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November 18, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-11-18

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a

4 - Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C74C WIC4igan wily

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

ANDREW GROSSMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

GARY GRACA
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

GABE NELSON
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 theirauthors.
FROM T.E." LLY
Bailing out our future
Federal gov't must bailout GM for Michigan's sake
Sometimes it seems Michigan's fragile economy can't get any
worse. Unfortunately, it can. General Motors, the world's
largest automaker, is failing fast, and with its seemingly
inevitable crash, all of Michigan will feel the aftershock - which
is something the state just can't handle right now. For the sake of
Michigan and the nation, the federal government should grant GM
its bailout and save the drowning automaker. However, this loan
must come with a number of strict expectations, including catch-
ing up to competitive environmental standards.

The sense among the no-drama Obama
world is: This is well on its way to
winning best Oscar for drama."
- A high-ranking Democratic official, speaking on the condition of anonymity about how Bill Clinton's past may
jeopardize Hillary Clinton's potential appointment to Secretary of State, as reported yesterday by Politico.com.
ELAINE MORTON NATURE CALLS E-MAIL ELAINE AT EMORT@UMICH.EDU
_ J Ho~w COUld Q
H{u in ir s just somneone LoSoot k hre' ls Syou~r
\n '
TaXionaMich igan s economy

9

GM is currently pleading with the fed-
eral government for at least $25 billion
to protect the jobs of millions of Ameri-
can employees and the economy of states
like Michigan. That's a complicated plea,
because GM is largely at fault for fail-
ing to protect its own assets. Despite the
country's shift from gas-guzzling SUvs
to hybrids, GM's executives didn't follow
the trend. Refusing to convert their fleet
to smaller cars, they instead offered incen-
tives to SUv-buying consumers, adding to
the company's ever-growing debt.
The executives responsible for those
poor management decisions need to be
held accountable for GM's decline. Through
their refusal to follow an obvious consum-
er trend, these executives have ignored an
opportunity to stay competitive. Further,
GM's finances must be scrutinized. Unneed-
ed and outdated expenses must be slashed,
including inflated labor contracts. The com-
pany's health care package and pension
plan, both of which are struggling to keep
up with changing conditions, demand a
critical eye. In this economic climate, those
expenses cannot go unregulated if the auto-
makers are to receive federal aid.
Further steps must be taken to reverse

the issues that caused this problem - steps
that should have been taken years ago.
GM's monstrous SUvs are out. Compact
hybrids and electric cars are in, and GM
needs to reevaluate its standards to stay
competitive, meeting CAFE standards
for fuel efficiency and weight. And with a
potential bailout in the works, now is the
time for GM to show it appreciates the help
by doing what's best for itself, the environ-
ment and the nation.
It's an unfortunate situation, but the gov-
ernment must make the responsible deci-
sion for American autoworkers, especially
in Michigan: give GM its bailout. Without
it, millions of jobs will be lost, causing such
a devastating effect that the economy of
Michigan could be at stake. But the govern-
ment must also safeguard against the use of
aid for irresponsible expenditures like the
extravagant vacations AIG offered its exec-
utives after its $85 billion bailout.
Not even government aid can ensure
GM's survival at this point, but it's in the
best interest of Michigan and the country
to try. A bailout might not be the optimal
solution, but it's a necessary evil to save
both the automaker industry and millions
of jobs in Michigan.

ne way to measure a place's
success is to see what outsiders
say about it. And while outsid-
ers' comments about
Michigan are prob-
ably the least impor-
tant measure of the
state's never-ending
slide into the abyss,
they are depressing.
Whenever I hear
non-Michiganders
talk about my state ALEX
(I've lived in Michi- PRASAD
gan all my life), their
comments are rid-
dled with flippant
remarks about Detroit and references
to the "Rust Belt." But at least everyone
gives us the token "but-it-is-a-beauti-
ful-state-with-all-those-lakes" com-
ment after tearing the state to shreds.
These criticisms are not unfounded
or untrue. The United States has a 6.5
percent unemployment rate. Michi-
gan's rate stands at 8.7 percent. Since
2001, Michigan's unemployment rate
has consistently been more than a per-
centage point above the national aver-
age. And since 2000, the city of Detroit
has lost 3.5 percent of its population
and continues to slide down the list of
largest cities in America. It's no wonder
that among all cities in the nation with
more than 5,000 residents, Detroit is
the 30th mostdangerous. Then there is
Kwame Kilpatrick. And the Lions.
Obviously something needs to be
done to fix this state, and most peo-
ple's starting spot is the economy. But
last week's news about the Big Three's
executives traveling to Washington
D.C. to beg for a bailout represents a
terrible way to getback on track. That's
because, if Congress and the Bush
administration coddle the Big Three,
they will open a Pandora's box of busi-

nesses asking for free money. It's as if
Matthew Lesko, author of all those
books on how to get free money from
the government, is now the consulting
for America's biggest industries.
Here's a better solution: Our state
governmentshould look inward at how
it has allowed Michigan industry to
crumble, instead of waiting around for
a Big Three bailout.
When our state looks inward, it will
findoneglaringproblem:taxes.Accord-
ing to the Tax Foundation, Michigan
is the proud owner of the third worst
state tax climate for business. Among
our SO states, only Delaware and New
Hampshire try harder than Michi-
gan to keep business from their state.
Even Taxachusetts, which came in at
the fourth worst, is more hospitable to
business than Michigan.
After Michigan abolished the Single
Business Tax last year, it replaced the
system with the nonsensical Michigan
Business Tax, which includes a gross
receipt tax and a business income tax.
That means that the state of Michigan
now taxes the net income of corpora-
tions along with the money they gross.
For example, let's say you own a busi-
ness thatcbrings in $500,000 a year but
has $400,000 worth of expenses. This
great state will first tax your $500,000
in revenue, and then tax you again on
the $100,000 profit.
Perhaps all this talk of tax law gives
you a headache. Apparently, it gives the
Michigan House of Representatives
one, too. The House commissioned a
study in 2006 that said the state's tax
climate for business "explains growth
consistently."And yet, Michigan is still
the third most hostile state toward
business. Obviously, making Michigan
more competitive in this regard would
attract businesses and the jobs that
come with them.

As Michigan considers how to move
forward,thereisonemorethingitmust
realize: The idea that manufacturing
jobs, particularly automotive manufac-
turing jobs, are simply being "shipped
overseas" and will never come back is
simply not true.
For example, if you told citizens of
Spartanburg, S.C. that there are no
more automotive manufacturing jobs
being created, they would laugh. That's
because in 1992, BMW began invest-
ing a total of $2.4 billion into the area,
creating jobs for South Carolinians
manufacturing BMW SUVs. It's no
coincidence that South Carolina is the
Why Michigan
needs tax reform,
not a bailout.
ninth best state to do business accord-
ing to the Tax Foundation, and is a
right-to-workstate,meaningthatwork-
ers there are free to choose whether or
not they want to unionize. Loosening
the United Auto Workers' stranglehold
on Michigan probably isn't realistic
anytime soon here, though.
What Michigan can do, though, is
rewrite its tax laws. Ifit does that, there
is no reason this state can't regain its
earlier prosperity. Budget deficits and
a changing world economy are excuses
used to deflect blame and deny respon-
sibility. By making Michigan more
competitive, it will also become more
prosperous.
Alex Prasad can be reached
at atprasad@umich.edu.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Brian Flaherty, Matthew Green, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke, Shannon Kellman,
Edward McPhee, Emily Michels, Kate Peabody, Matthew Shutler, Robert Soave, Eileen Stahl,
Jennifer Sussex, Imran Syed, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Margaret Young
S EsEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

S

Gay rights overshadowed by
straight marriage proposal
TO THE DAILY:
Iwasdisappointed andabitoffendedtoseethe
Daily's front page yesterday. While I was excited
to see that the Daily covered Saturday's Equality
March, the picture-less story was pushed into a
corner and greatly overshadowed by the gigantic
photo of two students' engagement on a Univer-
sity bus. I'm happy for those students and in no
way criticizing them, but the overall message
the Daily sent was insensitive: Straight marriage
matters more than gay marriage.
Saturday's march included more than 400
people and was part of a national event that
received ample news coverage on CNN and
other networks (and other papers, for that mat-
ter). What does it say about the challenges fac-
ing our cause, then, that the Daily was more
interested in the personal (albeit adorable) lives
of only two students, as opposed to an issue
impacting millions?
In the future, please give a little more thought
to the messages you send to your readers.
Diana Parrish
School of Social Work
Daily underplays protest,
overplays engagementphoto
TO THE DAILY:
When Ipickedup acopy ofthe Dailyyesterday,
as I do every morning, I saw a photo of a couple
who were lucky enough to become engaged on a
University bus this past weekend. I also scanned
down the front page, looking to see if there was
any coverage of the powerful protest attended by
BELLA SHAH

400 people on Saturday. At first, I didn't notice
the Daily's news story because it was so small,
but I caught glimpse of the article in the bottom
left corner (Hundreds rally on A2 streets against
Prop 8,11/17/2008).
While I appreciate that the protest was cov-
ered, I feel that it wasn't given the attention it
deserved. Hundreds of students, faculty and
staff played part in something much larger than
Michigan - somethingthat made national news
with tens of thousands of people simultaneously
protesting across the country. No doubt, it was
also a monumental day for the couple in the Dai-
ly's feature photo to have their friends with them
as they made a life-long commitment to each
other, and I'm very happy for them. Sadly, I can't
help but feel resentment that they were celebrat-
ing their engagement while I, along with many
others across the nation, was struggling for the
right to be engaged at all.
I wonder if you know what it's like waking up
each morning and seeing the excitement of peo-
ple who have experienced something that I'mnot
given the opportunity to do. I don't know if you
know what it is like to be asked to speak at your
parents' 25th wedding anniversary and having
to back out at the last minute because everything
you try to say just sounds bitter, and then seeing
the disappointment in their eyes when you tell
them that you just can't do it. And I can't help
but ask myself if you even thought about the fact
that there was a huge picture of the exact thing
we are fighting for, overshadowing my small and
seemingly unimportant protest.
My hope from this letter is that in the future,
the Daily will think about it and realize that until
all are equal, none are equal. Oh, and by the way,
happy Transgender Awareness Week.
Ashley Schwedt
LSA senior
The letter writer is the chief of staff of the
Michigan StudentAssembly.
E-MAIL BELLA AT BELLZ@UMICH.EDU

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words and must
include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity and
accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
WILL GRUNDLER I VIEWPOINT
Hot off the shelf

I was in the library a few days ago when I began reading
a demon-erotica book.
Wait, that's misleading. It was a demon-human erotica
book, not your plain old demon-demon erotica book. Well,
that's pretty misleading, too. Let me explain. I was ina nice
comfy chair in the library, reading my math textbook; at
least, I was trying to read my math textbook, because math
authors love to make their books intricately dull. So, to com-
bat my boredom, I picked up a nearby book, and it turned out
to be about demon-human love.
Now, you probably have alot of questions. The first being,
of course, is the book available for checkout? To my knowl-
edge, it is, unless the weird guy who was reading over my
shoulder and breathing loudly took it. I won't tell you the
specific library it is in because I don't want to embarrass the
head librarian or whoever authorized the purchase of this
book. However, Iwill say it is inthe rather ugly-looking one,
straight in the back and to the right.
Of course, more conservative readers will probably want
to know why such a crude book is in a University facility,
why John McCain wasn't elected President and where their
guns are. But in the book's defense, it rescued me from an
awful afternoon of math reading.
Have you ever tried to read a
i'
n8

math book? It's more boring than public television. Math is
the awkward friend who you had to sit with on the bus or at
the lunch table, back when we had buses and lunch tables
and friends. (Note: this also applies to Math majors.) So was
I relieved when I picked up "Pleasure Unbound"? Let's just
say it was like being released from a jail cell, which had a
length and width of x feet and a height of y - 4 feet, and in
order to make bail I had to calculate how many would fit
inside a blue whale.
The bookwas interesting, to say the least -barring setting,
plot, character development, narration, imagery and rhyme
scheme, all of which I didn't pay much attention to because
I skipped to the erotic parts. But it was particularly extraor-
dinary because the author made demon anatomy just like
human anatomy. This is, of course, imperative to a romance
novel, as you really can't write about human-goldfish love or
some other mixed-species story. To me, it was a completely
new idea, and it raised some important questions.
Let's say for argument's sake that Heaven and Hell actu-
ally exist and there are demons in Hell who are physically
like you and me, although a bit nastier in the head. Does
this mean there are toilets in Hell that demons and humans
share? It very well could. Suddenly, Hell doesn't seem so
bad, because you would at least have access to a bathroom
every now and then. Though rather than toilets, there would
most likely be Port-O-Potties that the demons tip over when
you're inside.
Also, consider the evolutionary ramifications. Could
demonsbe amore complex hominid, one that can read minds
and fly and torture things creatively? Should we, as humans,
want to be demons, even though we traditionally frown on
them because we can't fly ourselves? These are all intriguing
questions, and not readily answerable. I must have mulled
over them for a longtime because when Ilooked up from the
book, the people in the surrounding chairs had left, presum-
ably to inform the library staff I had smuggled ina naughty
book. The library was also closing.
Not that I was embarrassed. In fact, I was glad to have
happened across the novel. It made me think differently
about demons, Hell and what constitutes literature. And I
think that's what they mean when they talk about the Mich-
igan Difference. So to those naysayers, and anyone else who
frowns on paranormal romance, I say this: Can you help me
with my math homework? It's still not finished.
Will Grundler is an LSA freshman.

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