4 - Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
I e Iicl ig n aiiy
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GARY GRACA ROBERT SOAVE COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflectthe official position ofthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations representsolely the views oftheir authors.
FROM TH E DAILY
The cost of coverage
Universal health care would make system more affordable
hile many University students wait in fear of another
tuition hike, faculty members took the first financial
hit last week.. On Friday, the University announced
that faculty and retirees on University health plans will have to
pay a higher proportion of the costs. Though this will be a tough
increase for faculty, the University wasn't left with much of a
choice. Burdensome health care costs are a national problem, and
institutions like the University shouldn't be responsible for them.
Instead, the federal government needs to create a universal health
care system that provides for the medical needs of all people - a
reform that eases the financial burden many organizations like
ours are carrying.
According to University officials, health
care is the most rapidly increasing cost on
the University's budget. That's one reason
why faculty members will soon be paying
30 percent of their total health care costs
under a new plan - a considerable increase
over the current 20 percent. The commit-
tees that created the plan, the Committee
on Sustainable Health Benefits and the
Committee to Study Retirement Savings
Plan vesting Options, opted to increase
faculty contributions, rather than scrap
With the University facing rising costs
and state funding cuts from the state,
something had to give. Failure to cut costs
could harm other priorities like the need
to keep tuition low. These costs are clearly
draining money that should be available
for other things.
And the University isn't the only one hurt-
ing -burgeoninghealth care costs are partly
to blame for the financial woes of Michigan's
auto makers. The best solution to the prob-
lems is federally managed universal health
care. This would alleviate health costs that
employers shouldn't have to worry about.
The rising cost of health care is a national
issue that shouldn't be left to individuals,
employers and schools to solve.
The government is better equipped to
address escalating costs and also has a
duty to provide such services to all people.
A national health care plan would reduce
the cost of health care because private
plans that already exist would have to offer
lower prices to compete. This would in
turn drive down costs for institutions like
With the cost of health care decreas-
ing from the creation of a national system,
more people will be able to afford coverage.
opponents of universal health care might
claim that a universal policy will lower
the quality of care or result in abuse of the
system, but this shouldn't be the case in a
well-managed program. Universal health
care is the best solution to the inequalities
created under current health care policies.
Colleges shouldn't have to struggle with
raising tuition or charging faculty mem-
bers through the roof for services that
their lives cpuld literally depend on. Edu-
cators and other individuals aren't respon-
sible for the problems in private health
care systems - they shouldn't have to pay
the price for the problem. And the federal
government can't shirk its responsibility to
make high quality health care accessible to
everyone. It's time for Congress to make
efficient, affordable health coverage a real-
ity for all Americans.
Notre Dame has chosen prestige over
principles, popularity over morality.'
- A petition from the Cardinal Newman Society, calling for the University of Notre Dame to rescind its invitation
to President Barack Obama to speak at commencement, as reported yesterday by the Chicago Tribune.
ELAINE MORTON I T CLLS E-MAIL ELAINE AT EMORT@UMICH.EDU
Sunday was World
Witer Day. 20% ofrWho?
peopleVon 5rP+e don- MOr+1' f1 orAnae
dcinkir 4te C. S''r'
Discounting the future
T he last eight years have been of our industrial base, fatal weaken- And of course, government paper
especially difficult for capital- ing of our currency and the accumu- would be the market's last choice as a
ists like myself. A lot of non- lation of massive amounts of debt. monetary arrangement, as evidenced
sense has recently But the current macroeconomic pol- by the fact that it took until 1690 for
been written about icy espoused by most economists is government paper money to be cre-
the alleged free- still that spending "drives" the econ- ated. There is also the fact that a cen-
market activities omy and all we have to do to become tral bank has never existed without
causing our current wealthier is buy more things. express consent of the government,
instability. To me, We are consumingcapital - we are i.e. banks have never taken over the
this view is comical. diverting resources away from sav- economy without the direct help of
But for the populace ings and toward consumption. This government. This should make it clear
as a whole, it's not leads to a higher standard of living that manipulation of money and cred-
only damaging but in the short run but eventually will it is impossible on the free market.
potentially fatal. VINCENT lead to economic collapse. Suppose
In the first place, PATSY my car was not running well and I
a free market is an -_ needed to get it fixed. I could decide
economic system to delay spending money to fix my car HOw speculation
in which the means of production and spend the money on something
are entirely privately owned. We do else, like a new TV. Eventually, my -has depleted
not operate under a free market, as car would stop working and I would
evidenced by the fact that I attend a need to pay more to fix it. Saving our savings.
public university. money allows for a higher standard
But it gets worse when one turns to of living in the future at the expense
the financial sector. The basis of our of the present. Our current economic
financial system is a government car- philosophy says-that saving money The important question is not how
tel of private banks with the Federal is unimportant, which destroys our to get out of this mess, but rather how
Reserve having the sole monopoly on future standard of living for the sake the mistakes could have been made
the creation of money and credit. To of the present. in the first place. Why was there sud-
put this in perspective, the only com- --As I mentioned in a coluan a few denly a massive rise in housing prices
parable sector of the economy would weeks ago, our current baking at the same time as a massive expan-
be passenger train service, which arrangement of fractional-reserve sion ofcredit? Whyis it thatthere was
is controlled by government-owned banking is not a market institution. enough credit for those companies
Amtrak. These are examples of pri- Even if it were permitted, however, to expand that way? In a free mar-
vate corporations owned and con- banks in a free market would have ket, if you extend your position, you "
trolled by the government - hardly a to pay depositors on demand. This become riskier and thus less credit
market institution. means that under a free market, is available. By doing the opposite of
Under a free market, there obvi- eventually fractional reserve banking the market, the Fed made speculation
ously would be no central bank, and would eventually become 100 percent a costless venture, and thus investors
interest rates would be set by the reserve banking. who were risky became thesuccessful
amount of savings. With our savings Since the government guarantees ones. This promotion of speculation
rate going negative in the last few money market funds, bank accounts was a result of government interven-
years, we should have seen a massive and other financial instruments, tion into the market. Add in the fact
rise in interest rates. Since this didn't there is little incentive for inves- that the government was unwilling to
happen, it's safe to assume the free tors to do due diligence on where to shut it down and it's no wonder we're
market has not been setting interest put their money. There is also little in our current predicament.
rates, incentive for banks to be honest or to Would you still say capitalism
By setting interest rates low, the act prudently, which leads to incred- abounds, comrades?
federal government has decreased ible moral hazard. Do you honestly
the amountnofsavings in the economy. believe that George Bush's minions - Vincent Patsy can be reached
This has resulted in the destruction were that competent? at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
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LISA TREUMUTH AND JOSHUA LEEI VIEWPOINT
Recognizing World TB Day
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke,
Sutha K Kanagasingam, Shannon Kellman, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Matthew Shutler, Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Rich pay more than their
fair share of tax burden
the bottom SO pt
ers will pay no in'
half of earners ha
other people's me
TO THE DAILY: some is the fact t
I enjoyed reading Patrick O'Mahen's latest nesses - the prir
column (Taxation Frustration, 04/23/2009) - file under pers
about how income taxes are unfair to poorer nesses will be the
people. The article epitomizes the spin Presi- and will directly
dent Barack Obama as well as many liberals put can - by cuttingj
on the way income tax works in this country. Many people
Obama has claimed that 95 percent of all Forbes Wealthie
Americans will pay less in taxes and only the 20 richest people
top 2 percent will receive a tax increase. Let's losing a staggeri
try to weed through the liberal spin and get ingsentiment th.
real. First off, nearly half (45.3 percent in 2007) deserved it, butp
of all government revenue comes from individ- facts;and the fac
ual income taxes. The top one percent of indi- just realize thatt
viduals in this country pay 40 percent of the boat.
total revenue from income taxes and the top
five percent pay around 60 percent. In addition, Sam van Kleef
the bottom 40 percent pay no income tax and LSA freshman
ecent pay under 3 percent.
s new tax plan, half of all earn-
come tax. This would mean that
ve absolutelynostake inhowthe
oney is spent. Even more worri-
hat about half of all small busi-
mary job creators in the nation
onal income taxes. These busi-
e biggest losers in tax increases
respond in the only ways they
jobs or raising prices.
were ecstatic when the new
st People list showed 19 out the
e were worse off than last year,
ng $2 trillion. There is a grow-
at those "greedy rich bastards"
erhaps we should consider the
cts don't lie. Sure, hate the rich;
they are the ones who float the
JASON MAHAKIAN E-MAIL JASON AT MAHAKIAJ@UMICH.EDU
ti t ,.-
Today is World TB Day, when countries around the
world focus on the problem of tuberculosis, a disease that
still kills about 1.7 million people per year. This year, World
TB Day falls at a time of financial uncertainty and fear for
the future of our economy. During this period of financial
crisis for even the richest countries in the world, we in the
United States may be tempted to turn inward and look only
at our own needs and problems. Of course we must find ways
to help American families that have lost their homes and
American workers who have lost their jobs. But at the same
time, we should not overlook our global family for the sake
of our security. Just a little attenition and help can enhance
national security while simultaneously upholding the dig-
nity oftour fellow human beings.
Typical TB can be treated with a cheap six-month pro-
gram of two or three medications, but the increasingly
common, multi-drug-resistant TB can cost millions of
dollars to treat. Nearly 500,000 people around the world
developed MDR-TB last year. Even more threatening is
extensively drug-resistant TB, which has a mortality rate
of 85 percent and has been found in 35 countries, includ-
ing the United States. As we learned last year through the
case of Andrew Speaker, those with TB in one country
can spread the disease easily in a closed area, like in an
airplane. Now that global travel is so commonplace, TB in
one country threatens all of us.
Currently, the United States provides funding for TB
programs primarily through the Global Fund to Fight
AIDS, TB, and Malaria. This fund, which is financed
through contributions from avariety of wealthy countries,
solicits grant proposals for health programs in poorer
nations to combat these deadly diseases. If the proposals
are deemed worthy by an independent technical review
panel, the Global Fund grants the money to launch and
sustain these programs. Since its inception, the Fund has
disbursed $7.2 billion for programs that have saved an
estimated 3.5 million lives.
In 2007, leaders at the Global Fund Board and G8
agreed to scale yearly contributions to the Global Fund
up to between $6-8 billion if countries crafted high-qual-
ity grant proposals. This encouraged a dramatic increase
in the number and scale of proposals submitted, and
the Global Fund agreed to increase yearly funding. But
G8 countries have not lived up to their commitments to
increase contributions to the Fund yet and consequently
many worthy projects still can't obtain funding. If these
projects stall, it could lead to lost lives and an increased
likelihood that TB will spread to more countries.
Congress and the President have a chance to remedy
this situation by increasing funding for the Global Fund
in the coming supplemental appropriations bill. Our fair *
share of the financial need of the Global Fund is $2.7 bil-
lion. Compared to the trillions that we have poured into
our irresponsible banks, this sum seems like pennies, and
this money could actually provide a return on investment.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to fight for
full funding for the Global Fund. If you are unsure about
who your legislator is, feel free to contact Lisa Treumuth
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and Joshua Lee (msnbc@umich. *
edu) to receive that information. Millions of lives could
depend on it - maybe.
Joshua Lee is a Business sophomore and
Lisa Treumuth is a graduate student.