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March 10, 2010 - Image 4

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4A - Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

E 1Mid14tan 4ail
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

JACOB SMILOVITZ
EDITOR IN CHIEF

RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

MATT AARONSON
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 their authors.
Love is a legal battlefield
State must allow same-sex marriages
The debate over same-sex marriage has raged across the
nation in the past few years. But though the dispute is
often focused on vital civil rights arguments, the legal
aspects that necessitate legalizing same-sex marriage aren't often
mentioned. But the case of Tammy David and Renee Harmon of
Detroit, who are currently engaged in a custody battle over their
three children after they ended their relationship, is a prime
example of why legalizing same-sex marriage is necessary. Ban-
ning same-sex marriage has limited the legal structures. Same-
sex marriages should be legalized to afford same-sex couples with
equal civil and legal rights.

Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he
couldn't breathe and then four guys jumped on
top of me. It was my 50th birthday. It was 'kill the
old guy.' You can take anything out of context."
- New York U.S. House Rep. Eric Massas, commenting on allegations that he sexually
assaulted a male staff member, as reported by FoxNews.com yesterday.
Stimulating senselessness

According to a Mar. 8 Detroit Free Press
article, Detroit residents Harmon and
Davis ended their 19-year long partnership
in 2008. Harmon brought a suit against
Davis in the Wayne County Court in Feb-
ruary in an effort to gain joint custody of
the couple's three children. Michigan law
doesn't recognize domestic partnership in
custody proceedings, and because Davis is
the biological mother of all three children,
Harmon has no custodial claims to them.
She must first prove that she has legal
standing to sue.
One of the causes of Harmon's legal bat-
tle is a 2004 Michigan ballot initiative that
defined marriage in the state constitution
as between a man and a woman, effectively
barring all same sex couples from attaining
the same legal and civil benefits heterosex-
ual couples acquire through a legal mar-
riage. Michigan is also one of only six states
that doesn't allow unwed couples - same-
sex or heterosexual - to adopt together.
Preventing same-sex couples from legally
marrying is in itself a gross violation of basic
civil rights. When states ban same-sex mar-
riage, they deny LGBT citizens the equal
rights that they deserve. There is no excuse
for this discrimination. States should legal-
ize same-sex marriage to give all citizens
the rights to which they are entitled.
But banning same-sex marriage has also
prohibited LGBT individuals from shar-

ing in equitable legal and financial ben-
efits. Legally married partners are allowed
certain financial, legal and civil rights not
offered to non-legal marriages. Married
couples are eligible for tax benefits and
greater access to state financial support, as
well as certain insurance benefits. Same-sex
marriage bans have systematically disen-
franchised same-sex couples by excluding
them from these benefits.
Same-sex couples face legal challenges
even though they aren't considered legally
married, and the lack of legislation has
left them without the legal structures they
need. For example, there is currently no
legal structure for both same-sex couples to
maintain equal legal rightsto their children,
though both parents have an investment
and role in the children's lives. Harmon and
Davis's case is only one scenario - custody
questions could also arise should one par-
ent be incapacitated. It is this lack of legal
framework that continues to deny same-sex
couples equal rights and the legal protec-
tions that they need.
Regardless of whether the state recog-
nizes same-sex partnerships as marriages,
these couples face the same challenges as
legally married heterosexual couples. The
state should legalize same-sex marriage to
create legal framework to allow same-sex
couples to deal with legal concerns that all
couples encounter.

little over a year ago, Presi-
dent Barack Obama signed
a $787 billion stimulus bill
intended to create
jobs. In the admin-
istration's view,
the plan is work-
ing like a charm.
Through the end
of October 2009,
the White House
"created or saved"
640,000 jobs since
the stimulus' ALEX
inception, accord- BILES
ing to a Dec. 1 CNN
report. Of course,
this is ignoring the
nearly 4 million jobs lost during that
span, based on a Dec. 3 USA Today
article - a factor of six.
The notion of government creat-
ing or saving jobs is comical enough.
After all, measuring the amount of
jobs "saved" is tantamount to mea-
suring the number of crimes prevent-
ed by the police. In other words, it's
an unverifiable quantity that serves
no purpose besides providing politi-
cal rhetoric.
The Obama administration and
Congress insist on promoting the
myth that government can spend its
way out of the current recession in
spite of elementary logic and histori-
cal examples. Public spending can't
magically revive the economy. And
contrary to the government's asser-
tions, public spending can't create
jobs because it can't create wealth.
The government can only inject
money into the economy if it takes it
from other sources - debt, printing
money or taxation. When govern-
ment drives itself into debt, it leaves
less financial capital for the private
sector to borrow and invest. Taxes
only shift resources from consumers
and producers to the government,
also displacing private investment.
Printing money creates inflation,
devaluing the currency and hurting
the purchasing power of all consum-

ers, especially the poor - the group
that money injected into the economy
reaches last.
The farce that government can
create jobs is grounded in Keynesian
theory, which contends that the end
resultofpublic spending is a multipli-
er effect. This seemingly miraculous
theory postulates that every dollar
the government spends will generate
more than one dollar of new income.
Yet, there is minimal empirical
data - let alone real-world evidence
- to support this delusion. The most
extensive study of the multiplier
was performed in 1991 by Harvard
economist Robert Barro, who found
that each dollar of public spending
produced a mere 80 cent return - in
other words, a loss. in a November
2009 piece for Reason magazine,
economist Veronique de Rugy con-
cludes from Barro's work that "high
government spending actually hurts
economies in the long run by crowd-
ing out private spending and shifting
resources to the uses preferred by
politicians" - namely special inter-
ests and pork barrel projects.
Beyond that, Keynesian theory
holds some pretty bold assump-
tions. There's an inherent belief that
throwing money at the problem will
eventually make it go away. But gov-
ernment spending doesn't address
the cause of the crisis, specifically
loose monetary policy at the hands of
the Federal Reserve. Instead, govern-
ment spending dwells on the symp-
tom that only puts off our proverbial
economic day of reckoning. It's akin
to treating Ebola with an overdose of
Advil to get rid of fever and muscle
pain.
And it's presumed that govern-
ment allocates resources better than
the market during economic slumps.
According to Keynesians, any
decrease in demand and spending
triggers a wave of declining invest-
ment that can lead to a recession.
Their antidote for the economy is
boosting aggregate demand via gov-

Government
spending won't
save the economy.
Plus Keynesian theories predicate
that the government's superpowers
to allocate resources better than the
market only apply during a recession.
When the economy is healthy, these
superpowers magically disappear.
Otherwise, if they didn't go away,
we should have a centrally-planned
economy fueled solely by government
spending all the time. And if they
do go away, I want to know why the
government possesses clairvoyance
during recessions but loses it during
economic expansion.
The fundamental flaw of the 0
stimulus is the idea that government
spending can somehow increase
standard of living or income. All the
government can do is engage in redis-
tribution of money that it takes from
other sources - debt, inflation and
taxation. Crowding out real jobs in
the private sector by entrusting poli-
ticians that are as fallible as any indi-
vidual is not conducive to economic
recovery. I'm as keen as anybody
else to rise out from this recession.
Reconsidering the government's'bad
economic thinking is a logical place
to start.
- Alex Biles can be reached
atjabiles@umich.edu.

ernment spending. obviously there's
a decreased level of investment, but
that's a result of increased risk - not
a lack of desire to consume. For some
reason, they believe that politicians
remain immune to the recession's
effects and can see long-term eco-
nomic effects more clearly than the
private sector.

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EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
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

Education shouldn't be a crapshoot

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

Government spending has
worsened national deficit
TO THE DAILY:

Perhaps cong
mind rather t
pretending to
had the same
the private sE
jobs at a lowe
I'd agree t

In Matthew Green's latest column, he men- must conside
tions that any challengers should write a three year di1
response to his arguement (Get real about the top 5 percent
economy, 02/23/2010). This is mine. percent of all
The deficit obviously did rise substantially in office (Th
under President George W. Bush. But Bush percent of ta:
was correct in so much as tax revenues rose paid approxi
substantially while he was president - poten- the Internal I
tially because reduced tax rates led to higher to rise, butth
growth (Laffer curve mentality). The deficit even the low,
rose substantially, but mainly on account of percent pays,
war spending (whether or not this was war- needs to be c
ranted is arguable) and reckless increases in into considera
federal spending - mainly under a Republican which are im
Congress. Point: Bush tax cuts did not in and of fore more oft:
themselves lead to higher deficits - poor gov- Far more is
ernment spending choices did. ever, is cuttin
President Barack Obama's $787 billion stim- ing. Considert
ulus package "saved" or created 2.4 million more in tax re
jobs. This is the first time we've ever counted history of th
"saved" jobs - a difficult metric to quantify spends these
and certainly a purely political play. Addition- almost every
ally, $787 billion divided by 2.4 million equals the aisle dem
$327,916 per job. And that's with the bloated conservative
jobs figures (The Associated Press released a lavish with ot
report in October showing that the jobs created Conclusion:
number was inflated.) Considering that most of
these jobs are not high-paying, $328,000 per Adam Zingg
job is a horrendous waste of taxpayer money. Rackham

ressmen had their own jobs in
han those of the nation they were
help. A tax holiday would have
stimulus impact, but in that case
ector surely would have created
r cost than $328,000 per job.
hat taxes need to go up. But you
r the following: After about a
p following the Bush tax cuts, the
of income earners paid about 60
federal taxes during Bush's time
e top 1 percent paid almost 40
xes while the bottom 50 percent
mately 5 percent, according to
Revenue Service). Taxes do need
ey need to rise on the middle and
er class. As it stands, the top 10
around 70 percent of taxes. This
hanged. And this does not take
ation corporate taxes or inflation,
plicit taxes on capital and there-
en taxes on the rich.
mportantthan tax increases, how-
g off runaway government spend-
that the U.S. government receives
venue than any institution in the
e world, and yet Congress out-
massive revenues by a huge sum
year. Politicians on both sides of
onstrate that people - be they
or liberal - are typically quite
her people's money.
smaller government = better life.

magine if you were told that
you were in a lottery and would
receive food and water only if
you won. This sce-
nario is similar to
what is happen-
ing in many public
schools. Parents A
must place their
child's name into
a lottery to secure
a spot in their
area's best public
or charter school. BRITTANY
Receiving the best SMITH
possible educa-
tion should not be
a luxury only for
those who make the pick of the draw,
and policy makers shouldn't be will-
ing to accept this situation.
There is a real, ongoing and ever-
growing achievement gap between
students of color in underprivileged
areas and privileged white students.
For example, 17 of Detroit's 22 high
schools - which primarily have
African-American students - are
low-performing high schools com-
pared to schools in other parts of
the state, according to an Associated
Press report from July 2009. On the
other hand, the primarily white and
affluent Grosse Pointe Public School
System is considered to be among the
nation's best public districts.
Nonprofit organizations like
Breakthrough Collaborative, Prep
for Prep, The Jackie Robinson Foun-
dation, The Algebra Project and The
Young People's Project are dedicated
to bridging this achievement gap.
There is a considerable amount of
scholarly research and media atten-
tion being brought to this American
social defect. And even with such
efforts, the public school education
system has reached a state of inequal-
ity and dysfunction that is treated by
many as beyond repair.
The problems facing many public
schools include overcrowded class-
rooms, insufficient numbers of text-
books, a lack of parental involvement

and deficiencies in the availability of
resources like tutoring services and
academic preparation for college. In
many instances, students in under-
privileged schools experience poor
education starting in elementary
and middle schools, making it more
difficult for them to succeed in high
school and college.
While the challenges that face
youth in underserved communities
are many and significant, there is a
great deal of opportunity for growth
and improvement. There has been
plenty of dialogue about the prob-
lems that inner-city educational sys-
tems face. What is lacking is genuine
change through action.
The. disparities occurring in the
publicschool education system areper-
haps the biggest disgrace to this coun-
try. This issue should receive much
higher priority from policy makers and
deserves as much priority as has been
given to the economic crisis. In many
cases, public opinion is crafted by the
media, and to a large extent, it is the
media that decides what should be a
priority on the political agenda. As a
student who was educated inthe public
school system and a worker whose tax
dollars fund public education, I want
the rehabilitation of public schools
to be given as much attention in the
media and on the legislative agenda as
the health care bill. And I can't help but
notice that ithasn't.
Public schools in America are expe-
riencing one of the same problems
that is hurting health care and affect-
ing the American economy: a lack of
oversight and intervention. Not long
ago, I heard Bob Moses, founder of
The Algebra Project, name the state
of public school education as the
"most blatant display of Jim Crow"
practices still in establishment. It's
unacceptable that this country and
policy makers in Washington D.C. are
allowing unequal education to exist.
It's unacceptable that the quality of
education that many students receive
is being decided by a lottery pick.
Statistical data often documents that

a student's access tof opportunities
is determined by the caliber of the
school that the child attends. Davis
Guggenheim - who directed the
Oscar-winning 2006 global warm-
ing documentary "An Inconvenient
Truth" and is returning this year
with "Waiting For Superman," a doc-
umentary that tackles hidden truths
about public school education - has
correctly pointed out that "medioc-
rity and dysfunction" are dominating
public education. The issue desper-
ately needs attention and action.
We must fix the
acheivement gap in
public schools.*
This is an issue that should be
dealt with in public debate. But while
health care and the financial crisis
have received plenty of legislative
response, the equally important issue.
of disparities in public education con-
tinues to be largely unaddressed by
the U.S. Congress.
We might like to live in a country
where the American dream is acces-
sible to anyone who can pull himself
or herself by the bootstraps. But this
ideal is at odds with a public education
system that creates and perpetuates
unequal access to the opportunities,
education and skills necessary for suc-
cess. The lottery of educational oppor-
tunity is unfair and has high stakes,
and many students of color within a
failing public school systems continue
to have the odds stacked against them.
Policy-makers at thefederal level need
to direct their attention to this prob-
lem and take concrete steps to bridge
the achievement gap present through-
out this country.
- Brittany Smith can be reached
at smitbrit@umich.edu.

ELAINE M O R T O N IE-MAIL BLAINE ATBM55RT@(UMICHti)U
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