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January 21, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-01-21

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4A - Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

tic tgan at y
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


You know my rooa na, c e jusn changes oat in te DdCale sahre
YehCa rlisa gdgy.and infs...awkward.
0 t!
The re4al'real cost of raises'




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.
Bringin' down the house
State should ensure that federal funds help communities
With little cash to fund projects that will enable Mich-
igan's economic recovery, the state has received a
helping hand from the federal government. Michigan
was recently granted $223.9 million in federal stimulus funds,
designated for allocation to the development and restructuring
of housing facilities in struggling communities across the state.
During this particularly stressful time for the housing market,
Michigan needs support for recovery initiatives. But though the
potential of this project is encouraging, it must place its primary
focus on the people most in need of housing. To utilize the funds
most effectively, the state must focus on the creation of more
affordable housing options for Michigan residents.

n a recent editorial, the Daily
requested that University fac-
ulty and staff accept wage and
salary freezes in order to curb tuition
increases and
improve under-
graduate edu-
cation (The real
cost of pay raises,
With all due
respect, Daily
editorial board, .
you can pry my
3.4-percentyraise PATRICK
from my cold, dead O'MAHEN
And you can
expect the same
attitude from all the custodians, food
service employees, librarians, lectur-
ers and landscapers if you want them
to hand back their hard fought wage
gains. Fine, so that's overdramatic,
but the editorial's naivet hbothered
me on several levels:
First, it asserted that salaries
played a major role in the spiraling
tuition costs. Then, citing a Decem-
ber University report, the editorial
board lauded the leadership roles of
19 senior administrators who are vol-
untarily forgoing merit pay increases
this year. They then implored other
employees to follow the example of
our selfless leadership.
Butin their hurry to swallow a Uni-
versity press release that highlighted
deans and administrators refusing
merit raises, the intrepid researchers
on the editorial board forgot to, well,
do some research.
If they'd actually bothered to do
some simple digging in the Faculty
and Staff Salary record - which the
Daily ironically provides access to
on its website - staffers would have
uncovered a larger pattern of gener-
ous salary increases for major uni-
versity administrators that easily
outstripped other employee compen-
sation increases over the last decade.
Let's start at the top. In 1997, then-
University President Lee Bollinger
earned $275,000 in base salary. In

2008, current President Mary Sue
Coleman earned $553,500. That's a
total raise of 101.3 percent. During
that same time frame, the provost's
salary has increased from $230,000
to $366,000, an increase of 59 per-
cent. Finally, the LSA dean's base pay
has increased by 88.4 percent, from
$207,000 to $390,000.
In contrast, GSI salaries increased
roughly 40 percent from 1997-2008.
Other unionized employees had simi-
lar or smaller raises during that time,
as did most non-onionized staff,
though exact numbers are more diffi-
cult to calculate in those cases.
During that same time period, in-
state tuition rose 93.3 percent. Do you
notice how top administrative sal-
ary increases tended to be a lot closer
to the tuition increase than other
employee's salaries? And these num-
bers don't include goodies like deferred
compensation, housing, car allowances
and the like, which pushed Coleman's
total compensation package to nearly
$760,196 last year, according to the
Daily. Finally, notice how the three
positions I cite draw all their compen-
sation from tuition and state funding. I
haven't even mentioned the 47-percent
raise the new athletic director will get
this year.
In addition, over the last year bene-
fit cuts have affected most employees,
who have little choice in the matter.
All non-unionized and some union-
ized employees have been forced to
increase their contribution to their
health insurance premiums. I sup-
pose the Daily could be forgiven for
not praising their sacrifices, because
a bunch of librarians, custodians and
IT people don't contribute to under-
graduate education, right? That is,
they don't matter unless you care
about finding materials for a research
paper, having your dorm bathroom
kept clean and keeping your wireless
network working.
Administrators have also increased
their health care contributions as
well, but paying 30 percent of the
roughly $7,200 annual family health
care premium hits a custodian earn-

ing around $29,000 a year much
harder than it hits LSA Dean Terrence
McDonald's $390,000 salary. (For the
record, McDonald got a $63,000 raise
in 2008, while some custodian got
well under $1,000)
GSI pay raises
don't affect
tuition increases.
The limited data of the salary his-
tory shows that retaining individu-
als generally doesn't seem to cost as
much as hiring new ones - especially
outside candidates. For example,
Coleman's salaries since her hiring
have generally tended to increase
in three to four percent increments
- from $475,000 in her first year to
$484,000 to $501,000, $516,000,
$531,000 and finally $553,500. The
big jump came in the year of Bol-
linger's departure and Coleman's
arrival, in which the president's sal-
ary jumped by at least 30 percent.
A similar story pertains to the pro-
vost's position. In 2007 and 2008,
University Provost Teresa Sullivan
earned healthy but hardly notewor-
thy raises of 3.5 and 3.9 percent. In
contrast, the first year that she took
the position, the provost's base pay
jumped 16.4 percent. I can't wait to
see what the new provost's salary
package looks like. If it's a raise simi-
lar to what Sullivan had, the new sal-
ary could move to nearly $450,000.
When the Daily reports on the new
provost and relays the usual breath-
less administrative banalities about
what a magnificent hire she or he is,
maybe then the editorial board will
remember to ask for some leadership
on the salary front. Perhaps, then it'
might sound a bit less tone deaf than
it did two weeks ago.
- Patrick O'Mahen can be
reached at pomahen@umich.edu.

At a press conference last week, federal
Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, along
with Gov. Jennifer Granholm, announced
that the state will receive $223.9 million
from the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development. The Michigan State
Housing Development Authority origi-
nally applied for $290 million for the pro-
gram, but was only granted a portion of its
request. The money the state received will
be put towards the "New Michigan Urban
Neighborhood Plan," a project that intends
to rebuild an estimated 1,500 foreclosed
and vacant homes and demolish 2,500
more across the state. Detroit will receive
the largest bulk of the funds at $40.8 mil-
lion, but the initiative has also directed sig-
nificant funds to several other communities
including Lansing, Kalamazoo and Flint.
On top of the economic advantages of
the "New Michigan Urban Neighborhood
Plan," it's a bonus that the project won't
place another tax burden on already-strug-
gling Michigan residents because the proj-
ect is funded by the federal stimulus plan.
It's only logical that the Housing Develop-
ment Authority applied for the cash. There
would have been no excuse for missing out
on free federal funds for a state that des-
perately needs to give its economy - and
its people - a boost.
The "New Michigan Urban Neighborhood
Plan" has the potential to play an impor-

tant role in rebuilding Michigan's stagnant
economy. The blighted properties lower
the property values of a community and
discourage the recovery of the struggling
housing market. The "New Michigan Urban
Neighborhood Plan" will demolish vacant
and foreclosed properties in areas particu-
larly affected by the recession and build
new homes in their place. The revitalization
of these neighborhoods will create a more
attractive community that will improve the
housing market in these areas.
But the residents of distressed areas like
Detroit and Flint need more than attrac-
tive new homes. Individuals who have been
hit hardest by Michigan's especially dismal
economic downturn have equally pressing
needs. The federal money should address
the most pressing needs of the state - and
families struggling to make ends meet are
in desperate need of affordable housing.
When the Michigan State Housing Devel-
opment begins to build these new and
improved facilities, it must make construct-
ing affordable housing that accommodates
low-income residents a top priority.
The "New Michigan Urban Neighbor-
hood Plan" offers a change to encourage the
state's economy and the revival of decay-
ing communities. But the true value of this
programgoes far beyond the economy. The
creation of more affordable housing is nec-
essary to help people and families in need.

Where is all the optimism?



When President Barack Obama took office
one year ago on Jan. 20, 2009, our nation was in
the depth of the worst economic crisis since the
Great Depression and burdened with two costly,
directionless wars. From his first day in office,
Obama has made these challenges his top prior-
ity. He has focused on returning our economy
to its former vitality, bringing the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan to successful conclusions and
reforming the health care system. Obama has
also signed laws to strengthen civil rights pro-
tections and worked to regain respect for the
United States from other countries.
As his first major legislative initiative,
Obama persuaded Congress to pass the Ameri-
can Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which
renewed government investment in infrastruc-
ture, science and education, while saving the
jobs of thousands of Americans. In addition,
he successfully managed the Troubled Assets
Relief Program, which garnered a $4 billion
profit (a 15-percent return on investment) for
U.S. taxpayers. The program helped preventthe
collapse of the American financial sector and
thaw frozen credit markets.
Obama also recognizes the necessity of a
strong industrial sector to the vitality of the
middle class and to the strength of the Ameri-
can economy. He encouraged federal involve-
ment to help General Motors Corp. and Chrysler
through bankruptcies and to set the companies
on track to return to a competitive position in
the global marketplace. Following this restruc-
turing, the Democrats passed "Cash for Clunk-
ers," a popular and successful program that
provided a much-needed boost to domestic auto
sales while helping to reduce carbon emissions
from American automobiles.
Also on the domestic front, Obama signed
the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which
strengthens the 1964 Civil Rights Act, giv-
ing victims of employment discrimination an
increased ability to recover damages. This law
aims to protect employees from discrimina-
tion on the basis of sex, race, color, religion or
national origin.
In addition to strengthening employment
discrimination laws, Congress passed the Mat-
thew Shephard Act of 2009, which extends
federal hate crimes protections to LGBT
Americans. The bill was named for a Univer-
sity of Wyoming student who was tortured and
killed in 1998 because of his sexual orientation.
Republicans in Congress have long opposed
extending hate crimes protections to cover
LGBT Americans, but Obama signed the bill
into law in October.
Obama continues to champion health insur-
ance reform and has made more progress
on the issue than any president in history.

Although the legislation has yet to be finalized,
it should decidedly improve competition in the
health insurance market, reduce costs of cover-
age and expand access to care. It will prohibit
health insurance providers from discriminat-
ing against people due to pre-existing condi-
tions and bar them from dropping patients that
get sick. This reform will benefit students by
requiring health insurance providers to cover
individuals under their parents' plans until age
26. Despite lacking a filibuster-proof major-
ity in the Senate after Tuesday's special elec-
tion for the Massachusetts Senate seat, health
insurance reform will likely pass Congress in
the coming weeks.
Overseas, Obama has faced the difficult tasks
of rebuilding our diplomatic alliances, imple-
menting a new strategy in Afghanistan, man-
aging operations in Iraq and fighting terrorism.
Today, the U.S. is once again making diplomacy
a central component of its foreign policy and
has rebuilt alliances around the globe. Obama
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his
efforts to promote peace and diplomacy.
Obama has proven his commitment to fight-
ing terrorism by emphasizing the war against
al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. In
his first month in office, Obama ordered an
increase in troop presence there and has placed
American forces on the offensive against ter-
rorist leaders. In addition, he has worked with
General Stanley McChrystal to employ new
strategies that recognize the unique nature of
the war in Afghanistan.
In Iraq, Obama has continued to implement
the Status of Forces Agreement that American
commanders negotiated with the Iraqi Govern-
ment, which should end the presence of Ameri-
can forces in Iraq by the end of 2011.
Obama has also reclaimed the moral high
ground in the War on Terrorism. He has ended
the use of torture and is implementing plans to
close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. He has
begun the process of prosecuting accused terror-
ists held in American custody. Obama's anti-ter-
rorism policies have improved America's moral
standing, revitalized its international respect and
kept America safer from terrorist attack.
There is no simple solution to our nation's
problems, but Obama's first year is an example
of the determination and hard work that has
made our nation great. His efforts are far from
complete - our country certainly has more
challenges ahead than behind - but Obama has
made remarkable strides in addressing issues
of critical importance.
This viewpoint was written by Robert
Bowen and Josh LeVasseur on behalf of the
University's chapter of the College Democrats.

This week, as political pundits
analyze President Barack
Obama's first year in office
ad infinitum, I'm
trying to remem-
ber the optimism
that surrounded
his inaugura-
tion just one year
ago. I recall fan-
tasizing about an
Democratic Con- X
gress passing bill T
upon bill, legislat- MATTHEW
ing progress and GREEN
reversing eight
years of conserva-
tive damage.
Well, my dreams haven't exactly
come true ... yet. And I won't take the
time to once more enumerate all of
the terrific things that the Democrats
have not yet done. But I'm a little ner-
vous that in the upcoming midterm
election, congressional Democrats
won't be given a chance to continue
fighting for all the reforms impor-
tant to liberal America. In the last
election, Democrats were afforded
a unique opportunity. The Left, gal-
vanized by its hatred of George W.
Bush, came out like never before in
support of Obama and congressional
Democrats. Moderates also voted
largely Democratic because they, too,
found regime change appealing.
But this year, during the midterm
election, Democrats won't have the
advantage of being on the better side
of public anger. And insofar as it may
seem that Democrats have the upper
hand at the moment, liberals won't
vote with the intensity of a resolute
underdog. Republicans, however,
probably will. They are outraged
by Obama, pissed at Speaker of the
House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and
for a variety of reasons, they just gen-
erally vote more passionately than

By nature of their usual defer-
ence to status quo, conservatives
generally feel a much greater sense
of urgency than liberals do when it
comes to social change. On abortion,
for instance, liberals speak abstract-
ly about a woman's right to choose,
where conservatives view the matter
as one between life and death. Ergo,
those on the Right are naturally more
inclined to spring to action, when lib-
erals tend to be much more passive.
This phenomenon accounts for why
abortion is still a hot-button issue,
even though a 2006 Gallup poll found
that roughly 80 percent of the coun-
try believes it should be legal at least
under certain conditions.
Yet liberals have reasons to be fer-
vent, too. Perhaps even more than in
2008, the Left has a lot at stake. First,
Democrats need to maintain their
congressional majority to ensure that
meaningfulhealth reform is achieved.
Even if the current Congress works
out some legislation, reform will
likely require more intricate con-
sideration in the years following the
passage of an initial bill. Additionally,
in order to guarantee that economic
recovery is carefully managed, Con-
gress can't revert to the economic
deregulation that led to the enormous
financial irresponsibility that ruined
the economy in the first place. And all
of that is set against a social backdrop
in which much progress - matters of
income inequality, immigration, labor
reform, gay rights, etc. - has yet to be
set into motion.
With so much left to be accom-
plished, the Democrats must work
overtime to avoid a repeat of the 1994
midterm election, when public frus-
tration with the Democrats in power
led to a major Republican fakeover of
Congress. And their work is cut out
for them. This year, as tried-and-true
Democratic Senators Byron Dorgan
of North Dakota and Chris Dodd of
Connecticut both retire, the Demo-

crats will have considerable difficulty
replacing them - even though Dodd
was expected to lose if he did run for
a sixth term. Ten Democrats in the
House aren't seeking re-election and
the party is losing certain key gover-
nors to term limits this year.
After one year,
Democrats have
lost their zeal.
It is, perhaps, a slight silver lining
that Republicans are losing even more
incumbents: fourteen in the House
and six in the Senate. But given the
increased public frustration with the
current Democratic Congress, paired
with the fact that most of these seats
are in solidly conservative districts,
the replacement of these legislators
should be rather easy for the GOP.
The bottom line is that Democrats
could easily lose more than they gain
this year if liberal leadership can't
maintain an energized base. Hope-
fully the economic measures they
have just put in place will lead to a
stronger economy in the summertime
before the election, increasing their
public support. But they cannot rely
solely on that.
Democrats cannot rest on the lau-
rels of their victories in the past two
elections. They must find a way to get
leftward-leaning Americans behind
their message strongly enough that
they will actually come out and vote.
And if Democrats don't succeed in
bringing the debate back to core issues
that matter to liberals, they'll regret it
when their significant congressional
majority slips away from them.
- Matthew Green can be reached
at greenmat@umich.edu.

Nina Amilineni, William Butler, Nicholas Clift, Michelle DeWitt,
Brian Flaherty, Jeremy Levy,Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee, Emily Orley,
Harsha Panduranga, Alex Schiff, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith

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