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February 26, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-02-26

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4 - Friday, February 26, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

C MICt ian 4 3atlm
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
h. tothedaily@umich.edu






Part of me can't help
feeling like I'm
already on break.

' .1.'
/ \

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solelythe views of their authors.
Sustainable knowledge
'U' needs more eco-friendly education programs
T hough University students have a reputation for being
green, they have had limited academic opportunities to
learn about environmental practices. But a new University
program aims to provide students with a chance to study sustain-
ability. The creation of the new Sustainability Scholar certification
program in partnership with the Graham Environmental Sustain-
ability Institute will provide a series of courses to educate students
in sustainability. The program shows encouraging progress in the
University's commitment to environmentalism. Students should
take advantage of this opportunity to learn about sustainable
practices, and the University should expand its efforts to promote
sustainability among the student body and its graduates.

Less food, more thought

As reported by the Daily on Wednes-
day, the University recently launched the
Undergraduate Sustainability Scholars
Program with the help of the Graham
Institute, which is focused on a sustain-
able campus. Students will be educated
about the nuances of a sustainable world
over the course of a ten-credit program.
Seven colleges at the University are con-
tributing to the project's curriculum, giv-
ing this initiative a truly holistic approach
to sustainability. Students who complete
the program will receive a certificate of
completion as well as a notation on their
transcript as a Sustainability Scholar. The
capstone course of the program is a "place-
based course" at Camp Davis in Jackson
Hole, Wyo., in South America or in East
Sustainable technology contributes
to slowing the destructive progress of
climate change and saves energy and
resources. Sustainability reduces waste,
which ultimately reduces the amount of
harmful greenhouse gases released into
the atmosphere. It conserves limited natu-
ral resources. Here at the University, using
sustainable resources could save money
and reduce costs.
The University's new program encour-
ages environmentally-friendly action by
educating students in the value of sustain-
ability. Giving students the knowledge
to encourage sustainability will lead to
increased implementation over time. And
including students from across disciplines
in the program ensures that its effects will

be widespread.
And the program is a valuable opportu-
nity for students. The Graham Institute
partnership will produce graduates who
are knowledgeable about sustainability
and environmentally-friendly practices -
knowledge they can apply in everyday life
and in their careers. And the sustainability
scholars will graduate not only with class-
room sustainability under their belts, but
also with hands-on experience.
The Sustainability Scholar program
demonstrates an important development
in environmentalism at the University, but
more can be done. Though the University
has said that it is committed to environ-
mental efforts on campus, it hasn't always
backed up its words with action. It has
been surprisingly reluctant to make new
buildings, like North Quad, Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design-
certified. Only two University buildings
have LEED certification. And the Univer-
sity's Planet Blue program, which seeks to
increase recycling and save energy, hasn't
been implemented in all campus buildings.
The University must take more action to
create a greener, more sustainable campus.
Initiatives like the new sustainability
program sponsored by the Graham Insti-
tute give students the knowledge they need
to adopt environmentally-friendly prac-
tices and help to preserve the planet. The
University should start more initiatives
like this and commit itself to implement-
ing environmentally friendly measures on
campus wherever possible.

Atypicalbreakfast at the Univer-
sity might include a latte and
pastry from Espresso Royale -
perhaps half your
optimal daily calo-
rie intake before
you even make it
to your first class.
With no real time
for lunch, you grab
a bagel from Bert's
on your way to dis-
cussion. When you
finally make it back LEAH
to your room, you POTKIN
pop open a bag of
chips and a soda
and prepare for
your daily nap. Waking up two hours
later, you finish off the opened bag
of chips. Ten minutes later, you walk
into the dining hall with a friend and
make a beeline for the pizza station.
Before you have time to catch your
breath, your tray is overflowing with
a mix of every food group imagin-
able. You're finally full but the smell
of chocolate-chip cookies coming out
of the oven lures you to the extensive
dessert station, so you take a handful
of treats and head back to your room
to shower before a night out. Five
shots, two beers, a box of cheesy bread
and a few Insomnia cookies later, you
finally pass out in bed. College eating
at its finest.
Wolverines, like most college stu-
dents, can't escape the plethora of
junk food readily available on cam-
pus. But that gooey Insomnia cookie
or savory box of cheesy bread might
not only add inches to students'
waistlines, but may also shorten their
life expectancies as well - sink your
teeth into that.
A recent article in Time magazine
suggests .that cutting back on calo-
ries could slow the aging process and
extend the human life span, a not so

desirable finding for food-crazed col-
lege students (Eat Less, Live Longer?,
02/11/2010). I know many college-
aged students are blessed with metab-
olisms that can handle calorie-packed
foods, but they should still be aware
of the risks associated with high-cal-
orie diets, and maybe reconsider their
next late-night trip to NYPD or call to
Pizza House.
Though the Comprehensive Assess-
ment ofLong-TermEffectsofreducing
Intake of Energy (CALERIE) study
(on which the Time article is based)
at Tufts University is still ongoing,
results are likely to find that calorie
restriction will indeed add years to
people's lives. But unfortunately, as
college students, we're almost expect-
ed to eat poorly - we're on tight bud-
gets, are inclined to drink and pizza
is supposedly our favorite food. True,
true and true. Not to mention that eat-
ing is a prime form of socializing, and
study snacks are a near necessity for
academic achievement.
But it's never too soon to start eat-
ing right, and the emerging evidence
about longevity associated with
reduced calorie intake, combined with
the many already proven health bene-
fits that go hand-in-hand with healthy
eating, cannot be ignored. So what's a
Wolverine to do?
Think. We've got some smart cook-
ies (no pun intended) here at the Uni-
versity, so we might as well use our
smarts to know when to avoid high
calorie snacks. I do realize that it may
be impossible for college students to
restrict our calorie intake to the extent
the study suggests (by approximately
25 percent), but we can begin to think
more about our food choices, as they
will inevitably affect our futures. Stu-
dents should begin by paying atten-
tion to the pieces of paper indicating
the calorie content of food in the din-
ing halls (yes, they say more than the

name of the food), avoiding ordering
late-night and opting for healthier
choices at least <em>some</em> of
the time. Keeping granola bars, fresh
fruit and other healthier snacks in the
room certainly wouldn't hurt either.
And cutting back will not only save
calories, but it will help save cash, too.
Cutting calories
could extend your
life expectancy.
I'll admit, when I first read the
Time article, I thought it was a bit
out there. We've all been warned of
,(or possibly experienced) the "fresh-
man 15" and are informed about the
obesity epidemic in the U.S. But as I
continued to read the Time article,
I was impressed with the amount of
concrete evidence supporting the
articles' premise and even put down
the bag of chips I had (ironically)
been munching on. And while my life
expectancy is not a major concern of
mine, or most other college students,
(making it through midterms alive
currently takes the cake), it's certain-
ly something to add to the list.
Therefore, in a never-ending battle
to reduce the stress in my life, I've
decided that by simply taking baby
steps (and baby bites), I can (and
should) save money and calories and
add years to my life - and so can we
all. So Wolverines, think before you
eat, and I'll be seeing you all at our
100-year reunion (sans hors d'oeuvres
of course).
- Leah Potkin can be reached
at lpotkin@umich.edu.


Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words and must include the writer's full name
and University affiliation. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
Big government, big debt

Nina Amilineni, Jordan Birnholtz, William Butler, Nicholas Clift, Michelle DeWitt,
Brian Flaherty, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee, Emily Orley, Harsha Panduranga,
Alex Schiff, Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Robert Soave, Radhika Upadhyaya, Laura Veith
Dingell has a distinguished Term limits would hinder
career as US. House rep. growth ofleaders in Congress

Chris Koslowski makes several false claims
surrounding term limits, Michigan politics and
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) in his column this
week (Political dynasties, m 02/23/2010). Such
claims perpetuate decades of misconceptions
surrounding American politics.
First, it is common knowledge that the Michi-
gan state government is severely broken. A bipar-
tisan consensus has arisen between legislators
and non-partisan commentators that the source
of Michigan's stagnant government is its strict
term limits.
Former Rep. Joe Schwartz (D-Mich.), a pro-
fessor of public policy at the University, routinely
states that the era of term limits in Michigan has
created a disconnected, non-functioning legisla-
ture that follows party loyalty and special inter-
ests more than the will of the voters. Term limits
would be similarly harmful on the national level.
Second, the claim that Dingellought to be oust-
ed because Congress is hugely unpopular is logi-
cally false. Dingell is overwhelmingly re-elected
every two years. If there were ever a hint of cor-
ruption, malaise or unfairness, voters could use
a very simple tool to limit Dingell: the ballot box.
Finally, it's reprehensible that the author
attempts to tarnish Dingell's service. Dingell
has been Michigan's most fierce advocate in
Congress and his work can be seen every day in
a cleaner environment, safer food and toys, and
high paying jobs. Dingell's years of hard work
have won him the respect and clout with his col-
leagues that a young representative would have
to work decades to even begin to rival.
The era of term limits has broken the Michi-
gan legislature. Our state is devoid of leaders
and our annual budgetary standoff is only
the most visible example of the cracks in our
democracy. We ought to support representa-
tives like Dingell who commit every day of
their lives to creating good public policy for
their district and our nation.
Nathaniel Eli Coats Styer
LSA senior

In Chris Koslowski's last column, he claims
that we would be better off as a nation if our
representatives in Washington were lim-
ited to two or three terms (Political dynasties,
02/23/2010). As someone who spends at the
least a significant portion of his year in Michi-
gan, I would expect Koslowski to know how
badly term limits have hurt this state.
First, limits would prevent anyone from
becoming an experienced leader in govern-
ment. This would be done by limiting the
practice they can get in their position while
navigating the complicated task of governing
on the federal level. Furthermore, by institut-
ing term limits you take away the ability of leg-
islators to see projects through to completion.
Along with that, you remove the threat of con-
sequences for their blunders that aren't imme-
diately exposed.
If representatives are limited to only two
terms, then what is their incentive to do any-
thing or even abide by ethics rules once they
are a lame duck? If you take away the threat.
of long-term political repercussions - such as
loss of a future election - then mischief ensues.
In Michigan, we have seen such choices take
place in the form of using tobacco settlement
money to plug budget deficits, endorsing envi-
ronmentally hazardous industrial mining per-
mits and failing to balance budgets or plan for
the long-term welfare of the state. Representa-
tives with no future to worry about have little
to lose politically and thus fail to work in the
best interest of their constituents.
I am not saying that representatives like
John Dingell (D-Mich.) should have free reign
to serve in the House until they drop dead on
the floor, but I do think it is the responsibil-
ity of the voters to elect the best candidate
for their district and if a dynasty candidate
becomes entrenched and loses focus then it is
up to the voters to elect someone else.
Tim McMacken
LSA junior

Matthew Green's recent column conveniently overlooks
the enormous costs of federal spending policies and ignores
the long-term strength of growing the economy from the
bottom-up (Get real about economy, 02/21/2010). To get seri-
ous about fixing the economy, entitlement programs need to
be drastically reformed and a climate for dynamic economic
growth needs to be re-established in the United States.
There is no question that the national debt must be elimi-
nated, but we need to know what the root causes really are.
While Green blames the Bush tax cuts and the War on Ter-
ror for part of the $12.4 trillion of national debt, he doesn't
mention the exploding unfunded obligations to Social
Security and Medicare, which accrue an incredible $65
trillion to total U.S. liabilities, according to a recent report
released by the U.S. Treasury. The scope of the problem is
much worse than Green admits, and his proposed solutions
do not have the muscle to overcome it.
Raising taxes won't dig us out. Starting today, the gov-
ernment could force a 100-percent tax rate on every good
and service made in the United States for four and a half
years (assuming 2009 GDP), and still not have enough rev-
enue to wipe out the debt. And any substantial increase in
personal income, corporate, capital gains, sales or inheri-
tance tax rates inevitably leads to lower revenue over time,
as greater costs discourage economic activity. This the-
ory was popularized by Nobel Prize-winning economist
Arthur Laffer. Large corporations and wealthy individuals,
who are always targeted for the next tax increase, are also
the groups most capable of relocating to countries where
friendlier tax rates exist. That throws the ultimate tax bur-
den on middle and lower-class citizens.
More government spending prolongs the pain. When
the government spends $787 billion (as it did in last year's
stimulus bill), it taxes citizens, crowds tight credit markets
or simply prints money, inevitably leading to substantial
inflation. Sure, jobs may be created in the short term, but
these jobs by definition cannot exist without continued
government spending, which has spiraled out of control.
No net value is created - money is simply transferred from
one side of the economy to the other. Keeping that money
in the private sector, however, allows investors to fuel the
best opportunities in our economy. With more money avail-
able for lending and personal investment, the stage is set
for wider and more stable growth in the future. This also

translates into greater long-term employment. Using the
situation of a college freshman as an analogy, if a student's
family can keep more of its own money to begin with, it
doesn't need to take on as much or any debt to send their
kid to school.
The only way to conquer the debt is by making govern-
ment smaller. Its current size is simply unsustainable,
and the bills are coming due soon. Entitlements must be
changed. Creating personal savings account options for
Social Security and health care allows citizens to control
their own money. Think about Michigan's former Promise
scholarships - if students had the chance to take a lump
sum after college and put itin a savings account, theywould
certainly have a lot more money than the cancelled checks
they ended up with. As more and more citizens live off their
own accounts, the demands on federal programs would
ease in the coming decades. Streamlined departments
and budgets will also improve the government's long-term
structure, butthey are not the complete solution.
Massive government revenue growth is needed, but not
from repressively higher tax rates. As President (and Dem-
ocrat) John F. Kennedy claimed, a lower tax burden spurs
overall economic activity and federal revenues, stating, "a
rising tide lifts all boats." After lowering the top marginal
income tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent, the Reagan
administration oversaw annualized nominal GDP growth
of 9.4 percent despite two recessions. With lower spending
to match, cutting or eliminating taxes for all paying citi-
zens would unearth monumental productivity. Americans
would be free to spend more of their money as they see fit,
generating a multiplying economic effect without the long-
term debt created by deficit spending.
Our national debt is the result of decades of structur-
ally unsound government. The answer is not another $1
billion stimulus or another entitlement program. We can't
spend like a reckless college student, accumulating debt
we cannot manage or repay. The course of government
must fundamentally change, or it will collapse under
the weight of its own excess. It is not our civic duty to
mindlessly pay higher taxes: It's our government's duty to
manage itself responsibly.
Alexander Franz and Anthony Cerrato
are Business juniors.


The Daily is looking for diverse, passionate, strong student writers to join
the Editorial Board. Editorial Board members are responsible for discussing and
writing the editorials that appear on the left side of the opinion page.



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