4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 22, 2005
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JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors
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I said to myself as I
fired up a thin
- The late writer Hunter S. Thompson,
from the his most recent ESPN online col-
umn, "Shotgun golf with Bill Murray."
Thompson was reported to have taken his
life Sunday night by The Associated Press.
SAM BUTLER CAssw. ScABOx
Y t) ORrA,?6
y & enaamart
Boxing out of his weight class
SAM SINGER SAM'S CLU
can't figure out Paul his disclaimers and carefully measured provisos, said, there is no trust fund.
Krugman. Some weeks it's baffling to think how anyone could question the Unlike private plans in which pensions are invest-
he's off his hinges; hell- chairman's neutrality. ed in real financial assets, the government converts
bent on agitating, his scornful- Well, if you hadn't guessed, Paul Krugman found its payroll receipts into special-issue bonds - IOUs
ness consistently getting the a way. In Friday's column, he said Greenspan (keep to the Social Security trust fund. These accounting
better of his credibility. Other in mind this is arguably the most powerful man in the entries take place solely for the sake of bookkeeping,
times one can actually detect world) "deserves to be treated as just another partisan and at no point does the trust fund see a hint of liquid-
traces of sobriety in his writ- hack," maintaining that "by repeatedly shilling for ity. Treasury pockets the money in an agreement to
ing - finesse, level-headed- whatever the Bush administration wants," Greens- pay back the principal, plus some marginal interest,
ness, wit - all attributes the pan has "betrayed the trust placed in Fed chairmen." when thebond matures. Neverhaving changed hands,
New York Times columnist Now it should go without saying that these views the borrowed revenue is integrated into normal bud-
can every so often claim as his own. Take last week. found scarce accordance in the media. Actually, that get appropriations, and as characteristic of the Bush
Krugman's Tuesday column about the "fighting same Friday, The New York Times editorial board administration, hemorrhaged from Treasury coffers.
moderates" in the ranks of the Democratic Party was (writing just inches from Krugman), argued that The trust fund is empty, and as Greenspan points
a well-reasoned and tempered piece, argued straight Greenspan's assessment of the President's privati- out, this pay-as-you-go system "creates no savings;
from the heart of the political center. His tone was zation proposal "by any logical consistency, could it merely transfers from taxpayers in any particular
calm and collected - his gift for penetrating com- hardly be read as approval." That's pretty embarrass- period to beneficiaries."
mentary undeniable. But three days later, Krugman ing. But had Krugman bothered to lend any credence Krugman is right that Social Security still has its
was back at boiling point. Social Security, as it has to the caveats that anchored the chairman's testi- breathing space. But in his crusade to discredit the
been for months, was his topic of choice, and this mony, he may have been surprised to find continuity virtues of privatization, he's managed to whitewash
time Alan Greenspan would be the riled columnist's with some of his own reservations. most of the current system's financial aggravation.
personal chopping block. Greenspan, like Krugman, doesn't buy into the Social Security, as Greenspan argues, may be able to
Democrats had turned the Federal Reserve hype of an imminent entitlement crisis. Neither safely parachute its way into the middle of the centu-
Chairman's routine testimony before the Senate economist foresees the U.S. Treasury defaulting ry - the United States Congress, however, cannot.
Banking Committee last Wednesday into a show on its commitment to America's retiring taxpayers. As long as the Department of Treasury remains
trial on Social Security privatization. From federal And both have little confidence in the system's long- standing, benefit payments will be protected by the
financing to individual investment returns, Greens- term financial solvency. Indeed, their reasoning runs full faith and credit of the U.S. currency. But when
pan was grilled on the whole gamut of policy angles. almost parallel until we arrive at 2018 - the year the the first payload of Treasury securities is activated in
It's hardly uncommon for lawmakers to seek the Fed system's benefit payouts begin to exceed incoming 2018,thebruntofthe debtburden willfallonlawmak-
chief's counsel on front-page legislative issues. A nod tax revenue. ers in Washington. More likely than not, according to
of approval from Greenspan, a critical constituency Here's where Krugman banks on the "trust fund" the CATO Institute, taxpayers will have to swallow
in and of himself, is a golden stamp for any fledgling - the excess payroll income the government has a 50 percent increase in the size of the payroll tax
economic policy. His position as a non-partisan mon- amassed over years of collection. In a Jan. 4 column - that's tantamount to 12 percent of an individual's
etary official, of course, demands complete impar- he wrote, "When benefit payments start to exceed average annual income. If it's not the payroll, it will
tiality, and Greenspan has been distinguished for his payroll tax revenues, Social Security will be able to be the general income tax, or a screeching halt to
unruffled, almost stoic matter-of-factness in these draw on that trust fund. And the trust fund will last discretionary spending, or more federal borrowing.
surroundings. Well acclimated to the conventions of for a long time: until 2042, says the Social Security The money will have to come from somewhere, and
congressional testimony, the monetary grand mas- Administration; until 2052, says the Congressional it will have to arrive in the hundreds of billions.
ter has proved virtually unflappable in a committee Budget Office; quite possibly forever, say many Whether Krugman will wait until 2018 to own up
room setting. economists." Comforting, right? to his misapprehensions remains to be seen. When-
By most accounts of Wednesday's hearings, Problem is, there is no trust fund - at least not the ever he does, I just hope Alan Greenspan is on a
his stagecraft was flawless. Though he ultimately kind Krugman would have you envision. If you're beach somewhere, laughing.
backed an abstract private savings model, Greens- trying to conceptualize it, get that large pot of cash
pan's approval was couched in explicit reservations, the government can dip into at its leisure out of your Singer can be reached
his enthusiasm lukewarm at best. In fact, with all of head. Instead, picture an empty bank account. As I at email@example.com.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Writer misunderstands "My Vagina Was My Village," Edwards claimed
it was too graphic and the shock value was too
value of m wlgws high. Well, when it comes to the type of hor-
rific rape and violence situations most of us are
TO THE DAILY: blessed to have never even heard of, the point of EXPRSS YUR OPlNl ONS.
Not only is Victoria Edwards not able to the Monologues is to share this type of experi- O UR OAILOS .
make a clear statement about what she thought ence in order to make us all aware of it. If graphic,N.
about this weekend's production of "The Vagina but true; language is what it takes to express one.........EDITORIAL BOARD.I....
Monologues," ('Monologues shock and inform,' woman's story and move the audience, then that's
02/21/2005) but I don't think she actually under- the monologue being true to art and the women it
stands what the show is about. Based on herreview, represents. This production is also about women. MONDAYS, H1URSDAYS 6 P.M.
I'm not even sure she saw the show. For one thing, embarrassing themselves in a society and a world
the monologues are not intended to portray men in in which that is not made easy. Based on reviews
a negative light. But when the monologues point from female (and male) audience members, the
out instances of men not treating women prop- Vagina Monologues was a huge success. I hope oPINIoN@MCHG AALYCOM
erly or even just not understanding the personal next year Edwards will not only attend the show,
attributes of women, it is bringing out one of the but keep these things in mind.
pillars of the vday campaign - to bring aware- LSA sophomore
ness to the violence and assault against women in The letter writer was a member of the
hopes of rectifying the situation. Especially with "Vagina Monologues" cast.
BY STUART WAGNER AND JESSE LEVINE
"Every country and every people has a stake in the
Afghan resistance, for the freedom fighters (Afghan
Mujahideen) of Afghanistan are defending principles
of independence and freedom that form the basis of
global security and stability," said former President
Ronald Reagan in 1982. How quickly our friendly.
"freedom fighters" have become public enemy num-
ber one, al-Qaida. And which political party was
essential in building this terrorist menace?
Former Republican presidents Ronald Reagan
and George H. W. Bush supported the Afghan
Mujahideen, including one Osama Bin Laden,
with finances, weapons and covert training by our
Central Intelligence Agency. Both leaders provid-
ed the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with politi-
cal, military and intelligence support in his war
with the Iranians in the mid-1980s. Concurrently,
with the Iran-Contra scandal, both leaders mis-
used their powers again by secretly and illegally
Just this month, the CIA declassified a Jan. 25,2001
memo composed by Richard Clarke, former National
Coordinator for Counterterrorism, to Condoleezza
Rice, former National Security Advisor and present
secretary of state. The memo, written only five days
after Bush's inauguration, requested a meeting with
high-ranking White House officials to discuss the
multinational threat of al-Qaida and the strategies that
the Bush administration should pursue in response.
Unfortunately, Clarke's proposed measures were
not fully evaluated and applied until Sept. 4, 2001
- only one week before Sept. 11. Following inau-
guration day, Rice had held hundreds of committee
meetings on Iraq, national missile defense and China,
but only one on terrorism between inauguration day
and Sept. 11, according to Clarke.
Moreover, on Aug. 6, 2001, Bush and Rice read
the Presidential Daily Briefing, a CIA produced,
classified document providing the president with
current threats to national security and US foreign
interests. Entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike
land Security Act of 2001, which was the first pro-
posal to create a department for homeland security.
However, through conniving moves and politicizing
the war on terrorism, the White House created a stop-
gap through calling into question union rights for the
department. This bureaucratic tactic halted the bill for
over seven months, severely hindering counter-terror-
ism institutions directly after Sept. 11.
Nevertheless, the Republicans are not alone in
their failures on security issues. Jimmy Carter,
albeit briefly, supported the Afghan Mujahideen.
Former President Bill Clinton faced the attacks
on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar-
es-Salaam, Tanzania and the U.S.S. Cole under
his watch. Both Clinton and Bush could have
responded aggressively to the U.S.S. Cole attack
upon mounting evidence indicating al-Qaida
involvement; however, neither president felt it was
necessary to make a strong stand against terror-
In this political era defined by the five second
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