4 -Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
CbE 1i*Idig an Ba4ly
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KARL STAMPFL IMRAN SYED JEFFREY BLOOMER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the public editor
with questions and comments. He canbe reached at email@example.com.
Beyond empty words
More must be done to protect veterans from homelessness
"America is blessed to have such brave defenders. They are tomor-
row's veterans, and they are bringing pride to our country. Their ser-
vice is noble, and it is necessary."
With those words at a Texas memorial for four American
servicemembers killed in Iraq, President Bush marked
Veterans Day, a holiday that has taken on a new sig-
nificance since America's war with Iraq began in 2003. Regardless
of whether we disagree with the path of war that the president
has led us down, no one can deny that soldiers sacrifice much for
the sake of the rest of us, and they deserve much in return. All too
often, however, they are neglected.
The governor can pray when he wants to.
What he can't do is lead prayers in the name of
the people of Georgia."
- Ed Buckner of the Atlanta Freethought Society at a protest against Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's call for a pub-
lic prayer in light of the devastating drought the state currently faces.
Gambling on a recovery
The Mississippi Gulf Coast, a
short drive northeastfromNew
hit region in Hurri-
cane Katrina. More
than 250 people in
the area were killed
by the August 2005
storm, many more
went missing and
the region suffered t
millions of dollars'
worth of structural THERESA
Today, more KENNELLY
than two years
later, Bay St. Louis - an area alongthe
coast known for its small-town charm
- still has several houses, storefronts
and churches boarded up. The city is
struggling to regain its population and
tax revenue. The lights are always on,
however, at Hollywood Casino, Bay St.
Louis's glitzy hub.
Only a week after Katrina touched
ground in Mississippi, while the
impact of the storm still hadn't settled
in, Mississippi Gaming Commission
Chairman Jerry St. Pe' and CEO Larry
Gregory flew to Las Vegas to discuss
plans with senior casino executives
to.reopen Gulf casinos. Of the 12 riv-
erboat casinos located along the coast
prior to the storm, all were severely
damaged or destroyed, and it didn't
seem like they would be rebuilt with-
out some serious convincing.
Thanks to the negotiating of St. Pe'
and the Mississippi legislature's will-
ingness to revise a couple of gaming
laws, casinos returned one by one start-
ingin December of 2005. Today, almost
all of the casinos have relocated inland
- land-based gambling was legalized
in October 2005 - and several more are
in the works. While this expansion will
bring needed revenue to Mississippi,
casino proliferation ultimately leads to
thrashing an area's culture and elimi-
nating regional distinction, a chilling
societal problem especially worrisome
for the post-Katrina Gulf Coast.
The Mississippi Gaming Commis-
sion's eagerness to bring the casinos
back to town as quickly as they were
wiped out represents a mentality of
lawmakers across the country. Logic
holds: Bring in the casinos to promote
more cash flow and carry a state out of
debt. Aside from Mississippi, this has
been seen in Louisiana, New Jersey
and Michigan. The 11 states with com-
mercial casinos in2006 reported a $5.2
billion tax revenue from casinos.
Few people outside of religious
conservatives are complaining about
casino growth. Casino attendance has
more than doubled in the past decade.
Total gaming revenue has grown from
$45.1 billion to $84.7 billion between
1995 and 2005, showing thatpeople are
bettingmore atthectables, participating
in lotteries and making legal bookings
at higher rates. Judging by the growing
number of casinos, quick slot machines
at airports and bars and the growing
Internet market, the gaming craze is
here to stay.
As a Wall Street Journal feature
story on casinos last weekend asked,
who even needs Vegas anymore? From
Biloxi to Detroit to San Diego, luxuri-
ous gaming centers are popping up
around the country. Some statistics
show that 75 percent of Americans live
within driving distance of a casino. In
every state but Utah and Hawaii, at
least some form of gambling is legal-
ized. Evidently, the proliferation is
creeping into everyone's backyards.
There's no denying that the expan-
sion of gaming methods are a quick fix
to state deficits. Casinos are assets to
cities like Detroit: They bring in jobs
and business. Many of this country's
cities would be much worse off if they
didn't have a gaming industry. Mayor
Richard Daley of Chicago has jumped
on this bandwagon and is currently
at odds with state legislators over the
construction of a land-based Chicago
casino. Daley thinks the city could
become the next hotspot for casino-
seeking tourists and that could spare
the city from a fiscal dilemma. Indeed
it may, but at what cost? Chicago will
just be added to growing list of cit-
ies to conform to the casino culture,
which has caused areas from Detroit
to the Gulf Coast to lose their unique
regional flair in attempting to mimic
Last month, as I drove down a
mile-long winding road toward
Hollywood Casino in Bay St.
Louis, away from the boarded up bun-
galows and gas stations and the stench
of the Gulf, I saw first-hand the cost of
using casinos as a quick monetary fix
for a distressed area. Sure, Hollywood
Casino may have brought cash, resi-
dents and jobs to the Gulf Coast town
after the hurricane, but it has stripped
the city of its character.
Casinos bring in
cash, but do so
at a great price.
There is also a bizarre dichotomy
betweenthe inland casino and the yet-
to-be-rebuilt town. None of the gam-
ing commissioners are interested in
rebuilding the restaurants and shops
along the Gulf that previously made
this city a resort area, because there's
a casino bringing ina steady income.
Sure, casinos have a practical side,
but why are we so willing to throw
away regional culture to make a quick
buck? And since when did pulling the
lever on a slot machine or throwing
blue chips. at a craps table become an
excuse for recreation in our society?
What opponents of the Chicago casino
have tried to argue and what casinos
in the South have proven is that casi-
nos take away an irreplaceable under-
lying charm of a region.
Theresa Kennelly is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A report released last week found that one
out of every four homeless people in Amer-
ica is a veteran. The National Alliance to
End Homelessness found that 495,400 vet-
erans were homeless at some point during
2006, and on any given night, about 194,254
veterans are homeless. As more and more
veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan
facing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, these
numbers could rise even further - just as
they did in the aftermath of Vietnam. For-
tunately, there are things that can be done
to alleviate this problem, but it all begins
with recognizing it and being willing to face
it, something the president has in the past
proven unwilling to do.
Earlier this year, The Washington Post
did a special report on conditions at the
Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Wash-
ington, DC, a place where many soldiers go
to recover and recuperate upon their return
from the war. The conditions the Post found
were shocking: The premises were infested
with mice and cockroaches, mold grew
unbothered, and in some cases there were
significant delays in appropriate treatment.
We were appalled that little was being given
to veterans even after they had sacrificed so
much. President Bush, however, held firm to
the platitude that American veterans receive
the best possible care.
Bush's ambivalence on the Walter Reed
issue was inexcusable, and that type of
thinking must not be allowed to hinder
immediate action on the issue of homeless
veterans. More and more troops are being
shipped overseas, and as the military begins
to scrape the bottom of the barrel, two
types of soldiers are being shipped out that
are especially at risk of becoming homeless
upon their return.
One category is those who have completed
their service but are sent out again as part
of stop-loss, a process that is semi-voluntary
at best and a back-door draft at worst. These
troops - given that they are on their second,
third or fourth tours of duty - are espe-
cially susceptible to the mental illness that
even the toughest minds can only avoid for
so long in a war zone. The other group that
is especially vulnerable are the younger sol-
diers who forego proper schooling or voca-
tional training and join the military out of
financial necessity. Upon their return, they
often lack the skills to make the transition to
normal life and can easily end up homeless.
In light of the spike in the number of
homeless vets following the Vietnam War,
several programs were put in place to help
veterans make a smoother transition. These
programs still exist, but, given the increas-
ing number of homeless veterans, they must
be expanded. More importantly, we must
actively seek out and offer help to returning
soldiers, because many are not aware of the
problems they will face and are unwilling to
seek help on their own.
Providing treatment to overcome the
mental illnesses that are plaguing troops
in increasing numbers and ensuring that
veterans are able to find employment and
housing are the most basic services America
owes its veterans. It's easy on Veterans Day
to stand solemnly and wax poetic about
our immense gratitude for the courage and
sacrifices of soldiers. It's more difficult, but
even more necessary, to back up those words
Left behind by the FAFSA
STUDENTS FOR GIULIANI
Giuliani is the most qualified
"What are parents good for besides tuition?" a class-
mate of mine once asked rhetorically. Overcome with
irony, I sat there trying not to think of the amount of
tuition I now owe after several semesters at the Uni-
versity - without having my parents pay for everything
- which is $28,202. That number hangs like a price over
my head, as if on a wanted poster.
My classmate's comment, however, was hardly sur-
prising considering that 75 percent of all University stu-
dents come from the five wealthiest sectors of the state,
according to a report released in September in conjunc-
tion with the unveiling of Descriptor Plus, a program the
University began using to counteract declines in minority
enrollment after the enactment of Proposal 2. Descriptor
Plus works by separating areas of thestate into separate
clusters based on the average annual income and socio-
economic factors that make up these places.
Descriptor Plus revealed a startling lack of representa-
tion of all low-income students. For example, there is one
cluster that yields an annual family income of $42,000,
but this cluster is only representative of 3 percent of the
student body. Although this cluster is vastly underrepre-
sented on campus, those that do make it to the University
are more likely to receive adequate financial aid packages
because of their parents' low incomes.
But there is a lesser-known group of students who are
marginalized on campus. The Free Application for Fed-
eral Student Aid, used by most universities to determine
a student's eligibility for loans and grants, fails students
whose parents' incomes fall slightly over the arbitrary
levels itsets. Essentially, ifa student's parents make a cer-
tain amount of money, then the parents are supposed to
contribute a set level of funding as the "Expected Family
Contribution," and the amount of aid the student receives
is reduced accordingly.
The FAFSA scale creates problems when families that
only make slightly more than a particular benchmark and
are expected to come up with considerably more money.
The arbitrary nature of the FAFSA designations could
make a huge distinction between a household income
of $49,000 and $51,000, but the ability of one family to
contribute more for tuition than the other is marginal at
best. The FAFSA must include various income-based dis-
tinctions, but these distinctions must become broader in
order to minimize this problem.
Anotherproblem is thatthe FAFSA does not adequate-
ly take into account individual circumstances that may
contribute to making a student's parents unable to pay
their expected family contribution. Because the FAFSA
only takes into account parents' annual income for one
year, it cannot see financial issues that may have come up
just prior to that period.
For example, my father was a single parent and then
remarried shortly before I started college, changing
the annual income of my household on the FAFSA. My
financial situation was then evaluated on the basis of the
present, not taking into account the complexities of the
immediate past - that a single parent of many years may
not have been able to save up enough money to pay meet
FAFSA's EFC requirement for a two-parent income.
The FAFSA also completely fails to address students
who are not supported by their parents and are forced to
account for their EFC single-handedly through private
loans that accumulate interest even while they are still
in school. The FAFSA application must allow students to
explain their individual financial circumstances so that
those can be taken into account during the evaluation.
The point of the FAFSA is to gauge the financial need
of students to make a college education more accessible,
but instead the application can sometimes subtly hinder
students' ability to attend college without accumulating
massive amounts of debt. The problem may begin at the
federal level, but it can be dealt with by the University
itself. The University has a tradition of providing ade-
quate financial aid to ensure that lower-income students
don't find this institution out of their reach. It must now
take the shortcomings of the FAFSA into account and
make similar contributions to students who the FAFSA
leaves at a disadvantage.
Jennifer Sussex is an LSA junior and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.
The University of Michigan produces some
of the finest leaders in the world, but what
influence can we have if we cannot find jobs
when we graduate? It is
imperative that we all.
enter into a flourishing'
economy so that we can+
truly shape the future.
The best presidential
candidate to provide us
with this opportunity is
Giuliani has a proven
record of creating tre-
mendous economic GIULIANI
growth. During his time
as mayor of New York City, the city's economy
flourished beyond all expectations. He inherit-
ed a $2.3 billion deficit and turned it into a $2.9
billion surplus. He cut taxes 23 times - sav-
ing New York City taxpayers $9 billion - yet
increased city revenues by more than 40 per-
cent. Giuliani is a true fiscal conservative who
believes that tax cuts spur economic growth,
and his record speaks for itself. During his ten-
ure, 423,000 new jobs were created, effectively
cutting unemployment in half.
Give Giuliani the chance to implement his
economic policy and watch as conservative
principles lead to a more prosperous Amer-
ica. More jobs will be created because com-
panies will use their tax breaks to expand,
and investment money will be freed up for
research and entrepreneurship. The Ameri-
can Dream dictates that the next genera-
tion will do better than the last. A growing
economy is the best way to keep this dream
alive, and Giuliani will be the president most
capable of achieving this goal. His belief in
the free market does not end there.
As young people, we face a future of high
and increasing medical costs. There are far
too many people without health insurance,
and those who have it overpay for coverage.
Health care is one of the most difficult chal-
lenges facing our nation, and Giuliani has
a plan to fix it. Socialized medicine creates
mandates that drive prices through the reof.
When people are forced to have health care,
insurance companies can charge whatever
they want because they know coverage has
to be bought. Giuliani believes that the free
market is the only way to bring health care
costs down and to increase quality.
The American people - not employers or
the government - should control their own
healthcare. When hundreds of millions of
Americans are making individual decisions
on which policy they want to buy, the health-
care companies will need to lower prices and
increase quality to compete. How do people
afford to pay for their health insurance if their
o employers are not providing it? The answer is
tax deductions. Giuliani's plan calls for up to
$15,000 in tax deductions so that Americans
own cov- This viewpoint is the
erage for a
more rea- seventh in a series
sonable by leaders of campus
price. groups supporting
One of the
focal points various.presidential
of Giuliani's candidates.
is that America must remain on the offensive
in the war against terrorism. America wants
peace, but showing weakness leads to more
aggression by the terrorists. The war in Iraq
is only one front in the war against terrorism,
but its importance should not be overlooked.
We cannot create an artificial timetable for
withdrawal because it will only embolden our
enemies. The troop surge is working, and there
is progress on numerous fronts. Staying in Iraq
to build a stable democracy will help minimize
the terrorist threat and is a vital investment in
our future - regardless of how long it takes.
When choosing which presidential candi-
date to support, keep in mind Giuliani's unas-
sailable qualifications. He is a candidate with
extensive and remarkable executive experi-
ence who has proven his bipartisan credentials
by implementing conservative governance in
one of America's most liberal cities. America is
in need of a unifying force to lead our nation
through these trying times. Join us in making
America's mayor the next president.
Alex Veneziano is chair of the University chapter
of Students for Rudy. Chip Welsh is the group's
communications director. Both are LSA juniors.
LA~es EL~cflo. 4POLL.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Jon Cohen, Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Gary Graca,
Emmarie Hiutteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels, Robert Soave, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe,
Matt Trecha, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa