4 - Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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GARY GRACA ROBERT SOAVE COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
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Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
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Defeat by delay
City Council hesitation halted crucial housing development
While less fortunate citizens of Ann Arbor are proba-
bly better off than residents of other Michigan cities,
Ann Arbor is still in need of more economical living.
Truly affordable housing is greatly needed for certain residents
and students in the city, which is why it's a shame some devel-
opers are having such a hard time constructing it. Over the last
few weeks, Ann Arbor City Council has stalled on approving City
Place, a new student housing project. A reconfigured plan for the
project was finally approved last Monday, but the approved ver-
sion is greatly reduced from what the developer initially intend-
ed. City Council's leadership on this issue has been lacking, and
moving forward, the council should treat the need for housing
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Policing equal pay
Developer Alex de Parry originally
proposed the construction of City Place,
a low-income apartment complex along
Fifth Avenue downtown, in early 2008.
He aimed the project at residents whose
income falls 80-90 percent below the city's
median income. De Parry originally sought
to create three separate apartment build-
ings containing 90 housing units for a total
of 164 bedrooms. The buildings would also
have been equipped with 96 underground
But this vision failed to pass City Coun-
cil. Instead, the version finally approved -
which City Council continued to delay its
vote on until de Parry threatened a lawsuit
- will create two smaller buildings with
a parking lot between the two. There will
be 24 units with 6 bedrooms within each
unit. And instead of underground parking
with 96 spaces, there will be a ground-level
parking lot with only 36 spaces.
The blame for City Place's diminished
size rests squarely with City Council.
Despite Ann Arbor's need for lower-income.
housing, City Council consistently failed
to make progress on the plan, instead suc-
cumbing to the demands of some whose
vision for the city does not provide ade-
quate housing for all. Instead of stalling the
project for nearly two years, City Council
should have worked with de Parry to build
a housing complex that will meet the needs
of Ann Arbor's less fortunate residents.
There are many Ann Arbor residents
in need of affordable housing, and City
Place could have been an answer to their
problems. Affordable housing close to
downtown would offer living space for
low-income residents who work in the city.
Without this housing, low-income families
are forced to move toward the outskirts of
the city, which worsens the city's socioeco-
nomic divide. Additionally, this places the
burden of commuting on the residents who
are least able to afford it.
Residents do have some concerns that
are worth consideration. The construc-
tion of City Place requires the destruc-
tion of several older houses that provide
some historic value to the city. But if City
Council is going to prioritize the preserva-
tion of these houses, it should have found
an alternate location for de Parry to build.
Such concerns shouldn't be placed above
the needs of pw-incoe citizegs. .
The city needs to workharder to provide
housing for all types of residents, includ-
ing low-income families and students. City
Council should keep everyone's housing
needs in mind to avoid botching proposals
for affordable housing in the future.
n Sept. 15, President Barack
Obama reiterated his support
for equal pay for equal work
laws in a speech
at the AFL-CIO
that "the very firstn
bill I signed into
law was the Lilly
Ledbetter Act to VINCENT
uphold the basic
principle of equal PATSY
pay for equal
work." This bill
strengthened the ability of workers
to sue an employer with the intention
of reducing race - or gender - based
discrimination in the workplace. But
this law - and other equal pay laws
like it - is bound to fail because the
progenitor of all unequal pay for
equal work is the government itself.
The free market assures that workers
are paid what they deserve. All the
government can possibly do is cor-
rupt this system.
Wages are determined by the output
of the worker.If I produce $80 worth of
goods in an eight-hour shift, my wage
will tend toward $10 an hour in the free
market. This is true because if I were
paid less than $9 an hour, it would be
beneficial for a different employer to
hire me at $9.50 an hour, thereby earn-
ingthe extra$.50 perhouron mylabor.
This process of constant outbidding
continues until the $10 per hour level
is reached. This level is called the Mar-
ginal Value Product.
I will admit that widespread dis-
crimination is possible in the free
market. But those who discriminate
pay very dearly for their discrimina-
tion: Employers who discriminate
get lower profits and consumers get
fewer choices. To come up with an
example that removes racial and gen-
der implications, let's suppose that
every American employerhated Cana-
dian workers and decided to pay them
less than their actual contribution to
a finished product. Each Canadian,
although producing at a level of $10
per hour, was only paid $5 per hour.
In this situation, a couple of things.
can be said. One, it opens a gap in the
market where non-discriminating
employers can hire exclusively Cana-
dians and make massive profits. Two,
those who suffer most from under-
paying Canadians, and consequently
also overpaying Americans for equal
work, are employers. The employers
themselves are earning lower profits
and therefore paying for their anti-
The point is that the solution to
discrimination is not the govern-
ment, but rather the market. The very
fact that employers are not actively
excluding Canadians from jobs sug-
gests one of the following cases:
Either "discriminated" workers are
being paid the right amount or the
government is oppressing them. In
other words, there must be either no
problem and no government action is
needed, or the government is causing
the problem and all that is necessary
is for them to get out of the way.
If any liberals actually believe that
there is widespread discrimination
against a group of potential workers,
then liberals should start businesses
and pay that group more than their
existing wage. Because most busi-
nesses are interested in making a
large profit, this type of mass hiring
should already be taking place under
a free market. Since it is not taking
place, then either the government is
oppressing people or workers deserve
the wage they get. x _
Equal pay' for tquat ork laws
hurts those who are allegedly dis-
criminated more than those who
are not discriminated. Suppose the
Canadian workers, for whatever rea-
son, are less productive and produce
fewer goods per day than American
workers, resulting in lower pay for
the Canadians. Ifa law is passed say-
ing that Canadians have to be paid
the same as Americans regardless of
level of production, the result would
be that no Canadians would be hired
- precisely the reverse of what the
can't fix wage
The idea of forcing "fair pay" for
everyone is a hopeless quest. For one,
some people (myself included) find
myjob deeplymotivatingin itself, and
the fact that I derive more enjoyment
from my job than my colleagues could
be considered unfair. Do I deserve a
lower wage in order to balance things
out and make my net benefit from my
job equal to that of my colleagues?
How would you discount the wages
of the middle class to make them fair
when compared with the lower class?
And even if everyone worked solely
for the wages they earned, wouldn't
it seem at least possible that some
form of nepotism or playing favorites
Rather than being the solution to
the problem, government interven-
into waescreates theproblem.
he' goVernment, by fa'orTng sme
workers over others, creates divisions
in society. There is no such thing as a
free lunch inseconomics, anwoekers
'shioutd be paid according to vha tey
produce. Only the free market can
guarantee equal pay for equal work.
- Vincent Patsy can be reached
Cliches you meet in college
Here at the University, students play a num-
ber of different roles. There are the partiers,
the studiers and the slackers. While it's been
my experience that many people fall securely
into one of the aforementioned stereotypes, it's
more common for these subsections to overlap.
This doesn't mean that other groups don't exist
- these just seem to be the most obvious when
you compare the different students here.
I may only be one year older than you youn-
gins, butI have learned a lot during my time here.
The sooner you realize the inherent wisdom of
my advice, the sooner you'll find your way, grass-
hoppers. You don't want to simply fall into one
of these groups out of a perceived necessity, no
matter how appealing it may seem. You have an
unbelievable opportunity to invent yourself, and
ruining it by taking the easy way out and becom-
ing a breathing clich6 would be such a waste. And
for all of you who have seen "Mean Girls" I'm
sure you know all about these cliches.
The University of Michigan may not be as
hardcore as Michigan State University when
it comes to majoring in alcohol. But you have
to admit, for one of the top universities in the
country, we really know how to throw a shin-
dig. From fraternities to block parties, rang-
ing from beer and jungle juice to foam dance
floors, there's never a weekend during which
some group of people isn't getting drunk and
making mistakes that they'll regret the next
day. The people who live in this world of per-
petual intoxication thrive on having fun and
writing seven-page papers while hungover on
This isn't to say that this group doesn't
do well in their classes. As a matter of fact, I
know several people who party almost every
night and still put a majority of their class-
mates' GPAs to shame. What it comes down to
is skill. Can you be out all night, get very little
sleep and still be able to force yourself to read
about the sociological ramifications of laugh-
ing at a sexist joke? For most people I've seen,
the answer is "no." But for those select few
who can, I congratulate you. For those of you
who have already skipped most of your classes
because you were just too tired from last night,
maybe it's time for a change. Add some balance
to your life.
This brings me to the partiers' natural oppo-
sites, the studiers. These students - those
who came to the University for the academics
instead of the football legacy - do all of their
homework. This is regardless of the fact that
they have three 40-page articles - ones they
will never be tested on - to read before their
next poli-sci lecture. Weekends are devoted to
the UGLi, and the closest thing they'll get to
receiving an MIP is getting stopped by a Depart-
ment of Public Safety officer to make sure that
their water bottles aren't really vodka.
After reading this description, words like
"over-achiever" or "nerd" might come to mind.
It seems that these students have no life out-
side of class, and it's true some students study
more than others - sometimes more than nec-
essary - but I don't see how this is always a
bad thing. We came to the University to make
something out of ourselves and actually get a
degree. Balancing studying and fun should be
one of our main priorities. My advice for all you
bookworms out there is to take a study break
with friends, get some pizza and watch a car-
toon Macaulay Culkin fight his way out of his
library in "The Pagemaster."
Then there are of course the slackers. What
can I say about this group? They range from
watching episodes of "The Office" all day to
smoking pot in the cemetery at night. They got
into the University on near-perfect test scores,
never go to class and still ace every exam in
Math 116. This group is fairly self-explanatory
and the most self-fulfilling. But if you think
you can coast through four years here and
come out with a GPA higher than the legal
blood alcohol level, you're sadly mistaken.
Like the other groups, slackers need to balance
out their lives with more wholesome fun and
decent hours of studying.
For all you freshmen out there trying to find
a niche, take this simple advice. No matter who
you think you are, remember that balance and
variety are the keys to a successful run in col-
lege. Mix it up - party Friday night, have a
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" marathon on Sat-
urday and study on Sunday. It's never good to
fall into only one category. No one wants to be a
Matthew Shutler is an assistant
editorial page editor.
The Daily is looking for a diverse group of strong, informed, passionate writers to
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E-MAIL ROBERT SOAVE AT RSOAVE@UMICH.EDU FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Republican budget a bust
Two weeks ago, State Senate Majority Leader Mike
Bishop announced the Senate Republicans' plan to solve
Michigan's budget problems before the Oct. 1 deadline.
His plan, which was formed without consulting Gover-
nor Jennifer Granholm or House Democrats, represents
the core of the Michigan Republican Party's ideology -
namely, the decimation of state services. Bishop's bud-
get is bad for working families, students, police, doctors,
firefighters, local governments and low-income com-
munities. It would roll back any progress our state has
made over the last several years toward a new, stable
The bill would cut:
" Michigan Promise Grant college scholarship: $140
Other college financial aid programs and scholar-
ships: $48 million.
" Reimbursement for community colleges for property
tax revenue lost because of renaissance zones: $4 mil-
" $14 a month from Supplemental Security Income,
which provides assistance to the elderly and people with
disabilities who live independently: $30 million.
- Payment rates to health care providers who treat
Medicaid patients by 8 percent: $355 million.
" Substance abuse services by 5 percent: $1 million.
" Healthy Michigan programs that combat infant mor-
tality, minority health, poison control centers, senior
nutrition services and diseases ranging from heart dis-
ease to arthritis: $20 million.
- Revenue sharing payments to local governments
(police, firefighters, other city services): $90 million.
This is only a sample of the severe cuts this bill makes
to our state's government. And the bill wouldn't raise a
single dollar of additional revenue. Bishop's plan doesn't
attempt to close loopholes in Michigan's severely flawed
tax system or propose any additional changes to the state's
structural deficit. This is a reckless attempt to strangle
the government to the detriment of students and working
What's worse, Speaker of the House Andy Dillon -
without having proposed a budget resolution plan of his
own - agrees with Bishop and is willing to adopt the
Republican plan. Dillon is a Democrat, and has pledged to
secure Democratic support for this disastrous bill.
The College Democrats at the University of Michigan
cannot stand for this plan or anyone who supports it.
Eviscerating the budget in this way will irreparably harm
Michigan. If young people are the future of this state, the
Bishop/Dillon proposal is killing any hope for Michigan's
future. The proposed programs to be cut are proof of that.
On top of cutting health services for children, the bill
would eliminate the Michigan Promise Scholarship, deal-
ing a severe blow to students. 96,000 students statewide
rely on this program, and over 5,000 students here at the
University are eligible for the program's scholarships.
There is some pushback against the Bishop/Dillon
budget deal, and Granholm still has the ability to veto
the final budget bill. The budget bills proposed by Gra-
nholm and the Senate Democrats made significant cuts,
yet retained essential fundingfor education, police, medi-
cal and fire and added additional revenue to help the state
deal with the deficit. Unfortunately, this movement is up
against significant opposition that is committed to cram-
ming through a flawed budget at all costs.
In short, the Bishop/Dillon budget will hurt the quality
of our education, health care and public services, and, as a
result, our state's future. We need a budget that preserves
these essentials that we - as students and residents of
Michigan - rely on and deserve.
This viewpoint was written by DJ Heebner, Lindsay
Mlars and Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer on behalf of the
University's chapter of the College Democrats.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty,
Emma Jeszke, Raghu Kainkaryam, Sutha K Kanagasingam, Erika Mayer,
Edward McPhee, Harsha Panduranga, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Laura Veith
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