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March 09, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-09

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 9, 2005


~iie £1dlaj.m.Md

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


Press passes can't
be that hard to come
by if the White
House allows that old
Arab Helen Thomas
to sit within yards of
the president."
- Conservative pundit and Law School
alum Ann Coulter, on veteran White House
correspondent Helen Thomas, who is Arab-
American, in her now controversial Feb. 23
column, as posted on anncoulter.com.




Mtel? RI's+° .d.,Pr*-' T" 1

All of the benefits, none of the costs
halk the failure of Tax cuts in good times might have been state $6 billion in FY 2003 alone - far more
last month's jail meant to return excess revenue to taxpayers, than the deficit.
millage up to one but once the economy soured, they were per- One obvious solution is to rescind some of
of the great constants of ceived as essential to renewed growth. Though the tax cuts. Roberts argues the state would be
American political life the state was hemorrhaging money, slowdowns in even worse fiscal shape if it hadn't made itself
the public's reflexive of the incremental tax cuts - let alone tax more favorable to businesses and individuals
aversion to taxes. increases - were not on the table. The income through tax cuts. Cutting taxes too far, how-
Some liberal opponents tax cut proceeded as planned, and, though the ever, results in an equally unfavorably low level
of the plan to expand the bill enacting the SBT cut had included a pro- of government services. No one wants to live
Washtenaw County Jail, vision halting further cuts if the state's "rainy in a state with high taxes - or one with lousy
like the No Giant Jail day fund" ran low, Engler signed a bill to speed schools and roads. Though some conservatives
Committee, argued that our country already up the SBT's elimination to 2010. Responsibly deplore public spending on principle, most peo-
has some of the highest incarceration rates in enough, this legislation included no plan what- ple 'like receiving government services. They
the world and needs legal reform, not more pris- soever to replace the revenue derived from the just don't want to pay for them.
ons. If voters had treated the millage as a ref- SBT after 2009. Despite the logical need for the public to
erendum on prison policy, it should have been Why should we care? Well, the SBT goes balance its appetite for services against its lust
more popular with strict law-and-order conser- directly into the state's general fund - the same for low taxes, there is rarely the political will
vative voters than with liberals worried about portion of the budget that includes the Univer- - in Washtenaw County, in Michigan or in
flaws in the judicial system and the rise of the sity's yearly appropriation. Historically, about a the nation as a whole - for any tax increases,
prison-industrial complex. A look at the votes quarter of the general fund has come from the for any reason. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, a
cast, however, hints that what drove voters was SBT. Given Lansing's repeatedly demonstrated Republican and a Southern Baptist, couldn't
the simple desire to avoid a tax increase. willingness to cut higher education funding, garner support for a 2003 referendum that
The millage failed, county-wide, by a solid public universities could take a considerable hit would raise taxes to avert a fiscal crisis so bad
margin. It had a fighting chance, with 42 percent if the law is left unchanged. the state was contemplating releasing prison-
support, in precincts that voted for Sen. John The current SBT is fairly controversial, and ers - not even by telling citizens a "yes" vote
Kerry (D-Mass.) last November. It even came Democrats introduced legislation yesterday to was their "Christian duty."
close to passing in Ann Arbor. But in Washt- overhaul the SBT's structure. Though the bill Death and taxes are equally inevitable, and
enaw County precincts that voted for President would increase taxes for some, it is designed to about equally unpopular. Right-wingers have
Bush (yes, they exist), it went down three to one. be revenue-neutral and would result in a tax cut used this fact in a scheme to shrink govern-
These are the same people who agreed with the for three-fourths of Michigan businesses. Gra- ment known as "starve the beast," where exces-
simple argument on a billboard along I-94 dur- nholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd is hopeful that sive tax cuts in good times lead to shortfalls
ing the presidential campaign: "It's your money. the Republican-controlled legislature will pass and, presumably, program cuts in bad times.
Bush/Cheney '04." the bill, saying the administration was "taking This might be what's happening in Michigan,
The motivation to avoid taxes also drives the legislature at its word that it will give the but the Bush administration's expansion of the
politics at the state level. Former Michigan Governor's proposal a fair hearing." With state federal government while running huge defi-
Gov. John Engler stayed in office for 12 years Republican leadership favoring a decreased cits argue against the theory's viability on the
in part by delivering tax cuts. (Such formidable business tax, however, I'm less optimistic. federal level. Most voters want both low taxes
Democratic opponents as Geoffrey Fieger, best There are no quick fixes left to deal with and lots of government services, and to hell
known as Jack Kevorkian's attorney, also made Michigan's structural budget deficit, and the with the math.
Engler's life easier).. In 1999, Engler signed rainy day fund is gone. Certainly, previous
laws cutting the state's income tax over five tax cuts have contributed to the chronic lack Zbrozek can be reached
years and phasing out the single business tax of revenue. Former State Treasurer Douglaszbroc brched
over two decades. Roberts told me that the '90s tax cuts cost the at zbro@umich.edu.
The Bush "ban" on stem cell research
mbryonic stem cell of forming dopamine-secreting brain cells, through the use of adult stem cells. Diabetic
research is indeed the implanted cells formed hair, teeth, nails mice implanted with embryonic stem cells
controversial, and bone, killing the patient. Also, due to this died, because these cells secreted only 1/50th
with some objecting to uncontrolled growth, embryonic stem cells are the amount of insulin.
its implementation solely likely to cause tumors. Adult stem cells cause To set the record straight, Bush has been the
on moral grounds, while neither of these problems. They are capable first president to allot federal funds for stem
others are touting these of only forming into the target tissue required cell research. Bush has put no restrictions on
cells as a miracle "cure- and are non-tumorigenic. Additionally, embry- the use of adult stem cells and federal funding
all." President Bush onic stem cells pose the risk of tissue rejec- is allowed for cells that were derived "with the
has prohibited the fed- tion, unlike adult stem cells coming from the informed consent of the donors, from excess
eral funding of embryonic patient's own body. To overcome tissue rejec- embryos created solely for reproductive purpos-
stem cell lines that were created after Aug. 9, tion it would be necessary for a patient to take es and without any financial inducements to the
2001, and has come under intense criticism for immunosuppressive drugs. donors." Federal funds are not provided "for the
this "ban." Without taking a moral approach to As of October 2004, adult stem cells have derivation or use of stem cell lines derived from
this issue, are embryonic stem cells really the been successfully used to treat 58 different newly destroyed embryos, the creation of any
panacea for innumerable human illnesses? illnesses in both rats and humans, whereas human embryos for research purposes or the
Stem cells can be divided into two catego- embryonic stem cells have presently resulted in cloning of human embryos for any purpose."
ries: embryonic and adult. Embryonic stem no successful treatments. In order to determine Notwithstanding, there is a current surplus of
cells are those obtained from the blastocyst of which type of stem cells are more beneficial, embryos that were destroyed prior to the initia-
a developing fetus. As a result, the fetus is no researchers performed a series of comparison tion of this "ban" in 2001, which can be feder-
longer viable. Adult stem cells, found through- studies. Rats with Parkinson's received injec- ally funded to develop an embryonic stem cell
out the entire human body, can be obtained tions of either adult or embryonic stem cells. line. Also, it is perfectly legal to privately fund
without any harm to the donor. The goal of In 80 percent of the rats receiving adult stem any form of stem cell research.
researchers is to use stem cells to form other cells, neural regeneration occurred. However, I am in no way trying to imply that the use
bodily tissues. Adult stem cells are multipo- only 50 percent of those receiving embryonic of embryonic stem cells is fruitless, nor am
tent; for instance, a stem cell from the brain can stem cells recovered, while 20 percent died I injecting any moral opinion regarding this
develop into other types of brain tissue. On the from brain tumors. When adult stem cells issue. But the facts demonstrate that adult stem
other hand, embryonic stem cells are pluripo- were injected into the spinal cord of 18-year- cell research has proved to be more successful
tent, meaning they can form any cell within old Melissa Holley, a paraplegic patient with a at present and Bush's "ban" may not be that
the human body. Sounds pretty good! But, this severed spinal cord, she regained movement of restrictive after all.
is a double-edged sword, as it becomes dif- her toes and bladder control. When rats with
ficult to control the type of cell proliferation. severed spinal cords received embryonic stem Shuster can be reached
Recently, embryonic stem cells were injected cells, no recovery occurred. Also, scientists
into the brain of a Parkinson's patient. Instead were able to reverse Type I diabetes in rats at dshuster@umich.edu.


Proposal 2 advocates lied
about its effects on benefits
"To secure and preserve the benefits of mar-
riage for our society and for future generations of
children, the union of one man and one woman in
marriage shall be the only agreement recognized
as a marriage or similar union for any purpose."
- Michigan's Proposal 2, passed last November.
OK, so no gay marriage in Michigan. What's
the big deal? The big deal, as many of us predict-
ed, is those six little words: "or similar union for
any purpose."
In the Oct. 24 issue of MetroTimes, Gary
Glenn, President of the American Family Asso-

But now Glenn is quoted in the Daily (Same-sex
EMU policy under fire, 03/08/2005) as saying, "We
don't have any doubt that Eastern's intent is to treat
homosexual domestic partnerships as being equal
or similar to marriage and is thus a violation of the
state constitution."
My husband works as a consultant for the auto-
motive industry and does not receive any benefits,
like health insurance. Fortunately, as a GSI, I can
cover him on my health insurance. For now. He
and I have spent a significant sum of money in
attorney fees for wills and power of attorney doc-
uments, which appear to be valid. For now.
Did you vote for Proposal 2? Was anyone really
so naive as to think it had anything to do with
marriage? Now we all see the truth. Groups like
the AFA are just out to get LGBT folks any way

scheme to steal my benefits, benefits I work hard
for, benefits I still have. For now.
Alan Kiste e

The Michigan Daily welcomes letters
from all of its readers. Letters from University
students, faculty, staff and administrators will be
given priority over others. Letters should include
the writer's name, college and school year or
other University affiliation. The Daily will not
print any letter containing statements that can-
not be verified.
Letters should be kent to approxi-


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