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November 23, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-23

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 23, 2005

OPINION

U be £ktti gut ~iU

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALISON GO
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
This is
revisionism of the
most corrupt and
shameless variety."
- Vice President Dick Cheney,
refuting charges that the Bush admin-
istration trumped up intelligence, as
reported yesterday by CNN.com.

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KIM LEUNG TiE TAl -O'Y Box

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v-EM0CMsTc y tIAK ONY WeN Yet -r;E wi~vf-) o

There is no SMART isolationism LISTEN
Hear the author discuss this
EMILY BEAM LOOKING FOR AMERICA column at www.michigandaily.com.
he Detroit Although ridership is growing and roughly white suburbs have proven they would prefer
Thanksgiv- 1,000 Detroit residents take the bus to Livonia their only interaction with Detroit to be the
ing Day Parade each day, residents voted to pull out of the sys- occasional jaunt downtown for the auto show,
marks one of the few tem this November. In the eyes of Livonia's pre- a concert or a museum trip. But even that only
times each year when dominately conservative taxpayers, the SMART holds so long as they don't have to pay for it.
suburbanites head down- bus is inefficient and underused, and it is unfair In 2002, Wayne and Oakland county residents
town in large numbers. to ask residents to shell out $2.7 million each showed their commitment to the region - by
It's not a particularly rare year for a system that only 1 percent of the city's voting down an arts millage to fund museums
occurrence, but neither is population uses. and cultural organizations in Detroit and its
it commonplace. Wheth- It's not too surprising that Livonia's own surrounding suburbs. We can already see the
er it's because Detroit residents don't use the buses very often while effects. The Belle Isle Aquarium closed last
is too scary, too dead or too painful to look at, Detroit's do. The median family income in April, and Kilpatrick last summer suggested to
we suburban-folk just don't make it downtown Livonia is $72,010; in Detroit, it's less than half the city's zoo and museums that they find pri-
too often. that. Unlike 40 percent of SMART bus riders, vate donors because the city could no longer
We know the grim statistics: Detroit is the most Livonia residents have cars. Those who subsidize them.
poorest and the second-most dangerous city in don't - primarily the handful of elderly resi- Regional cooperation can be burdensome
the country. Its population has fallen by half dents with fixed incomes and failing eyesight - and difficult. To local leaders, it means being
since 1950. With the state in tough economic will be able to use a community transit system considerate of needs of other communities. To
times and the recent re-election of Mayor that operates solely within the city. So much for residents like those in Livonia, it means con-
Kwame Kilpatrick, its future is uncertain. regional transportation. tinuing to pay an average $60 a year so Detroit
Drive just a few miles outside Detroit's city As for improving the system, cutting off the residents can come to the city to ring you up at
limits, and you're in a completely different offending bus system is certainly biblical but Home Depot. Those are pretty tough sacrifices.
world. Some of the nation's wealthiest neigh- hardly practical. Should other communities Even half-empty, Detroit is hardly the scary
borhoods lie along the same streets that spiral decide they don't want to pay for Detroit residents wasteland my mom always warned me to avoid,
out from Detroit's downtown. To residents in to take the bus to their city as well - Farmington for fear I'd be shot. She wasn't alone; there is a
the very white, very rich suburbs, Detroit is a Hills is currently debating it - the dismantling tendency to exaggerate the amount danger and
problem, but it's not their problem. of the SMART bus system will likely be the decay in Detroit and consider it as a lost cause
Take my hometown of Livonia, the "whitest long-term consequence of Livonia's pullout. - a problem for all those poor, black people to
city in America," located just a few miles west But that's not the only consequence. Once handle. Cutting off the bus system and letting
of Detroit. According to its city motto, Livonia Livonia cuts its SMART funding, hundreds of Detroit pay for its own arts reflects this subur-
is "where people come first" - provided they're Detroit residents will have to find new jobs, and ban isolationism, that if it has Detroit's name on
city residents. Livonia is where angry residents several Livonia businesses will have to find new it, it's only Detroit's problem.
came out this fall to protest the construction of employees. That seems like a lot of work just so This isn't a case of asking suburbs to kindly
a new Wal-Mart, some claiming it would bring elderly Livonia residents don't have to share a help out a struggling city that can't make it on
in Detroit residents and therefore "ghettoize" seat with black people. its own; it's asking them to invest in the city
the city. It's not just the buses, and it's not just Livonia. that belongs to them too.
Livonia lies only a few miles from Detroit's It's the same story every time Detroit needs the
city limits and up until now has been a part suburbs to chip in for something that affects the Beam can be reached
of the regional SMART bus transit system. entire region. Detroit's wealthy, predominantly at ebeam@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

It's time for a newMSA
party with real issues
To THE DAILY:
There have been multiple articles in the
paper lately (A case against MSA political parties,
11/21/2005) about whether the party system is
working in Michigan Student Assembly elec-
tions, why there aren't more parties and why voter
turnout is floundering. I believe that the answer
to these inquiries is to be found within the way
elections are currently being held. We are seeing
the constant re-occurrence of a match-up between
Students for Michigan and Defend Affirmative
Action Party candidates, a general lack of enthu-
siasm from students and campaign strategies that
suggest candidates don't really care about the
issues at hand.
I hope to change those events. I would like
to announce that I intend to run for the MSA
and found a new party, Michigan Students for
Progress, with the intention of bringing major
reform to the assembly. I don't intend MSFP to
become a single-issue party like the long-strug-
gling DAAP or the recently proposed Abolish
MSA Spending Party (Fed-up student to create
alternative MSA party, 11/21/2005), but rather a
party that focuses on a variety of issues and one
that can consistently and effectively challenge
S4M in future elections. People at the Univer-
sity are beginning to question whether or not the
students are capable of organizing and running
MSA effectively, and I believe that we can. With
reform, MSA can become a significant and suc-
cessful body on campus. For too long it has been
decaying into a joke. When students are asked to
cast their votes for a character from Full House,
rather than for one of their peers, how can any-
one expect MSA to be taken seriously?
I believe that reform needs to begin in cam-
paigning. MSA campaigns need to be serious,
helpful and informative. Students need to know
what the important issues facing this univer-
sity really are and what MSA candidates plan
to do about them. If campaigning continues to
be a joke, MSA will not accomplish anything,
and the party system will fail. I also believe that
MSA needs to be more responsible when spend-
ing; however, I do not believe that it is plausible
to take away MSA's right to spend. Removing

the University's stance on affirmative action, but
would like to explore the possibility of economi-
cally, rather than racially, based policies. I believe
MSA should work with the University to make
meals more affordable and to allow dorm access
through the front door of every dorm to any stu-
dent with an Mcard during daytime hours. With
the recent increase in crime on campus, I believe
MSA should increase its support for the Depart-
ment of Public Safety and begin a campaign to
increase safety on campus. Lastly, I believe it is
important to promote equality on campus and to
make the University a secure and conducive atmo-
sphere for students of every race, gender, sexual
orientation or religion.
If you wish to join me in my campaign to
reform MSA and to regain control for every Uni-
versity student, e-mail me at tradina@umich.edu.
I hope you will seriously. consider MSFP in the
next election.
Travis Radina
LSA sophomore
Few facts support raising the
state's minimum wage
TO THE DAILY:
There is no doubt that the phrase "fair pay for
all workers" (Fair pay for all workers, 11/21/2005)
possesses a certain seductiveness. After all, why
shouldn't all workers be compensated a fair wage?
Nevertheless, this claim and many other procla-
mations made by the Daily's editorial board bla-
tantly ignore facts. The Daily is always crying
out for "social justice," yet it often fails to explain
what this means by defining it or, God forbid,
using actual facts.
The term "living wage," which the Daily has
been using, fits squarely into this paradigm. Sure,
everybody should have a living wage, but never
is this term defined or discussed with analysis
and facts.
What is a living wage? The Daily propagates
that it is enough income to support a family on
one paycheck. Yet reality simply doesn't confirm
this notion. The facts are most low-wage work-
ers (4/5) don't support a family. Put simply, these
are young workers just starting out 80 percent of
the time. Thus, the premise of a living wage is
unfounded from the start.

more is that these laws harm the very people it is
supposed to help. Those hit hardest by minimum
wage laws are low-skilled, younger, inexperienced
and minority workers. Labor is like all other goods;
the more it costs, the less of it will be bought.
Moreover, workers in minimum wage jobs do
not stay at the minimum wage. As they acquire
skills and experience, their pay will increase. On
average, pay increases 30 percent in only the first
year of employment. Typically, low-income work-
ers become average-income earners in a few years
and ultimately high-income workers later in life.
However, in order to achieve thisstatus, they must
be able to have a job in the first place. But a "living
wage" kills those jobs. As minimum wages rise so
do job qualifications, making low-skilled workers
unemployable.
Danny Katz
LSA junior
Minimum wage increase
will hurt state's economy
To THE DAILY:
In response to a recent editorial (Fair pay for all
workers, 11/21/2005) and letter to the editor (Students
should unite to raise minimum wage, 11/22/2005), I
thought it would be helpful to discuss the negative
impact of a raise in the minimum wage.
In its editorial, the Daily states: "Oppo-
nents of the raise have repeatedly argued
that the increase would discourage employ-
ers from hiring and increase joblessness." As
anyone who has taken Economics 101 will
tell you, this is exactly what would happen.
The minimum wage artificially holds the
price of labor in some industries above the
market wage. At this minimum wage, there
are more people who want to work than the
affected industries are willing to hire, caus-
ing further unemployment. As the minimum
wage gets higher, the effect is amplified.
When the minimum wage is raised, firms
have two choices (because they will not
want to lose profits): hire fewer workers/
have them work fewer hours or raise prices.
Either way, the minimum wage has no posi-
tive effect and a possible negative effect.
It is true that those lucky enough to keep
their jobs will probably be earning more, but

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Reggie Brown, Gabrielle D'Angelo, John Davis,
Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Ashwin
lagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prab-

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