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November 13, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-13

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 13, 2003


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

"We are not walking
away, we are not
faltering, we are going
to win this battle,
and this war.
- Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander
of U.S. forces in Iraq, deliberately using
the word "war" to describe the current
situation in Iraq, as reported Nov. 11
by The New York Times.

Coach Carr,
why did you
break the picket
line at Borders?


Because unions
only give the
false impression
that capitalism



is acceptable.


A tale of two economists
B ob Rubin ly jockeying for an unobstructed view of the fundamentalists. The ubiquitous nods of
awakes in the great Rubin. A liberal whom the capitalists affirmation and the yelps of agreement cas-
U n i v e r s i t y ' s can love, a filthy rich businessman whom caded upon the economist. He threw bombs
Executive Residence the liberals can respect. His every word is and the crowd ate them up with glee. This
before the crack of soaked in moderation. The 2001 and 2003 was a support group for prejudice.
dawn. The former Trea- tax cuts undermined "the fragile political After the 1992 Democratic victory, Bob
*T, sury secretary and cur- consensus that existed around fiscal disci- Rubin and Paul Krugman were both expected
rent chairman of pline." This country needs to "increase the to hold high profile positions in the Clinton
Citigroup extricates seriousness of purpose in the political sys- economic team. Rubin got a job heading up
himself from the 1,000 tem." Decreasing Chinese subsidization of the National Economic Council and Krugman,
threadcount Egyptian cotton sheets. After the yuan "probably would help some," but because of his prominent disagreements with
showering and dabbling his digits in a jade the effect "is greatly overestimated." And Robert Reich, was rebuffed and spent the next
finger bowl, he reclines on an original Chip- on and on and on, with the pitch-perfect two terms exiled from Washington. Rubin
pendale chair, sipping guava nectar and tone of a staid and stolid banker. No bursts picked up a nuanced understanding of the
reading The New York Times. Sitting stiffly of enthusiasm, no harangues of emotion or political system, recognizing how the political
in his Brooks Brothers suit, he devours the rhetorical explosions. structure conspires against sound economic
omelet and the paper, eager to lunge into The world that Krugman now inhabits is policy. This theme occupied a significant por-
another day as a champion of finance, a a bit different. Lately, Krugman has fallen in tion of his lecture Tuesday. Krugman knows a
master of the universe. with a bad crowd. The Ann Arbor activist set lot of facts about politics, but possesses no
Meanwhile across town, Paul Krugman, the was out in full force last night to hear Krug- rigorous theory to understand the world that
Princeton economist and New York Times man plug his new book "The Great Unravel- surrounds him. He repeated shibboleth after
columnist, drags himself out of bed. After a ing" at the School of Education. This crowd shibboleth, sketching the crudest political car-
night of shoveling down hashbrowns and coffee engages in the economic equivalent of skip- icatures known to man.
at the Fleetwood Diner, Krugman awakes in a ping school to sniff glue: They hate free Last evening, Paul Krugman broke my
daze. He spits the cigarette butts out of his trade. But this is OK, according to Krugman, heart. The intelligence and vitality of his
parched mouth and tries to remember what hap- because we are now in a revolutionary economic thought have been corrupted by
pened last night. Between hanging out with the moment. "The next year, politically, is going an inability to recognize that we are not liv-
Residential College kids at Rendezvous Cafe to be hell on wheels ... it's going to be like ing in a revolutionary era. On my night-
and that last slice of pizza from In 'n' Out, he's nothing you've seen since Bleeding Kansas." stand, I have a thin volume, "Geography
a little sketchy on the details. This is a moment where political differences and Trade," by Krugman. It is a beautiful,
should be subsumed in the great crusade to elegant book. It is both a daring masterpiece
T he past few days have featured an oust the Bush administration from office and of economics and a chance to examine the
embarrassment of riches for Univer- restore all that is good and pure in the world. crisp thought processes of an iconoclast in
sity students with an interest in eco- For Krugman, the current administration minute detail. I fear that the mind that creat-
nomics. Rubin spoke at the Law School is a diabolical concatenation of tax-cutting ed it no longer exists.
Tuesday in front of a dignified crowd of the extremists hellbent on the obliteration of the
Ann Arbor establishment. Law and Busi- welfare state, foreign policy intellectuals Peskowitz can be reached
ness students crowded the aisles, desperate- with "Sharonist tendencies" and Christian atzpeskowi@umich.edu.
Coleman' ssalary 'S C "'ng' I'm afraid that hearing that "we all have to Hindu names" and were thus immediately
suffer in these tough times" from people suspect.
students burdened With too that maketexorbitant amounts of money Unfortunately, voices such as these -
much debt after college rings completely hollow to my ears. here on campus as on the streets of Mumbai
DHARMA FOWLER and Lahore - drown out those on both sides
School of Information of the "Line of Control" who want to go
TO THE DAILY: beyond the legacy of partition and ideological
I was completely sickened after reading Moderate debate, reasonable divides to forge a common sense of South
an article about U niversity President Mary Asian identity - those who want an India-
Sue Coleman's salary, (Coleman's salary argument the keys to Creating Pakistan battle to be fought only on a cricket
tops colleagues' nationwide, 11/12/03). First, positive outcomes South Asia pitch, not on the Siachen glacier (where, as
I should say that I understand that the Uni- BBC correspondent Andrew Whitehead
versity is but one institution acting within pointed out at a campus event this week, both
a larger social system. It is probably true TO THE DAILY: armies lose more men to frostbite than to
that to get the "best," the University has to It is a sad spectacle to observe the shout- enemy fire). It only requires a cursory glance
pay a minimum amount to its leaders. And ing matches into which most debates on the through the editorial pages of the secular
I applaud President Coleman for declining vastly complicated India-Pakistan/Hindu- press in both countries to realize that such
a salary increase in response to the budget Muslim issue typically descend. One might voices of reason and moderation exist.
cuts our state has faced. All of this does have expected that among the academic com- Whether these voices become powerful
not lessen the anger I feel about people munity of an American college campus, far enough to influence mainstream politics in
making from $475,000 to $891,000 when from the political and social confines of the years to come will determine the future of
many students are struggling to figure out South Asia, things would be otherwise. Not South Asia.
what it means to start their young lives so, judging from the vitriolic and often non- SUDIN BHATTACHARYA
more than $40,000 in debt. sensical back and forth on these pages over Rackham
Why have tuition costs outpaced infla- the past week. A viewpoint, while outlining
tion at such a staggering rate? In our par- the genuine shortcomings of the Indian gov-
ents' time it was conceivable that one ernment, throws in the insightful claim that aULOAB $
could actually work his or her way through denunciation of terrorism is "anti-Muslim." A YOINK AND
school. Why can't we say the same today? supposed rebuttal two days later lays the
With increasing numbers of people relying blame for recent religious riots in Gujarat and CENSORING "FooTLoo$E.
on student loans just to get an education, beyond on a 16th-century Mughal emperor.
how is this debt affecting what kinds of Then comes a reasonable argument that
choices people make about what career India's wrongs should not be balanced DAIlY OPINION: WELCOME TO
path they take? Can a future teacher really against those of Pakistan, but laced with theEE
afford to take on a massive college debt? helpful reminder that the defense of the Indi-
We need some solutions to this crisis, and an position came from writers who "had
Borders not the responsible company it used to be


As a former manager and clerk at the
downtown Borders, I am in a good position
to provide some of the perspective Craig
Matteson's letter, Editorial unfounded, Bor-
ders employees should not strike (11/11/03),
finds lacking in the Daily's editorial, Bor-
ders patrol (11/06/03). Although he doesn't
specify which of the union's actions remind
him of "the counterproductive attacks
which marked union negotiations in the
recent past," a look at the long-term deteri-
oration of wages and working conditions at

In 2003, the starting wage is $6.50 per
hour with one raise a year (usually about
three percent), the number of personal days
has dropped to nine and profit-sharing is but a
distant memory. Workers routinely take a
second (or third) job to make ends meet. I
doubt executive compensation packages have
suffered similar erosion. By way of compari-
son, Chief Executive Officer Greg Josephow-
icz makes approximately $586 per hour.
Regarding his call for "co-operative
negotiations," Matteson might find it inter-
esting that after almost a year of negotia-
tions, Borders has offered the downtown
workers a contract with a lower raise than it

world's leading purveyor of books can't tell
the difference between contempt and good-
faith negotiating. Too bad no one's around
to recommend a good dictionary.
The most obvious change at Borders in
the last several years is a philosophical one:
the company has abandoned its commitment
to its employees and customers in order to
look better to the large institutional investors
who hold the majority of the company stock.
Ironically, by cutting inventory and
slashing payroll, Borders is becoming less
competitive in the marketplace: It fails to
provide an attractive alternative to online
shopping even as it becomes a pale reflec-

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