The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 10, 2004 - 3
singer to perform
Anne Sofie von Otter, a Swed-
ish mezzo-soprano, will perform at
Hill Auditorium tomorrow. She will
be joined by eight-person ensemble
for an evening of festive music in
"Home for the Holidays" starting at
Tickets are $10 to $56.
carpet hole in
A small, accidental fire was reported
at University President Mary Sue Cole-
man's residence Wednesday, according
to the Department of Public Safety.
The electrical cord of an iron sparked
and created a flame that burned a por-
tion of the carpet. The President's
home is located on South University
An unidentified person attempted
to remove and steal a mounted safe in
the Transportation Research Institute
Wednesday morning, DPS reported.
School fight results
in child taken to
DPS provided assistance at the
University Hospital emergency room
Wednesday concerning a child who
was assaulted by another child during
Coins render room
A caller reported from Bursley Resi-
dence Hall Wednesday that an unknown
perpetrator put coins in his room door,
according to DPS records. The door can
no longer be locked.
DPS reported the malicious destruc-
tion of concrete at the Dennison Build-
ing Wednesday. The damage was caused
by a moved trash can.
DPS picks up
suspect with three
DPS assisted Oakland County authori-
ties by arresting someone from the Shap-
iro Undergraduate Library for three felony
warrants early yesterday. The suspect was
taken to the Washtenaw County jail and
was later taken to Oakland County.
In Daily History
protest arrest of
Dec. 10, 1977 - Thirty members of the
Iranian Student Association of Ann Arbor
and Ypsilanti staged an hour-long demon-
stration on the Diag and later marched to
City Hall in protest of the recent arrest of a
member of their group as well as the han-
dling of Iranians in their home country.
The group member had been arrested
a month prior to the protest for wearing a
mask during a protest for the Shah's U.S.
visit. He was released on $1,000 bond.
The group's protest on the Diag
received little notice from passers-by,
who seemed bothered by the activ-
ity. The City Hall protest also did not
receive much attention and ended in
about 15 minutes.
Bush rules out Social Security tax hike
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush yes-
terday ruled out raising taxes to finance the center-
piece of his second-term domestic agenda: a Social
Security overhaul to help the system survive an
impending wave of retiring baby boomers.
Three years after his Social Security commis-
sion issued recommendations on how to repair
the system, Bush remained noncommittal yester-
day on how he would pay for the estimated $2
trillion cost of revamping Social Security.
But vast new borrowing seemed increasingly
likely. "I will not prejudge any solution," Bush
said in the Oval Office after meeting with the
Social Security trustees who submit an annual
report on the state of the program's funding. But
he went on to say, "We will not raise payroll taxes
to solve this problem."
Bush reiterated a 2000 campaign pledge to
let younger workers invest some of their pay-
roll taxes in the stock market. Bush's commis-
sion urged that younger Americans be allowed to
place 1 to 4 percent of their income into a private
account to be invested for retirement.
Those who choose to have that percentage
diverted would probably see a reduction in their
regular Social Security check, administration
White House aides said Bush also remained
committed to making no changes in benefits for
those at or near retirement.
He sidestepped a reporter's query about wheth-
er the nation can afford new, large-scale debt at
a time when deficits have
reached record levels.
Before engaging in such
questions, the public and
Congress must grasp the
problem, Bush said.
Polls show there is
already high public
awareness of what Bush
has described as the prob-
lem. Bush campaigned
on the issue, and various
bon panels, summits and
commissions warned of
an impeding problem in
1981, 1983, 1992, 1996,
1998 and 2001.
Nevertheless, Bush said,
"If we maintain the
policies the president
has put out, I believe our
path out over the next
five to 10 years looks
White House budget director
put out, I believe our
path out over the
next five to 10 years
strong that we could
deficits that are too
large compared to
the economy, he
By taking pay-
roll tax increases
off the table, Bush
"I think it's very
important for the first step to be a common
understanding of the size of the problem, and
then for members of both parties, in both bod-
ies, to come together, to come and listen to the
White House budget director Joshua Bolten
said the cost of implementing Bush's plans would
not undercut Bush's goal of cutting the deficit in
half over the next five years.
Yet, he said, such costs "may well" add to short-
term annual deficits. "I don't want to prejudge how
they might be accounted for," Bolten said.
"If we maintain the policies the president has
I dealt a blow to
some GOP propos-
als to confront the costs of changing Social
Security. They want to consider raising or
removing the limit on income subject to the
12.4 percent payroll tax split between work-
ers and employers. The maximum level of
earnings taxed is $87,900 now; it will rise to
$90,000 next year.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) has said he
would consider lifting the cap if his plan drew
bipartisan support. Sen. Charles Grassley,
(R-Iowa), chairman of the tax-writing Senate
Finance Committee, also has said tax increases
should be considered.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan did
not answer directly when asked nine times whether
Bush would be open to raising the limit on income
subject to the Social Security payroll tax.
If nothing changes, trustees project a short-
fall of about $11 trillion in what the government
needs to pay in promised benefits to the com-
ing waves of retiring baby boomers and beyond,
into what trustees called "the infinite future."
The system will start paying out more in ben-
efits than it collects in taxes in 2018.
"The fact of the matter is that if we don't solve
this problem, payroll taxes are going up big-time.
We need to solve this problem so that doesn't
happen," McClellan said.
At a news conference shortly after Bush spoke,
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi declined
to rule out private accounts, which she has sharp-
ly criticized in the past. But she said the accounts
would have the effect of reducing funding for a
program that needs more money.
"We're willing to look at whatever is put on
the table as long as it doesn't add to the deficit,
doesn't harm the middle class and that it has a
guaranteed annuity for our seniors," she said.
Rep. Bob Matsui (D-Cal) the senior Democrat
on the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the
program, was more pointed.
"President Bush seems to have painted him-
self into a corner on Social Security because
he says no tax increases and no benefit cuts
for current or near retirees, while insisting on
costly private accounts with trillions in transi-
tion and administrative costs," he said.
Army vehicles in
Iraq to gei
WASHINGTON (AP) -Military
officials said yesterday they were
working hard to upgrade the armor
on Army vehicles in Iraq, a day after
a soldier had pressed Defense Secre-
tary Donald Rumsfeld on the subject.
President Bush said, "The concerns
expressed are being addressed."
Close to three-quarters of the
Humvees in the Iraq war theater now
have upgraded armor protection, but
many larger trucks and tractor-trail-
er rigs do not, according to congres-
Military officials said that armor-
ing Humvees has been the top prior-
ity because they are used to patrol
areas where attacks are likely. The
heavy haulers, meanwhile, usually
travel convoy routes that are more
frequently swept for guerillas and
The issue of whether the military
is providing enough protection to
soldiers is receiving new attention
after a National Guardsman on his
way to Iraq questioned Rumsfeld
on Wednesday as to why he and his
comrades had to scrounge through
scrap piles to protect their vehicles.
Lt. Gen. Steven Whitcomb,
commander of the 3rd Army, was
questioned about that by Pentagon
reporters yesterday in a teleconfer-
ence from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
"If I can add another plate or
another inch or more to the vehicle
I'm riding in that gives me protec-
tion, it's better," he said. "So I think
that's a prudent thing to do, if the
soldier has the capability. ... In my
opinion, it's not being done in mass
numbers or mass quantities."
He said vehicles with upgraded
armor were being added every day.
"Our goal, and what we're working
toward, is that no wheeled vehicle
that leaves Kuwait going into Iraq
is driven by a soldier that does not
have some level of armor protection
on it," he said.
At the White House in Washington,
Bush, too, was asked about the situation.
"The concerns expressed are being
addressed and that is - we expect
our troops to have the best possible
equipment," Bush said. "If I were a
soldier overseas wanting to defend
my country, I'd want to ask the sec-
retary of defense the same question.
And that is, 'Are we getting the best
we can get us?' And they deserve
Questions have been raised about
why the military had not started
armoring its vehicles sooner than
August 2003, when insurgents turned
to bombs to attack U.S. forces.
Some critics point to the lack of
light armored vehicles as further
evidence the Bush administration
was unprepared for the kind of insur-
gency it has faced in Iraq.
It's the big trucks that do much of
the heavy hauling around Iraq, fer-
rying supplies, troops and even other
vehicles through rough stretches of
The better-known Humvee serves
as a light troop carrier, weapons
platform and all-purpose jeep.
But the big trucks, like the five-
ton M939 medium truck and the
tank-hauling Heavy Equipment
Transporter, face some of the same
threats as the Humvees, including
roadside bombs and gun and rocket
Some have weapons on board, but
very few have armor, and of those that
do, the armor offers less protection
than is carried by many Humvees.
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