in public welfare cases raising questions of constitutional rights.

"This new concern for developing a rule of law in programs of the welfare state,” the authors write, "owes much to the legal scholarship of Jacobus tenBroek, a blind professor of political science at the University of California in Berkeley, and more recently to Charles Reich, a Yale law professor. tenBroek has spent the better part of his career exposing America's dual system of justice -- one for the affluent, another for the poor.”

The main thrust of the New Republic article bears upon the failure of the public welfare system to embrace the needs of more than a fraction of the nation's poor.

Noting that the rising number of court challenges deal with two areas of grievance -- "violations of the civil liberties of welfare recipients, and arbitrary denials of benefits" -- professors Piven and Cloward focus their discussion on the numerous forms of rejection and arbitrary exclusion from the rolls practiced by welfare officials, as well as upon newly devised methods of fighting back on the part of welfare recipients. One particularly dramatic episode was described as follows:

"The practice of summarily terminating people from the rolls without a written reason or an opportunity for a hearing led Boston recipients to stage a sit-in. When the police beat them, the demonstrators screamed out the windows of the welfare department, and rioting erupted in the streets for three nights.”

The principal method of retaliation by "the no-longer silent welfare poor,” however, is that of the legal test of discriminatory provisions and unfair practices. The New Republic article stressed the recent "historic decision" of a three -judge federal court in Connecticut, declaring unconstitutional the state's residence requirement for welfare assistance partially on grounds of constitutional protection of the right to free interstate movement. (For discussion of this case, see the BRAILLE MONITOR, July 1967, p. 395.)

Another notable instance of the injection of constitutional issues into public welfare, according to the article, involves a recent ruling by New York's highest court "that social welfare laws do not authorize the jailing of male welfare recipients who refuse to work under terms dictated by a welfare department.” It was also pointed out that California's Supreme Court (in the Parrish case) has declared unconstitutional the practice of mass night searches of recipients' homes. The article fails to note, however, that the U.S. Supreme Court in June handed down an equivalent decision upholding the right of privacy against the intrusion of public administrators no less than police officers. (See the BRAILLE MONITOR, July 1967, pp. 423-426.)

The mounting legal counterattack against arbitrary terminations of welfare benefits, the New Republic article points out, is largely focused in the area of public housing, where tenants in two current cases "allege that public housing authorities violated their rights under the due-process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by evicting them without a written reason or an opportunity for a hearing.” Other forms of deception and denial of client rights are described by the authors in a forceful paragraph:

"It is characteristic of the American way of public welfare that people on the rolls are regularly cheated out of such benefits as the law provides. As a consequence of the high turnover among welfare employees, many of them never learn the complex regulations governing allowances or master the equally complex administrative procedures. And recipients. . . are rarely permitted to examine the regulations. The result is underbudgeting which is estimated to deprive recipients of about 20 percent of what the law says should be included in their regular biweekly or monthly checks.”

As awareness of these victimizing practices has spread among clients, through the efforts of legal aid groups and newly formed welfare rights organizations, the poor at the bottom of the system have begun to respond with direct action. For example, the authors report that "groups of recipients in New York City have become alert to these deprivations and have been circulating check lists of the items which welfare regulations define as entitlements. The completed check lists are submitted to the welfare department in bulk. . . The client groups are now beginning to back up requests that the department meet 'minimum standards' with applications for 'fair hearings.'"

Emphasizing that "successful attacks in the courts could do much to alter welfare practices and to increase the volume of benefits available to people,” the New Republic writers observe that pressure to compel compliance "is now beginning to be exerted by recipients' organizations springing up all over the country, as part of a new National Welfare Rights Movement which staged a series of demonstrations June 30 in more than 40 cities.”

As readers of the BRAILLE MONITOR already know, the National Welfare Rights Movement is the outgrowth of a statewide organization by that name in California, brought into being largely through the instigation of NFB President tenBroek. Less directly but no less importantly, the trend toward self-organization on the part of recipient groups across the land has derived inspiration and influence from the successful movement of the organized blind themselves -- carried on coincidentally, but not accidentally, under the leadership of Jacobus tenBroek.

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by Grant Metcalf

On July 22, in San Francisco, a group joined together to form the United States Braille Chess Association. We are very interested in obtaining members on a national scale. Our purpose is to encourage and assist in the promotion and advancement of chess among blind chess enthusiasts. We will welcome letters of inquiry from any blind person who plays or has an interest in playing chess. They may write to:

Grant Metcalf
USBCA Secretary
213 California Avenue South
San Francisco, California 94080

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by Stanley Oliver

On Sunday, July 9, the day prior to the 1967 Detroit PTG convention, thirty-eight blind craftsmen met in an action-packed, four-hour session. One of the several features included was the reading of warm sentiments by Alfie Knight, honorary president of the Associated Blind Tuners of England. "We've been able,” stated Alfie elaborating on the written message, "to raise wages, and as soon as our organization gets stronger, we're going to call a strike for more economic justice.” Knowing Alfie, we look for action to suit the sentiment expressed. Blind tuners historically in England, and regrettably so, have been separately organized, thus varying from the PTG within which the blind form around five percent of the membership, contributing as well as gaining from such association. "I expect to bring along one of the leading blind English tuners to Calgary convention,” stated Alfie.

The Steinway Company, represented by Fred Drasche and John Bogyos, handled the technical part of the afternoon in a two-hour class. Teflon bushings which are now found in over 1100 places in current Steinway grand pianos were taken up in detail. Techniques for Coping with occasional tight or loose centers, the new Steinway round end center pins, molded felt knuckles were shown. A great deal of satisfaction was expressed by those in the class on the clear readily grasped exposition of Mr. Drasche and Mr. Bogyos. Tapes of the entire program talk and technical session are available from the PTG chapter program department. They are of excellent quality and technically invaluable on the teflon field.

Dr. Robert Thompson, Superintendent, Michigan School for the Blind, member of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, former president, American Association of Instructors for the Blind, addressed the group. He stressed character qualities important to personal success in piano service. Bob is a master of the well-placed anecdote and his sober observations were liberally sprinkled with humorous asides.

Weston Hunt, blind PTG member of the New York chapter, and teacher at the New York Association for the Blind, delivered an outstanding paper on the natural aptitudes and training required to equip a blind piano technician. His two-year course has been described by PTG president Otto as one of the two or three good schools in the U.S.

M.S. "Augie" McCollon, Topeka, Kansas, with a 42 year background in tuning, gave an inspiring and factual account of his work. He has served as a placement officer for the Kansas State agency and has been responsible for seeing to the proper training and subsequent employment of a number of now established blind men. A drop in center was kept open during the convention housing hospitality, coffee, a display of tools for the blind handyman and the latest models of talking book machines and tape cassette recording player. Leader Dogs for the Blind furnished transportation for many of the group to their nearby training school during one of the evenings away from the convention. From all reports a jolly and profitable time was had by all before blending with the general PTG convention.

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(From The Michigan Council Bulletin)

Have you ever had trouble establishing credit or cashing a check in a strange town? If so, you will be happy to know that this need no longer be a problem for the blind of Michigan.

In our society, in which the driver's licence is accepted as personal identification, the person who does not have one may find it almost impossible to prove his identity. Recognizing this, the Honorable Robert D. Mahoney, of Detroit, introduced legislation providing for the issuance of identification cards for blind persons. Governor Romney signed the bill into law in June.

To obtain one of these cards, go to any office of the Secretary of State. After payment of one dollar and the presentation of proof of legal blindness, your application will be processed in the same way as for driver's licenses. When you receive your card a few weeks later, it will look very much like a driver's license, except for the color. Renewal is not necessary, but it is advised if you change your address.

Proof of legal blindness may be obtained from one of the state regional libraries, the Department of Social Services, or an optometrist or opthalmologist.

Mr. Mahoney says that he would like the new law to make these cards available to all persons ineligible for drivers' licenses. He will therefore work next year to bring this about.

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by Stanley Oliver

(From The Michigan Council Bulletin)

The Metropolitan Society for the Blind in Detroit is setting up a summer camp program at Brighton although there is an already established blind camp under the auspices of the Salvation Army and the Michigan Council of the Blind. The initiative and organization of blind people led to the creation and success of the Council camp. Cooperative use and expansion of the Michigan Council facility was proposed by the Council but the plea fell on deaf ears.

The conclusion is inescapable. The philosophy of COMSTAC, of which the Detroit agency is a case in point, denies to the blind self-organization and self-expression. It deprecates political and social activity by the blind who wish to take the high road of independence. COMSTAC's low road in actual practice seems much to be preferred by some.

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by Floyd Matson

The first blind American to gain election to the United States Senate is the subject of a newly published biography by Monroe Lee Billington, Thomas P. Gore: The Blind Senator from Oklahoma (University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, Kansas, 1967.)

Gore, a Senator when Oklahoma joined the Union in 1907, remained in office until 1921 and was re-elected for a final six-year term in 1930. He became totally blind at the age of 20 following two consecutive accidental injuries. He died in 1949 at the age of 78.

Author Billington ends his 190-page biography with the statement: "Perhaps the most lasting contribution of the sightless Oklahoma Senator was his inspiration to the blind. Refusing to allow his physical handicap to hinder his ambition in life, he reached his most coveted goal -- the United States Senate.”

En route to that goal, Gore moved from Mississippi and the Populist Party to Oklahoma and the Democratic Party. "Within the Democratic Party, moreover, he moved during the course of his political career from a moderately progressive to an ultra-conservative posture -- winding up as an ardent foe of both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.

As a recitation of the vital and not-so-vital statistics of a politician's life, this book is doubtless accurate and faithful. But its value is critically weakened by several shortcomings, of which the most serious is the absence of any personal acquaintance or relationship--or even sympathetic rapport--between author and subject. Motivated apparently by little more than mild curiosity as to how a blind man could ever reach the U. S. Senate, the author fails generally to explore even that lead into the character and personality of Senator Gore. His few references to the role of blindness in Gore's life and career, totaling no more than half a dozen pages, are bluntly factual and superficial -- as if the author found the subject of blindness rather too distasteful for serious investigation.

It should be added that the character of the late Oklahoma solon -- an obviously lonely man of apparently irascible disposition unrelieved either by brilliance or affirmative accomplishment -- may have had something to do with the tone of detached indifference and pedestrian matter-of-factness which characterizes the book. The following passage, for example, is oddly revealing both of Senator Gore and of the attitude of his biographer:

"The psychological and mental make-up of the Senator inclined him to oppose rather than to advocate, and much of Gore's time in the Senate was spent in opposition to policies and bills suggested by others. . . Gore's attitudes and votes on the League of Nations may also best be explained by this tendency to oppose. His almost total disagreement with the New Deal during his last term in the Senate is a further illustration of this personality trait. Generally, Gore did not get along well with any of the five presidents who occupied the White House while he sat in the Senate."

Even more revealing is the evident absence of any leadership or initiative by the blind Senator in the area of public welfare and rehabilitation for the blind --as suggested by his persistent opposition to the entire New Deal program. During a quarter of a century in the United States Senate, Gore apparently neither introduced nor ardently supported any measures to advance the social condition or economic opportunity of the blind, with the exception of an interest in braille library facilities. His attention to the problems of blindness seems to have been largely limited to personal counsel and occasional advice:

"Gore's opinion was often sought by parents who wanted the Senator to recommend ways of handling their sightless children,” the author observes. "Writing countless letters of encouragement to such parents. Gore freely related his philosophy on the care of the blind. He believed that handicapped children should not be isolated from physically normal ones nor placed in an institution surrounded by other blind children. . .

"He recommended that blind children begin studying braille not later than the age of seven, although he himself seldom had occasion to use the braille he had learned as a youth. Since he preferred to read up-to-date news rather than the classics or the Bible --the traditional books in braille --the Senator soon lost his ability to read braille. He recognized the value of phonograph records in education of the blind, and when the radio came into prominence, he was quick to realize its educational possibilities for them.”

Gore's biographer declares that, "Because he did not want to segregate the blind, the Senator recommended that institutions for them be placed in urban rather than in rural areas.” It is not indicated, however, that Gore wished to modify or modernize the character of the sheltered workshops or the separate residential schools themselves. On the other hand, it is noteworthy that he "never used seeing-eye dogs and did not recommend them for other blind persons; he felt that the blind tended to become too dependent on the animals."

"Summing up his philosophy. Gore wrote, 'The greatest service which the sighted can render the sightless is to help them to help themselves; this is better than charity.' " Nevertheless, apart from an active role with the National Library for the Blind, later merged within the Library of Congress Division for the Blind, the blind Senator from Oklahoma seems to have taken little or no advantage of the unique opportunity afforded by his national office to help the blind of America to help themselves.

His paramount goal, as his biographer candidly discloses, was only to reach the Senate -- not to reach out to the blind.

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Federationists everywhere are saddened by the news of the death in in Reno on August 28th of Catherine Callahan.

Severely handicapped for years by diabetes and complications, Catherine nevertheless exerted a positive role of leadership in the Nevada Federation of the Blind and displayed unfailing good nature and steadfast devotion to the cause of the Federation.

Catherine was born in Reno in 1919 and lived her entire life in that community, attending the local schools and the University of Nevada for two years. Her father, Dr. Vincent P. Gianella was Professor of Geology at the University of Nevada from 1923 to 1952.

Catherine's spontaneous wit, sincerity of purpose and deep devotion to her friends and the blind movement will cause her to live long in the hearts and memories of those of us who had the good fortune to know her and to work with her.

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You will remember the project discussed at Louisville by Dr. Isabelle Grant, of sending a braille watch to the outstanding blind student in schools throughout South Asia and Africa. Dr. Jay Freid, New York Jewish Braille Institute for the Blind, and member of the advisory board of the NFB was the first to comply with the request. The watch was sent off on October 20, 1966. It got lost. Dr. Grant sent tracer letters to various government officials, all to no avail. On September 8, 1967, Mr. Balan, Braille teacher of the Kunnamkulam School for the Blind, South India, to whom the watch was sent, notified Dr. Grant that the watch had been found, and though it was somewhat damaged, was easily repairable.


A correspondent from Michigan reports the death of Clair Lynch on August 8, 1967. Clair Lynch was one of the leaders of the Michigan Federation of the Blind when it was the affiliate of the NFB in that state and since, has continued active in that capacity.

". . . Clair had entered the hospital in April for Surgery. Ten days later, while under sedation, he fell from his third story hospital window and sustained twelve broken bones. He had recovered from that and then became ill again. On the day of his death, they were going to remove a blister on a main artery. I am told that the window in the hospital extends from a few inches above the floor and looks very much like a double door. It opens in two halves. I was also told that this happened to another man in Kalamazoo at the other hospital. Unfortunately, because he had fallen from the sixth story, he did not live to tell the tale. . .”


The 1967 Convention of the Colorado Federation of the Blind will be held November 4, at the Legion Hall, 1370 Broadway, Denver, Colorado. We cordially invite any of our friends from neighboring states, as well as any who are interested throughout Colorado, to attend this Convention.


Governor Roger Branigan has reappointed Ray Dinsmore to serve a four-year term on the Advisory Committee to the Indiana Agency for the Blind.


Smiles, tears and congratulations were in order Wednesday afternoon when friends and relatives of Walter Rakowski gathered in the St. Joseph County Court House lobby to pay tribute to him for 25 years of "Good Coffee.” Walter, who has been blind since the age of 22, operates the refreshment stand in the Court House lobby. Elected County officials, employees and other friends planned the celebration and pooled their money for gifts. He received a gold Braille watch, flowers and cash. [TRI-COUNTY NEWS--SO. Bend, Indiana, Aug. 11, 1967.]



Operation Braille Books for Overseas Blind will be held in abeyance for a brief but indefinite period. Dr. Isabelle Grant and Oscar plan to go on the road again, this time into the heart of Africa. Please store all braille books and magazines until further notice either through the MONITOR or by personal letter, for there will be no one to take delivery of them.

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Editor's Note: This is a paper presented by Manuel Urena, at the 1967 Convent' on of the National Federation of the Blind, July 6, 1967.

The problem of obtaining insurance on a fair and equitable basis is for the blind in no sense a new one. For years the organized blind have been wrestling with this issue.

There can be no doubt about the practice of discrimination by insurance companies. This discrimination is present in several categories of insurance including life, health and accident, auto and travel protection. Approximately eight years ago our own First Vice-President, Kenneth Jernigan, was denied flight insurance on the basis of his blindness. All protestations about what possible effect his blindness would have upon the safety of the plane — since he proposed to be a passenger and not the pilot--were summarily dismissed.

Again, the president of one of our affiliates, seeking to convert his health insurance from a group plan to a family plan, was denied individual coverage because of his lack of vision. Said the insurance company medical officer, "The causative factors of blindness are many: trauma, cataracts, glaucoma, optic atrophy, syphilis, and a host of other conditions may result in this condition." What rejoinder can one offer to this method of reasoning? Of course some blind people have syphilis. So do some farmers. Yet not all farmers are denied the benefits of health insurance-- only the syphlitic ones. Consequently, it can be safely assumed that a blind individual who leaves group health coverage and does not transfer to another group with similar coverage may either be denied further protection or obtain it only at higher cost.

My own personal experience indicates that companies selling life insurance do not hesitate to refuse to sell insurance to the blind or to charge them a higher rate. Referring to a letter which I wrote seeking an explanation of the company's position in refusing to issue to me the options of double indemnity and waiver of premium, the company official declared: "In insuring lives we necessarily deal in averages. Consider overweight individuals for example. Based upon studies we know that individuals of a given age and height, but overweight by, twenty-five pounds, will, on the average, experience higher mortality. Actually, of course, some of those overweight individuals will live longer than some individuals of standard weight; but on the average these overweights will experience a heavier mortality and hence are charged extra permiums.

"Undoubtedly, among a group of blind persons there will be some lives which will not be more accident-prone than individuals having their sight; but as a group we believe that their accident rate is higher. Hence we have taken the cautious view and have never issued accidental death coverage to blind persons.”

Where have we heard this kind of talk before? Indeed, if we paid much attention to the general consensus about blindness, we would still be in almshouses. It is reasonable, according to insurance practices, to charge higher premiums for obesity, because it can be demonstrated that a group of overweights will on the average have a shorter life expectancy than a group of people of proper weight levels. It is quite a different matter, however, to either refuse outright to sell insurance or do so at a higher cost, to sightless individuals because somebody believes that blindness automatically results in more accidents or shorter life spans. We would have no quarrel if anyone could show that the accident rate among the blind is higher as can be proven about the life expectancy of overweights; but no such evidence can be brought forth and therefore insurance companies cannot justify their policy of discrimination.

One more vital question was raised in the exchange of correspondence --and that was, whenever there exists insufficient information about a particular body of knowledge, who bears the responsibility to prove that a given position is valid? Is it the person imposing the discrimination or the person suffering from it? In my view the burden properly rests with those who seek to impose the discrimination — in this case, the insurance company. This is so because it is they who insist upon establishing a relationship between blindness, accidents, frequency of other disabilities, and other insurance liabilities. Any other position would be analogous to a situation, let us say, where a Negro would have to establish that he was as honest and socially competent as a Caucasian before being allowed to sleep in a particular hotel or eat in a given restaurant. Deeply rooted in our heritage is the doctrine that a person is innocent until others prove him guilty. It would seem a reasonable proposition for blind men and women to insist that they be treated in the same way by insurance firms. Until these firms can prove that differential treatment is warranted by concrete evidence, they ought properly to surrender their discriminatory policies.

As a result of these insurance problems the Federation's First Vice-President and I went to the Iowa State Insurance Commissioner, wishing to persuade him to issue an administrative directive making the insurance companies operating within the state show cause why they carried on such practices. Our idea was to try to resolve the problems quickly and amicably. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, our efforts proved fruitless and we were not even able to persuade him to order a hearing on the issues. Nevertheless, out of these meetings the Federation received an invitation to appear before the Life Accident and Health Committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, on December 7, 1966.

Russell Kletzing presented the Federation's case to this committee but it is too soon to say what impact it had. Dr. tenBroek prepared the document entitled, "Insurance Discrimination Against the Blind,” which summarized the present situation regarding the blind and insurance coverage generally. It is too lengthy to be done justice here, but I will attempt to capsulize the most relevant material.

The Federation's position, as stated in this paper, is that current practices of the insurance industry in general in issuing insurance to blind individuals "fly in the face of constitutional principles, statutory provisions, urgent public policy, and simple standards of fairness.” As an example of just how these prejudicial practices are implemented, the Federation has gathered materials to show that a few insurance companies will issue double indemnity at standard rates, others will charge more, and still others will refuse to permit blind persons to purchase such protection. To quote from the paper again, "As a matter of statute in most states, and of policy in all, the rates and terms of insurance companies must be uniform for persons of equal risks.” Presumably, blind persons would be of equal risk whatever the company issuing double indemnity, and therefore such disparity in policies is to be explained on the basis of whim.

Generally it can be safely concluded that there exists a dearth of information concerning the blind and insurance. The paper presented by the Federation clearly demonstrates that not a great deal of research has been done where blindness has been isolated for study. Therefore any overall conclusions about the blind and insurance are suspect at present. Since it cannot be shown that blindness alone is related to mortality or disabling accidents, blindness must be disregarded for life, accident and health insurance purposes except as a reason for further investigation. On the basis of all available data we therefore conclude that the blind do not constitute a class with demonstrably higher mortality, and where a cause of blindness also causes mortality, insurance companies have already taken the primary cause into account in determining the eligibility and setting rates for a class determined by the mortality-determining factor. This being so, insurance companies must offer the blind the same rates and conditions in insurance contracts as they offer others since they are forbidden by law and policy to discriminate among persons with equal expectation.

In light of this situation--namely, that there exists a lack of information and that insurance firms frequently base their policies upon irrelevant factors, what should be the Federation's position? It seems to me that there are several alternatives. The least appealing is for the Federation to offer itself as a source group and become a base from which vital statistical information could be gathered. Pursuing this course could result in opening a Pandora's box and fail to achieve our purpose. In this day of automation and fantastic computers it should not be too difficult or expensive to carry out the necessary research to eliminate the information gap. This task, the Federation ought to insist, is principally the responsibility of the insurance companies not only because they have the tools and facilities for such an investigation, but chiefly because it is they who seek to establish a close relationship between blindness and insurance liability.

More productive avenues for the Federation lie in another direction--namely, legislative, administrative, judicial, and public information. Legislation is an avenue that is more familiar to the organized blind. No doubt our experience and expertise would stand us well in promoting new laws in this field. Nonetheless, the road of legislation is always long and arduous and in this case we would be confronting a strong adversary. A slightly less difficult road might possibly be action through administrative decision; however, this too, has its pitfalls and as we have already discovered in Iowa, yields few results.

On the face of the matter it would appear that initiating legal action is our most promising and direct route to obtaining our objectives. As we have discovered already in our convention deliberations, a good deal of the civil rights legislation is presently being interpreted in the courts and it is a strong possibility that the blind and insurance discrimination could be brought within this purview. Pressing forward on this front with all deliberate speed would seem to be a wise course.

Finally, but certainly no less important, the Federation could launch a broad program of public enlightenment which would directly and indirectly favorably help our cause. These are the tools which we have at our disposal and that we ought vigorously to employ in order to gain the objective of adequate insurance without prejudice for the more than three hundred fifty thousand blind citizens of this country.

Back to Contents

Another Look at the Debate


(Reprinted from Welfare in Review, June-July 1967, Vol. 5, No. 6)

We are living in a challenging time of social change--a time for reevaluating the adequacy and equity of present approaches to poverty, and a time for seeking new insights and new methods for helping the poor. Our concerns have deepened. We are giving more thought to improving the level of living and the social functioning of the less educated, less skilled, less healthy, and possibly less motivated members of our society, even though much progress has been made in recent years in education, in health care, in job training, and in social welfare.

All of this searching has helped us face up to the fact that the major and most crucial need of the poor in a money economy is the possession of money. To achieve this goal for almost 33 million poor, we are confronted with the following realities: Through what mechanism can we provide more money for them? How are we going to determine and assure adequate living levels? How can we do this equitably, and at the same time sustain and foster human values and dignity? How can we do this efficiently? And how are we going to pay for it?

Until a year ago the merits of several alternative approaches to poverty--a negative income tax, a guaranteed annual income, family allowances, and an enriched, restructured public assistance system--were largely discussed in theoretical terms, by economists, welfare administrators, social work faculty members and graduate students, and by some business leaders and Government officials.1 But they addressed limited audiences whose concerns were eclectic. In recent months, however, the dialogue has reached nationwide proportions and some ideas are beginning to crystallize. Forums and meetings are being organized by business groups and by schools of social work at universities. Organizations of social workers and public welfare administrators are weighing the pros and cons of the various guaranteed income plans. High school and college students all over the country are writing papers and discussing the merits of the various proposals. And of utmost importance, the debate has now reached the halls of Congress,

The purpose of this article is to assess the present state of the dialogue, to help clarify the issues, to point out the implications of the different approaches and to indicate some of the criticism that is emerging. No particular approach is advocated; rather, the attempt is made to broaden knowledge and sharpen perception about possible consequences of the general proposals under discussion. The reader is encouraged to arrive at his own decisions and draw his own conclusions.

What is the state of the dialogue?

President Johnson early this year put income guarantees high on his list of "fronts in the War on Poverty."2 In his Economic Report to the Congress, in January 1967, he suggested that proposals for guaranteeing minimum incomes be explored, ranging from a negative income tax to a complete restructuring of public assistance to a program of residual public employment for all who lack private jobs. He stated his intention of establishing a national commission to evaluate the potential benefits and costs of the different plans and to report its findings to him and to the American people in two years. But the President also said; "These plans may or may not prove to be practicable at any time. And they are almost surely beyond our means at this time. But we must examine any plan, however unconventional, which could promise a major advance."3

The debates, the studies and the evaluations of alternative plans go on, and this continuing dialogue is useful and necessary. It is useful because it helps develop new perspectives in planning for the alleviation, if not eradication, of poverty; it is necessary, because a sense of urgency prevails. Any one of the proposed income maintenance plans represents the same type of major social reform as the Social Security System or Medicare, It will affect all of the people, either as beneficiaries or as taxpayers. Usually, reforms of such magnitude take years of gestation. For example, it took some 20 years of dialogue before the Medicare Program (Title XIX of the Social Security Act) finally became law in 1966. It is recognized that in the present war on poverty, debate will probably need to be telescoped into a much shorter time span.*

Many different versions of income maintenance plans have been discussed and much thoughtful attention has been given to their merits.* Those best known are the negative income tax, the guaranteed annual income (or guaranteed minimum income), family allowances (or demo-grants), universal income payments (or the social dividend) and, as recommended by the Advisory Council on Public Welfare4, a guaranteed income floor for individuals and families on public assistance. Another income maintenance plan which has become part of the public debate is the guaranteed annual wage, which is intended to provide some security of income to trade union members. Since the principles embodied in these plans are by now fairly well known, the plans will be only briefly summarized, but some of their more important implications will be analyzed.

The hard questions that need to be answered are these: In the light of our objectives to help the poor through adequate income maintenance, which income plan, or possibly which combination of plans, would be most effective in reducing poverty, most efficient in administration and operation, and most feasible politically? And in reference to political feasibility: before plans can be translated into legislative action, it is not only important what decisions are made by the Executive branch of Government or by the Congress, but it is equally important what decisions are made in State legislatures.

In the ultimate analysis, of course, any income maintenance plan for the poor must be acceptable to the American people--as Social Security insurance is acceptable. In other words, there must be broadly-based support for the idea of some form of general income maintenance. Most social policy experts would say that such support does not yet exist and that encouragement for the concept of guaranteed income maintenance at the present time comes mainly from small, select groups in the academic world and in Government and from those who work in direct contact with the poor and disadvantaged.

In spite of a rising social awareness and a new sense of social responsibility on the part of the American people, the idea of an unearned guaranteed income for the poor, without also a guarantee that those who can work will work, is for many people quite startling, and to say the least, very disturbing on both moral and psychological grounds.*

Who are the poor?

Poverty in our land is complex and widespread and the poor have many different faces. There are also many ways of looking at them and counting them. The poor in our midst number 32.7 million people--14.3 million of them are children and 5.3 million are old people. Altogether 6.5 million families live in poverty because the heads of the households cannot work: they are either too old or too sick or too severely handicapped, or they are the widowed or deserted mothers of young children.5

What other characteristics do they have? They are the minority poor in urban slums, the Appalachian poor in the "hollows." They are Indians on reservations and farming and fishing Indians from the Aleutians to the Florida Keys. They are Negroes wherever they live, and impoverished farmers wherever they try to earn a living from the soil. They are Puerto Ricans in their own land and in New York City; they are the Mexican Americans in the Southwest.

And they are the working poor--the low paid workers everywhere. They include laborers, workers in low-skill service industries, farm and migrant workers, domestic workers, owners of marginal businesses and marginal farms, workers in seasonal industries such as agricultural processing, the resort, business and construction or shipbuilding. They are unemployed workers who have exhausted their unemployment insurance or who are not covered by insurance. They are young people looking for their first jobs and soldiers who are heads of families. They include employed heads of large families, and year-round full-time workers who are earning minimum wages.* They are the underemployed--those who would like full-time jobs but cannot find them, those who would like year-round work, but lack the opportunity, and those who are employed below their skill training.

And they are the nonworking poor: the older men and women with small retirement incomes and those with none, the disabled, the physically and mentally handicapped, and the chronically sick. And they include children in fatherless homes and in homes with unemployed or disabled fathers.

Negative Income Tax and Guaranteed Annual Income Plans

The two plans that have aroused the most public curiosity and enthusiasm, doubt and controversy are the negative income tax and the guaranteed annual income.6 Both represent a broad financial measure in the war on poverty. Both have a special appeal because they seem simple in concept: poor people would be reimbursed in the form of a subsidy allowance for a certain percentage of their income that falls short of an official poverty standard. Originally, in the case of the negative income tax, this percentage was to have been calculated on the basis of the deductions and exemptions to which a taxpayer was entitled under the Federal personal income tax. But because this type of calculation is not flexible enough, the subsidy allowance is now usually calculated in terms of a poverty standard. The economics, therefore, of the two plans are largely the same, although their net costs and their underlying philosophies may differ.

Under both plans financial aid would be given the poor as a matter of right, according to an income needs test which is intended to be as objective and simple as any income test under the present tax system. The potential recipient of a government payment would file a relatively simple declaration or affidavit (similar to the short tax form) if his income by size and composition of his family falls short of an income scale established as a percentage of the poverty standard. But the analogy with the present tax system ends here.

Under the present system, taxpayers can estimate their income on a quarterly basis and the tax is computed at the same rate for everybody in the same tax brackets irrespective of geographic differences in the cost of living. The account between the taxpayer and the Treasury is settled once a year. But it is difficult for many of the poor to estimate their income since it fluctuates during the course of the year and since so much of their work is of a part-time or part-year nature. Government payments almost certainly would have to be made on a monthly basis with constant adjustment in payments over the course of the year. This may involve considerable bookkeeping problems, although the use of a central electronic data processing system would help. In addition, geographic and urban-rural cost-of-living differences will almost surely have to be taken into account.

The principal problem inherent in any general guaranteed income plan is the work-incentive formula that needs to be structured into the system. This refers to the amount or the percentage by which Government payments would be reduced to take account of earnings or other outside income. This reduction would certainly be less than the 100 percent marginal rate frequently deducted under the present public assistance program. But how much less? In other words, what proportion of earnings should a poor person be allowed to keep over and above the subsidy? If the job environment is basically unstable, would he have the incentive to keep his job or look for a job, or train for a job--when he also knows that he would receive a guaranteed annual income if he were not working at all?

There are millions of workers whose earnings are below or near the poverty line and who therefore might face the choice of working or not working. How many of them would prefer subsidized leisure--even though at a minimum guaranteed income--to work at perhaps a physically exhausting and demanding job, or a tedious and monotonous job, or an outdoor job in all kinds of weather, or a job that requires long and expensive commuting from their own neighborhood?7 Little is known about how different people would react to a guaranteed annual income or to different monetary work-incentives. But it can be assumed that older people, physically frail people, working mothers, and less work-movitated people in general might prefer to give up all or apart of the jobs they are holding. For these reasons it is believed that any broad noncategorical plan would raise major administrative and enforcement problems, quite aside from problems of equity.

The strategy of a guaranteed income plan must then be: not to reduce the poverty gap so much that for the average person no work may be more tempting than work, yet pay enough to keep the average poor person above the subsistence level. The example most often used to illustrate how such conflicting requirements could be balanced is to consider a plan with a payment rate that would fill 50 percent of a family's poverty gap. For a 4-person family without income this would amount to $1,500 a year, assuming the poverty line is $3,000 (which also represents the amount of deductions and minimum standard exemptions allowed a 4-person family under present Federal personal income tax law). If the family had an income of $2,000, then half of its poverty gap of $1,000 would be closed by a Government payment of $500, thus raising total family income to $2,500. In other words, under a 50 percent rate, a family's poverty gap would be filled by one-half. Since a family under this type of guaranteed income formula would obviously still be poor, why then should it not be considered feasible to close the poverty gap entirely, up to the poverty line? Because it is believed that payments of such a magnitude would seriously erode the monetary incentives for people with earnings below the poverty line. There is also the problem of cost. It has been estimated that bringing all poverty incomes up to the $3,000 line would cost from $16-22 billion annually because of the additional cost of earnings lost due to the disincentive effects of such a plan. The cost of a 50 percent rate plan, on the other hand, has been estimated variously as between $9-12 billion, depending on what specific assumptions are made.

Both negative income tax or guaranteed annual income plans could be administered by the Internal Revenue Service, as an extension of the Federal personal income tax system, using the same method of sampling and review and the same safeguards against fraud. Or they could be administered by the Social Security Administration or the Welfare Administration or by a newly-created organization. The whole procedure would, of course, be computerized.

Under such plans, in general, neither State nor local welfare departments nor social workers might necessarily be involved with determining eligibility for a guaranteed income or with making money payments. Also, most advocates of these plans assume that public assistance payments will be locally or partially eliminated and that additional financial aid, if still required for the poorest of the poor, would be paid out of State funds, perhaps under some form of general assistance. When the overall costs of such plans are computed, the Federal share of public assistance payments--amounting to some $4.5 billion a year--is usually applied as an offset to total costs of the program. But if public assistance in some form should continue--as it presumably would have to--the problem of administrative duplication and overlapping might arise. This, of course, could be resolved.

Less easily resolved would be another problem which results from the difficulty of designing a system that pays an adequate income to people who have no means of support yet supplements the income of people who have a little, that provides a monetary work incentive yet holds down the costs of the program by preventing payments to those who do not need them and that, in addition, is equitable to all the poor. These design incompatibilities are intrinsic in any noncategorical benefit system intended to meet average needs.8 If payments were adequate to cover the economic needs of the poorest of the poor, they might have to be so large that they would have the effect of raising people with slightly more income across the poverty line to the levels of the near-poor or even nonpoor. But if payments were scaled to the income levels of the average poor, they would not be of sufficient benefit to the poorest of the poor.* For example, public assistance levels, especially in the wealthier States, are even now more liberal than 50-percent payment levels under guaranteed income plans. In other words, guaranteed annual income plans would appear to be most helpful to working people who need a supplementary income. But for the nonworking poorest of the poor, additional financial assistance would seem to be essential.9

A persuasive argument against the negative income tax or a guaranteed annual income as the sole approach to poverty has recently been presented on the floor of the House of Representatives by Congressman Thomas M. Pelly of Washington. He believes that assuring the poor a guaranteed income would not in itself attack the causes of poverty but would tend to perpetuate "welfare as a way of life" by sacrificing social services designed to eliminate the causes of need. It would ignore rehabilitation and fail to encourage the needy to produce and become self-sustaining. 10

It is being debated whether nationwide guaranteed income payments should be scaled to geographic cost-of-living differences. The tax burden of the Federal personal income tax has, of course, relatively differential effects on residents in various parts of the country, but this is accepted. On the other hand, the different purchasing power effects of uniform Government payments may be less acceptable. That is why public assistance proposals for improved income maintenance invariably take some money measure of inter-State differences into account. On the other hand. Social Security payments do not vary by geographical cost-of-living differences.

It may be asked whether a guaranteed annual income would affect low- end wage rates in a labor structure that favors highly skilled workers. To the extent that such income payments would be supplements to the lowest wage earners, the question arises whether the payments might tend to subsidize not only the workers but also marginal employers and thus freeze the low-end wage structure. This effect would need to be weighed against the possible advantage of subsidizing employers who have jobs for unskilled or low-skilled workers. But would this be the best way to do it? It may be necessary to develop a design for a job structure for the less educated and less productive--the millions that would otherwise remain marginal workers, left without jobs even at times of full employment. This may involve jobs created by the government as employer of last resort. 11

A Categorical Guaranteed Income Plan

The newest development in the guaranteed income approach is categorical in nature. This plan involves a guaranteed income to be paid to all persons 62 years old and over as well as to the blind and disabled 18 years old and over. The income would be equal to earnings under the Federal minimum wage law (or $2,912 per person per year, on the basis of the 40-hour week and the 52-week year). General revenue financing would pay the difference between the standard and the person's total income. Two identical bills to this effect were introduced this year: one in the Senate by Senator Jennings Randolph of West Virginia, (S. 1056),12 and the other in the House by Representative Philip Burton of California (H.R. 335).13 The purpose of this legislation is to supplant all programs now serving the elderly, the blind, and the disabled. These bills are supported by some organizations of older people such as the National League of Senior Citizens. Both bills specify that this guaranteed income plan should be administered by the Social Security Administration.

Family Allowances

Another approach to income maintenance consists of family allowances (also called "children's allowances" or "demogrants"). A demogrant is a categorical form of a universal payment, in this instance a payment to all families in the nation with children in specified age groups, without regard to family income. Advocates of this type of proposal point to the experiences of other countries and believe that we can profit from them.14 Their thesis is that none of the other income maintenance plans would do enough for children, especially children whose parents are separated, divorced, or not married, and children in large families.

Under one plan, a monthly allowance of $50 for each child under six years of age and a $10 allowance for each older child six to 18 years old would be payable as a right--irrespective of family income.15 Present income tax exemptions for children would be eliminated and the allowances themselves would be taxable. The rationale of this plan is that it would most benefit families with preschool children and families with large numbers of children. Families in higher tax brackets with school-age children might actually suffer a net loss because the allowances for their children would be less than the exemptions they now enjoy.

If the Canadian and French experiences are, for example, any yardstick, the allowances would be spent for children. There appears to be some evidence from a study of these countries that the allowances have not had the effect of increasing the birth rate nor have they had a detrimental effect on the work incentives of parents.

The administration of family allowances would be simple; every person who has custody of a child would file a statement indicating the child's age and relationship and would receive a monthly check. The annual cost of such a program is estimated at about $12 billion. It would be less, of course, if the payments were smaller. Also, there would be an offset by eliminating tax exemptions on children.

This approach raises some questions. Although a family allowance plan, as outlined, has the virtues of being simple and universal, it would require a change in the tax system which might arouse opposition. It is also doubtful whether wealthy parents would prefer to be paid family allowances rather than taking tax exemptions for their children. Moreover, there is no certainty that the effect of such allowances would be quite as neutral on birth rates and on work incentives in the United States as seems to be the case in other countries.*

In terms of the objective of alleviating poverty for all the poor, family allowance plans have severe limitations. They would help only one category of people: families with children, whether poor or not poor. They do not reach unrelated (single) persons, childless couples of all ages, and the elderly. A group of special concern, for example, are poor working people in the middle years of life. If they were not fortunate enough in younger years to find steady and secure employment, they are often in the position of moving from one job to another or unable, after a certain age, of finding any job. Their education is usually limited and so are their skills, and what work experience they may have had may no longer be of use. They are the people typically excluded from all present public assistance programs.

Another group of special concern that would not benefit from family allowances are men of working age. There were 4.5 million men 18-64 years old outside the labor force in 1966. Not all were needy, but a high proportion of them in the 25-54 year age group were needy Negro males. As a group, these nonworking males had substantially lower family incomes than their counterparts in the labor force.16

Universal Payments Plan

Another plan which has recently been mentioned as a potential aid to poverty is the universal payments plan, also called the social dividend plan.17 Under this plan each family in the nation, irrespective of income, would receive a guaranteed minimum income. There are two basic versions of the plan: one would pay each family (including 1-person families) the equivalent of the poverty line--say $3,000 a year--at a gross cost estimated at $165 billion--or exactly half the 1966 National Debt. The other version would pay each person $50 per month at a gross cost of $120 billion.

Aside from the fact that such a plan would leave the poor in the same relative position as it found them and make no attempt to raise their skill or aspiration levels or provide any work incentive, the magnitudes of financing such a program stagger the imagination. Even if it were possible to raise taxes high enough to pay for this scheme, the extent and nature of income-redistributive effects and their consequences for our economic and social structure cannot even be estimated. This plan, at least for the next years, would seem to be outside the boundaries of the relevant.

Recommendations of the Advisory Council on Public Welfare

The Advisory Council on Public Welfare has presented a plan for a complete restructuring and reform of the public assistance system. The Council's most important recommendation is a guaranteed income floor below which no public assistance payments should fall. This is not quite the same thing as a guaranteed annual income, but it is a step in that direction.18 The Advisory Council Report also envisages for the public assistance system the continuing traditional welfare function of providing social and facilitative services to persons with problems of self-support and self-care and with other problems affecting their economic and social functioning.

Efforts to implement some of the recommendations of the Report are already under way on several fronts. H.R. 5710, the bill that embodies most of the President's legislative proposals relating to the Social Security Act, would require each State to meet its definition of need and to keep this definition up-to-date annually. The bill would make permanent the temporary legislation which authorizes Federal funds to support the Unemployed Parent segment of the AFDC program (Aid to Families With Dependent Children). It also provides that all potentially employable persons over age 16 in AFDC families must be referred to worktraining programs in the area where they live. Work incentive formulas are included that would permit each adult in an AFDC family to keep part of his earnings up to $50 a month. At present, such an exemption applies only to children.

There are a number of pilot research studies and demonstration projects directly or indirectly related to other recommendations of the Advisory Council. These include the substitution of a simple self-declaration or affidavit for the means test; a redefinition of allowable income; and the administrative separation in welfare departments of financial assistance from the delivery of social services. Demonstration projects for testing different levels of financial aid--corresponding to different levels of a guaranteed income floor, or different levels of guaranteed annual payments--are in the planning stage under a variety of auspices. And since so little is known about the effect of supplementary payments to intact families with head in the labor force, this is a particular area for research.

The Advisory Council Report recommends that all categories be abandoned for the single criterion "need." This is essentially the focus of guaranteed annual income plans- -expressing poverty in dollar terms in relation to what is considered a minimum adequate income, without categories. But do categories provide the wrong approach to alleviating poverty, as is often asserted? All present income maintenance programs are categorical, that is, they are based on certain social rights or privileges associated with categories of people, on the basis of age, marital status, physical disability, work experience, or special services performed. These programs include Social Security, farm support, unemployment insurance, workmen's compensation, veterans' benefits, and the like. The categorical approach has made them justifiable, defensible, and politically acceptable. The main obstacle encountered in public assistance is not so much that it is tied to restricted categories, but that it excludes one important category: the able-bodied poor in the 18-64 year age group. Moreover, it is this category that is controversial and, tragically, the very category of families in which many children want and suffer.

An important difference at this time between guaranteed income maintenance plans and the recommendations of the Advisory Council for reform of the public assistance system is this: the Advisory Council Report represents a definitive, analytical and judgmental consensus of how public assistance could and should be improved. In contrast, there is no consensus among other income maintenance proposals. While the plans under discussion extend over a whole range of ideas from the extreme left to the extreme right of economic, social, and political ideologies, they provide at the present time no more than a collection of theoretical models still in an exploratory stage. Not until they have been evaluated and tested, not until the discussion has been confined to the perimeter of the economically, socially, and politically feasible, not until some compromise of conflicts has been achieved, and not until the mood of the people has been accurately judged and assessed, will there be a basis for developing a practical mechanism for legislative action.

Guaranteed Earned-Income Plans

Guaranteed Jobs. It has been pointed out previously that earnings offer no security against poverty and that not even minimum wages offer security, if a man's earnings are low or irregular and if he has more dependents than his earnings can adequately support. Advocates of guaranteed jobs have said that while no single panacea will solve all social ills, we need guaranteed full employment and training for employables and decent pay for decent jobs. They believe that a guaranteed income should be reserved for those unable to work.19 For those able to work, the Federal government should assume the responsibility of creating jobs, if necessary, and guarantee the poor training and placement in jobs. They do not intend, of course, that marginally employable people be forced to work, but that work opportunities be made available to all the poor who need and want to work. This also includes training opportunities and job placement for those now underemployed (or sub-employed) in terms of hours a week, or weeks-in-the-year worked, and in terms of work below skill levels. In the latter group, for example, are college-educated Negroes now working in clerical and even less skilled jobs.

Many work experience and work training programs are already in operation and show some measure of success, but their coverage is limited to only a small percentage of communities where poor people need help. Guaranteed jobs, as suggested, would be of particular relevance in economically depressed areas of the country, such as Appalachia, where job opportunities are largely lacking.

Work training and work opportunity programs do not, however, answer the debatable philosophical question as to how many choices should be given a man, or how much independence should be given a man who is at the receiving end of public funds, and they do not answer the fundamental question whether the link between work and income might be broken and whether an able-bodied poor person might be given the option not to work if he so chooses, but still receive a public subsidy.20

The Guaranteed Annual Wage. The guaranteed annual wage has received widespread publicity in recent months but there is confusion in the minds of some people about the difference between the guaranteed annual income and the guaranteed annual wage.

The guaranteed annual wage is a term which refers to an income maintenance plan for members of trade unions.21 This plan has the objective of eliminating the insecurity of production workers who are paid hourly wages, and who may be laid off at any time and for any length of time when employers decide to shut down production partially or completely because demand is slack for their product, or because of seasonal variations in production, or because of model changeovers, as in the automotive and other industries. In contrast, the white-collar staffs of companies are usually kept on the payroll, with "guaranteed salaries."

Walter Reuther, President of the International Union of United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), told the Joint Economic Committee of Congress in March 1967 that his union wanted to replace hourly wages with salaries. In contracts now being negotiated with the automobile companies, the UAW is bargaining for a specific duration in which "salaries" will be guaranteed.22 A similar demand is being made by the United Rubber Workers in a renegotiation of their collective bargaining agreements.

The UAW "eligibility test" for a union member to receive the guaranteed annual wage is five or more years of seniority. The guaranteed annual wage is not intended to be a payment for doing nothing but rather it is an assured payment to a worker who is involuntarily laid off by an employer whose production is slack. This plan is based on the idea that an employer should assume some of the responsibility for failing to provide year-round work and should enter into an annual contract with all of his employees, not only the salaried staff.

Another income maintenance plan of organized labor, which has been successfully negotiated by many unions since the 1950's, is the Supplemental Unemployment Benefits Plan (SUB) paid to workers who are laid off and who receive State unemployment compensation. About 2.3 million workers are covered by SUB plans under some 700 agreements.23 These plans are designed to protect unemployed workers from a severe loss of income resulting from inadequate unemployment insurance benefits. While SUB plans vary considerably, their common characteristic is that they provide benefits to workers out of a trust fund financed by company contributions. The SUB plan is a pure income supplement for workers covered by State unemployment insurance laws which prescribe that only workers involuntarily idled should receive unemployment compensation.

The guaranteed annual wage is a more debatable plan. It raises the same moral issues encountered in negative income tax or guaranteed annual income proposals: should a man who is not working be paid as much, or almost as much, as a man who is working? Should a man who is laid off indefinitely receive a guaranteed annual wage, and if so, for how long? And what incentive would he have to look for another job or go into training for a different kind of job?

Financing of Guaranteed Income Plans

In any discussion of income-maintenance plans, some attention needs to be given to the problem of how they will be financed. Where will the money come from? Under all of the plans discussed (except the guaranteed annual wage) payments to the poor, whether they are made under a guaranteed Income plan or a reformed public assistance system, rep- resent transfer payments--from taxpayers to non-taxpayers. And this is a cause of conflict. The issue is not really whether the Nation can afford the cost of an $8 billion or $10 billion or even $15 billion massive attack on poverty but whether the people are willing to spend this much money for this purpose, whether they are willing to make the necessary substantial changes in the tax system, and whether they are willing to pay much higher taxes than they are now paying.24 it is also a question of whether they are willing to accept the redistributive effects that a guaranteed income maintenance plan would bring about in the economy. (It has been estimated, for example, that two-thirds of the payments under a negative-Income tax or a guaranteed annual income would go to the southern States.)

The monetary consequences of a general income maintenance program will be twofold: there will be a positive effect on Income receivers who will spend the new Income In their communities. This will have some multiplier consequences that will tend to stimulate the economy. There will be a negative effect on taxpayers who will have less to spend, to save and to invest. This will tend to depress the economy. In addition, the consequences might be to lower work incentives and thus lower the contribution to National Income of both low income and high-income groups who might choose to work less--low-income groups because of a guaranteed income and high-income groups because of discouragingly high tax rates.25 whether the positive or negative monetary effect will be dominant on National Income is impossible to say unless it is known what magnitudes are involved and what other items in the Budget receive priority.*


The guaranteed annual income programs presented- -the negative income tax, the guaranteed annual income, family allowances and an enriched public assistance system--are all multi-billion dollar programs. Each of them would be financed from general revenues and would cost substantially more than current programs to alleviate poverty. It is important, therefore, to devise the best possible program or the best combination of programs that will be politically acceptable, yet assure the most benefits to the poor.

As presently conceived, none of these programs in and of themselves would actually eradicate poverty. All they can be expected to do is make poor people more comfortable and give them more room to maneuver. They would be most helpful to people who have sufficient stamina and initiative to be able and willing to take advantage of the additional opportunities opened to them in counseling, in training, in jobs, and in the full range of social, facilitative, and supportive services.

A fundamental question remains: is it really possible to design a single, neat, rational mechanism that will meet all the needs of all the categories of the poor, including the working poor? Or will it be necessary to combine the most effective features of two or more mechanisms? While the continuing dialogue about income maintenance plans is helping to identify the major problems and clarify the major choices, further exploration, evaluation, and testing are needed. The search is continuing for a solution to our most lingering social problem- -poverty and its attendant ills.


*Division of Research, Welfare Administration

This article is based in port on o paper presented to the West Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers at the 43rd Annual Forum of the West Virginia Welfare Conference, April 13, 1967, in Wheeling, West Virginia.

*Leon Keyserling said that we ore in a race between a revolution in the attack on poverty and a revolt of the poor. "The Use of Social and Economic Resources to Eliminate Poverty," The Social Welfare Forum, National Conference on Social Welfare (1966), pp. 68-80.

*In other countries, too, the concept of a guaranteed annual income for the poor has aroused interest. The subject was brought up in the platform of the British Labour Party; it is being debated in Canada and is being studied in Israel where the negative income tax version is favored.

*How disturbing can be seen from such newspaper editorial headlines as "The Guaranteed Nightmare" and "The Guaranteed Disaster," when referring to guaranteed income proposals. See also "Should They Have to work at All? Outlook for a Scheme to Use Tax Money to Provide a Guaranteed Income for the Poor," Notion's Business (September 1996.)

*The minimum wage does not guarantee freedom from want. A man with a wife and two children needs more money to escape poverty than the $1.40 an hour he may receive for full-time work. (His annual earnings would be only $2,912, leaving o poverty gap of S288 at the 1967 poverty line, and for each additional dependent this gap would increase.) In addition, the minimum wage may have the adverse effect of reducing employment for those covered by it if private employers (and marginal employers) cannot afford the higher wage bill for low-skill labor or if they decide to replace such labor by machines. (The latter has happened in the Mississippi Delta this year among crop weeders and cotton pickers when the $l-an-hour wage for farm workers became law.)

*It is, of course, possible to use a graduated payments schedule adjusted for different income classes. But the more sophisticated the method, the more complex the administration and the less certain the results.

*The level of allowances might be the determining factor and the effect may vary for different income classes. In Canada, for example, the rates do not exceed $8 per child per month, for children under 16 years of age, provided they arc in school; the rate is 56 for preschool children. Because of these low rates—which have not changed since 1945, although the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar has declined by almost halt during that period—it has been said that this plan is no longer successful as an antipoverty measure (Osborne, op. cit., p. 134)

*It must also be known exactly how o redistribution of income from upper-income, high savings groups, to lower-income, low savings groups would affect the economy-stimulating it or being neutral In its effect. It is now believed, from empirical studies made, that there would be much less stimulation to the economy than had been thought. See Otto Eckstein, Public Finance (Prentice-Hall, Inc., Foundations of Modern Economic Series, 1964), pp. 91-92.


1. For three prior articles on Guaranteed Income Maintenance plans by the author, see the following in Welfare in Review: "Guaranteed Income Maintenance: A Discussion of Negative Income Tax Plans," (April 1966); "Guaranteed Income Maintenance: A Public Welfare Systems Model," (November 1966); and "Guaranteed Income Maintenance: A Comparison of Two Approaches," (January 1967).

2. Economic Report of the President Together With the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers. Transmitted to the Congress January 1967, pp. 17 and 140-142.

3. Ibid., p. 17

4. "Having the Power, We have the Duty," Report of the Advisory Council on Public Welfare to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, June 1966.

5. RS-Research and Statistics Note (No. 5, February 16, 1967), Social Security Administration, Office of Research and Statistics, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

6. No attempt is made to cite the by now voluminous bibliography on the subject. Only significant contributions made during the last 12 months are mentioned. For a recent restatement of the issues, see "Symposium: The Negative Income Tax" in Industrial Relations—A Journal of Economy and Society, University of California, Berkeley (February 1967), in particular the article by Christopher Green and Robert Lampman, "Schemes for Transferring Income to the Poor," pp. 121-137.

7. See Herbert J. Gans, 'Income Grants and Dirty Work," The Public interest(Communications), (Winter 1967).

8. William A. Klein, "Some Basic Problems of Negative Income Taxation," Wisconsin Law Review (No. 3, Summer 1966), pp. 776-800.

9. George H. Hildebrand believes that "no feasible version [of the negative income tax] would obviate the need for public assistance." "Second Thoughts on the Negative Income Tax.," Industrial Relations--A Journal of Economy and Society (February 1967), p. 146.

10. Congressman Thomas M. Pelly, "Guaranteed Minimum Incomes," Congressional Record-House of Representatives, (April 27, 1967), pp. H 4797-H 4798. But see also, below. Congressman Whalen's endorsement of the negative income tax.

11. Sar A. Levitan and Garth L. Mangum, "Making Sense of Federal Manpower Policy," (Policy Papers in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, No. 2). A joint publication of the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Wayne State University, Detroit, p. 38.

12. S. 1056, "A Bill to amend the Social Security Act to establish a national system of minimum retirement payments for all aged, blind, and disabled individuals." 90th Congress, 1st Session, U.S. Senate, February 23, 1967.

13. H.R. 335, identical Bill, House of Representatives, January 10, 1967.

14. See John S. Osborne, "Canada Combats Poverty Through Social Policy," Public Welfare (April 1966); and Sir John Walley, "Decay of the System Designed to Prevent Poverty--Future of Family Allowances," London Times (April 6, 1967).

In the 1950's, there was considerable interest here in the Canadian experience. On June 14, 1955, Senators Neuberger, Morse, Douglas, Humphrey, Kefauver, Lehman, Kennedy, and McNamara submitted a Senate resolution (S. Res. 109. 84/1) recommending that a special Senate committee be appointed "to make a full and complete inquiry and study of the Canadian Family Allowances Act and its administration, with a view to determining the advisability of instituting a similar system of family allowances for the promotion of health, development and well-being of children in the United States." This recommendation was not acted on.

15. Alvin L. Schorr, Poor Kids--A Report on Children in Poverty, Basic Books. Inc., New York, 1966; idem, "Alternatives in Income Maintenance," Social Work (July 1966) and "Income Maintenance and the Birth Rate," Social Security Bulletin (May 19C6).

16. Susan S. Holland, "Adult Men Not in the Labor Force," A Special Labor Force Report on Historical Trends and the Characteristics of Nonparticipants, Plus New Data on Work Histories, Incomes, and Jobseeking Intentions, Monthly Labor Review (March 1967).

17. See Walter C. Bentrup, "Guaranteed Income--A Challenge and a Duty," a speech delivered at the Southwest Regional Conference of the American Public Welfare Association, April 7, 1967, Dallas, Texas (unpublished). For cost estimates, see Christopher Green, "The Economics of a Guaranteed Minimum Income," in Guaranteed Annual Income Newsletter s (GAIH), Ad Hoc Committee for a Guaranteed Income, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago (February 1967), and also idem, in Negative Taxes and the Poverty Problem, Brookings Institution, 1967, in press. This plan is also analyzed by Alvin L. Schorr in "Alternatives in Income Maintenance," Social Work (July 1966), pp. 27-28.

18. For similarities and differences with other income maintenance plans, see Helen O. Nicol, "Guaranteed Income Maintenance--A Comparison of Two Approaches," Welfare in Review (January 1967).

19. Senator William Proxmire in "Challenge Interview--National Economic Problems and Prospects," Challenge- Magazine of Economic Affairs, (March-April 1967), p. 24, points out that there is no support in the Congress for a guaranteed annual income without work. Congressman Thomas B. Curtis develops this position even further in "Guaranteed Opportunity to Earn an Annual Income," Proceedings of the National Symposium on Guaranteed Income, The Chamber of Commerce of the United States, Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 1966. For another point of view, see Robert Theobald, "The Guaranteed Income --What and Why?" Proceedings of the National Symposium on Guaranteed Income, op. cit. See also Leon Keyserling in "The Use of Social and Economic Resources to Eliminate Poverty," National Conference on Social Welfare, The Social Welfare Forum (1966), pp. 68-80. James Tobin proposes the same dual approach: (1) structural--by raising the capacities of the poor to earn a decent income and (2) distributive--to assure each family a decent standard of living through a guaranteed income. ("The Case for an Income Guarantee," The Public Interest, No. 4, Summer 1966, pp. 31-41.)

20. Congressman Charles W. Whalen, Jr., states that the link is already broken in current welfare programs. He advocates the negative income tax plan proposed by the Ripon Society in its April 1967 issue of the Ripon Forum. This plan would guarantee $2,750 annually to a 4-person zero-income family and provide a 50 percent work-incentive rate. It is estimated that it would cost about $11 billion a year but that it could be implemented gradually at much lower cost. ("The Negative Income Tax," Congressional Record--House, May 2, 1967, pp. H4951-H4954; and May 4, 1967, pp. H5098-H5102.) Its main drawback is that of all generous plans: there would be considerable spillover of the poor receiving benefits into the ranks of the not-so-poor and even the nonpoor, raising problems of equity.

21. "Trading Blue Collars for White," Business Week (April 1, 1967), pp. 43 ff; "Technology and the Guaranteed Wage," Dun's Review (September 1966), p. 124.

22. In general the proposal is to take the form of a commitment by an employer to maintain annual earnings of workers in his employ. (Joint Resolutions Constitution Committee, Report Number One, Collective Bargaining Resolution, Special Convention UAW, April 20-22, 1967.)

23. "SUB: Closing the Wage Loss Gap," Collective Bargaining Report prepared by AFL-CIO Department of Research, reprinted from American Federationist (December 1966).

24. For a possible design for a changed income-tax system to finance a negative income tax approach, see Earl R. Rolph, "The Case for a Negative Income Tax Device," Industrial Relations, op. cit. pp. 155-165.

25. The work-disincentive effect on high-income groups is somewhat debatable. See Robin Barlow, Harvey E. Braser, and James N. Morgan, Economic Behavior of the Affluent, Studies of Government Finance, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., 1966.

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Editor's Note: We hereby publish without comment as sufficiently revealing of the facts, interests and personalities involved, recent correspondence with Margaret Robertson and with the Assistant Editor of the New Beacon.

17 August 1967
The Editor
The Braille Monitor
2652 Shasta Road
Berkeley, California 94708 USA

Dear Professor tenBroek:

I have just seen the July 1967 issue of the Braille Monitor, and am horrified to find on page 453 the copyright article The Gloucester Treatment by Margaret Robertson reprinted without permission from the March, 1967 issue of the New Beacon.

Miss Robertson has also seen the article, noted the breach of copyright, and will be taking further action.

Mr. Bell, the editor of the New Beacon, is away on holiday at the moment, but I am sure that he will be as perturbed as I am when he sees the article, and you will doubtless be hearing from him.

Yours sincerely,

Alison E. Brown
Assistant Editor, New Beacon


24 August 1967
Allison E. Brown, Assistant Editor
New Beacon
The Royal National Institute for the Blind
224-6-8 Great Portland Street
London, w. 1, England

Dear Assistant Editor Brown:

Some people are born to get excited. The very least that can be said about your letter of 17 August is that your reactions are exaggerated. I am sure that when Mr. Bell returns from vacation we'll get a more mature and experienced response to the problem.

One would think from your letter that I had purloined by stealth or force a highly valuable commercial property, converted it into a million-dollar movie without so much as giving credit to the author, let alone appropriate monetary awards.

The elements of the actual case before us are quite simple. They began with an innocent mistake. My attention was not called to the fact that Miss Robertson's piece was copyrighted; and since I have an agreement with Mr. Bell that each of us can freely use material in the other's publications, if credit is given, I saw no need to get in touch with anybody about the re-publication.

Moreover, the breach of copyright if such there is, can hardly be regarded as serious or substantial. Miss Robertson's Gloucester Treatment is a fine piece of scholarship, having a particular interest to blind people. As a scholar myself, I know something about the commercial value of scholarly works and even about the difficulties of finding publishers for them. The re-publication did not appear in a great national magazine, widely sold and handsomely supported with advertising. It appeared in a magazine circulated in braille and on tape to blind persons, with an inkprint edition for some of their friends - distributed free, not sold - and provided to blind persons at the expense of an association of the blind.

I expect that you have seriously misgauged Miss Robertson's reaction. In fact, I would not be at all surprised to receive from her a note of thanks for enabling her thus to contribute to the edification and interest of a somewhat wider audience of blind people.

Sincerely yours,

Jacobus tenBroek

August 25, 1967
Professor J. tenBroek
The Braille Monitor
2652 Shasta Road
Berkeley, Calif. 94708
United States

Dear Sir:

My attention has been drawn to the July number of The Braille Monitor, in which you reprint from The New Beacon of March 1967 my article The Gloucester Treatment.

This reprint was made not only without reference to the editor of The New Beacon and myself but in flagrant breach of copyright. I would point out that under the Universal Copyright Convention an author not domiciled in the United States establishes U.S. copyright on an article published outside the U.S. by attaching to the article the copyright symbol, the name of the copyright holder (in this case myself) and the date. I appended these details to my original article (and these details were in fact reproduced in your reprint) with the specific purpose of securing U.S. copyright. Some of the material in the article in question will be used in a book which I am writing, and which will I hope eventually be distributed in the U.S. It will be seen that considerable professional damage has been done to me, in that the results of my original research have been published without authority, far more widely than is my wish at the present time.

I am satisfied incidentally that, since your journal appears in both braille and inkprint and is available to the public as well as to your members, your reprint constitutes an act of publication within the terms of Article 6 of the Universal Copyright Convention.

Gross though I consider this copyright infringement to be, I shall in the circumstances consider taking no further action if you publish a full, unequivocal and prominent apology in the next issue of your journal, sending me a copy of the issue in both braille and inkprint. If this requirement is not satisfactorily met, however, I shall be suing for statutory damages under s. 101 (b) of the Copyright Act 1947.

Yours truly,

Margaret Robertson

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