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September 13, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-13

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4 - Tuesday, September 13, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

fJe Jtidhiian ,IaUlp
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109






Our generation, our America

I I'm

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.
Low-cost living
City should encourage affordable housing
Forget the high prices of Zaragon Place and 4 Eleven Lofts. A
developer has figured out a way to build a multi-story, afford-
able housing complex near downtown Ann Arbor. Avalon
Housing, a non-profit organization, partnered with developer Three
Oaks a few years ago, and the project is finally about to break ground.
This development will be an asset to the community, and developers
should try to create other affordable housing options near campus
and in the Ann Arbor area.

his past weekend the 10th
anniversary of the 9/11 ter-
rorist attacks came and

went. The his-
toric juncture in
time was accom-
panied by a
flurry of solemn
reflections in the
media, whose
authors shared
their memories
of that tragic
day, many now
wondering with


The Near North Apartments Planned Unit
Development was approved by the Ann Arbor
City Council in Sept. 2009 and will create
affordable, environmentally friendly housing
for households earning less than 50 percent
of the area's median income. There will be 39
residential units - 24 apartments allocated
to low-income households and 15 supportive
apartments with rent subsidies. Near North
will also offer 2,714 square feet of retail space
and 1,553 square feet of office space.
In a city notorious for over-priced housing,
projects like Near North are a change for the
better. More availability of affordable hous-
ing will benefit students and low-income Ann
Arbor residents. Especially in this economy,
people need affordable housing more than
The greatest benefit from the development
is that Near North will be located within a
quarter-mile radius of the downtown district
- an economicallythriving area, as opposed to
many affordable housing projects that are built
in areas with strained economies. As a result,
many tenants will have easy access to employ-
ment and shopping in the downtown area.
The environmentally friendly project has
been given financial incentives to keep the
housing as green as possible. The U.S Depart-
ment of Housing and Urban Development
awarded Near North a grant that requires the
units to be certified as Energy Star-qualified
housing and achieve LEED certification. In

addition, the Ann Arbor Downtown Devel-
opment Authority has committed an extra
$50,000 if the project receives silver LEED cer-
tification and $100,000 if the project receives
gold LEED certification.
While most low-income housing projects
are constructed in the cheapest way possible,
Near North - with the help of the U.S. govern-
ment - is being socially responsible by encour-
aging the creation of environmentally friendly
housing. It is commendable that developers are
seeking to create an affordable housing com-
plex that will also be energy efficient, which
will ultimately cut down on expenses for its
Local union representatives are pushing the
DDA to come to an agreement with the devel-
opment team to employ local workers for the
project. Though DDA officials are not sure if
they could dictate such terms, it would be bene-
ficial to hire local union labor and stimulate the
Ann Arbor job market. Union representatives
made it clear that their contractors are lack-
ing jobs, and a project like this could provide a
much-needed boost.
Near North will benefit many people
throughout the Ann Arbor community and is
an important development for students and
residents who are facing financial struggles.
Federal funds should continue to support simi-
lar projects and help low-income Americans
find safe, affordable housing in thriving com-

anguish where
this country of ours is headed and
where its 20th century prestige has
One article in particular caught
my attention: Roy Scranton's Sept. 7
piece in The New York Times, "The
Only America They've Ever Known."
A veteran of the war in Iraq, Scran-
ton writes passionately of the post-
9/11 legacy that's been left to our
generation of young adults - a legacy
of recession and debt, of corporate
profiteers and political opportun-
ists, of disillusionment with our poli-
tics and indifference to our bloody
wars. Far from bringing us together,
our leaders' decisions following 9/11
have - perhaps irreparably - dam-
aged our national resilience and soli-
darity, not to mention our reputation
abroad. This America, says Scranton,
is the only one young people have
ever lived to know.
He's right. On Sept. 11,2001,1 was
going on just 11years old: Many of
my peers at the University were of
roughly the same age, if not younger,
the day the towers collapsed. Being
so young, memories are hazy. I was
conscious of an outside world, but
only in the most superficial sense of
the word, as if the earth were one-
My memories likely resemble
those of any child who, like me,
wasn't directly affected by the trag-
edy. I remember images of chaos and

of actual destruction and human suf-
fering. I was aware that terrorists
from some far-offplace were atfault,
but I was ignorant of the histori-
cal circumstances that precipitated
the attacks. I was frightened, but I
didn't understand that this was only
the beginning of an era in which fear
would reign supreme.
I was witness to the atrocities of
9/11, but I wasn't truly a participant
in our national grief. Only years
later, after revisiting the events of
that day, would I join the ranks of
those older generations who felt,
firsthand and without warning, the
pain of such evils.
But here's the problem for our
generation. Though we were alive to
see the tragedy of Sept. 11, very few
of us have concrete memories from
the pre-9/11 era. Having occurred
at the outset of our most formative
years, the tragedy of that day has
become for most young people a
"given," an "inevitable," an "abso-
lute" from which all subsequent
events originate and against which
all our progress is measured. For
seniors, 9/11 was an unforeseen
and horrific jolt to the status quo.
But for us, the young adults who
came of age in its aftermath, 9/11
set parameters for our emerging
consciousness of politics, diversity
and the world beyond our borders.
Perpetual and unwinnable war
abroad seems alarmingly inevita-
ble to young people today precisely
because we've known nothirig else.
We haven't known enough peace
to know what being at war really
means. Our America is not the
America of our mothers and fathers.
Our America is a nation forever on
edge, at war, in limbo.
Now, 10 years later, it seems that
only those old enough to know and
remember what it meant to live
through that day are in a place to
reflect on 9/11 and the changes the
U.S. has since undergone. But is there

anything of substance for us young
adults - then just children for whom
the specter of 9/11 has been the con-
stant backdrop of our youth - to
reflect upon as well?
My answer is a resounding yes.
No matter how cloudy our mem-
ories, we are the youngest genera-
tion to live through and remember
Sept. 11. In the distant future, we
will be the last living generation to
say that we were there. As today's
youth and tomorrow's leaders,
we've been given a choice: We may
remain apathetic, presuming that
the post-9/11 status quo that we've
inherited is the given, inevitable
route, that our nation must take, or
we may recognize that this legacy
is an impermanent and curable
feature of the previous decade, not
necessarily indicative of our gen-
eration's future.

Post-9/11 U.S.
should forge a
new legacy.


I propose we pursue the latter.
Anything less would be one step
backward for our democracy and,
much worse, an insult to the thou-
sands of innocent people we lost on
Sept.11.9/11put our nation at across-
road, andthe path our leaders chose
- unilateral and costly warfare over
multilateral cooperation - is the
only one we've ever known. Let's not
assume all this was inevitable. Let's
call into question the presumptions
we've entertained since childhood. 4
Let's forge a new legacy - one that
deviates from the trend of the past
decade and one that truly honors the
victims of that horrific day.
-Daniel Chardell can be
reached at chardell@umich.edu.

Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Patrick Maillet,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Teddy Papes,
Timothy Rabb, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
On the brink of bankruptcy

Moderate understanding

This summer, I interned at a financial plan-
ning firm where I assisted the company in
writing its second personal finance book. Part
of my job was to research and write about large
news stories concerning the financial world. As
everyone probably knows, many of the head-
lines this summer were about the nation's debt
ceiling crisis.
The debt ceiling is the limit on how much
money the United States government can bor-
row, and the U.S. has always been a debtor
country. On May 16, 2011 the debt ceiling
reached its limit at $14.3 trillion. Analysts
predicted that government payouts would be
able to continue until Aug. 2, 2011, but after
that time, the U.S. Treasury wouldn't be able
to fulfill obligations unless the ceiling was
raised or another solution was put into place.
This outraged many people who depended on
assistance like Social Security and expected to
get back what they had contributed while they
were working. Raising the debt ceiling would
allow the government to borrow more money;
ifit wasn'traised, lawmakers would have to cut
spending to fund their obligations.
Programs like Social Security and Medicare
might not have received their payments if the
ceiling had not been raised. If the government
had defaulted on their payments, it would have
had to pick and choose what programs were
most important and needed the payouts.
There were a number of proposed plans
and solutions for the crisis. The Republicans
wouldn't raise the debt ceiling unless there
was a large deficit reduction via drastic spend-
ingcuts without atax increase. The Democrats
wanted to raise the debt ceiling immediately to
fix the short-term problem, and then employ
spending cuts and revenue increases to solve
the long-term problem. Personally, I would not
want to pay more taxes to fix a problem the gov-
ernment created, as I'm sure no one else would.
I agreed with the Democrats' plan to raise the
ceiling immediately to fix the problem at hand,
but I also agreed with the Republican view of
cuttingunnecessary spending.

The government had to figure out a solution
by Aug. 2, and it did. According to an Aug. 6
article published in The Economist, there will
be $917 billion in spending cuts over the next
decade, coupled with an increase of $900 bil-
lion in the debt ceiling. Following these steps,
a congressional committee of Democrats and
Republicans are to find $1.5 trillion in deficit
reductions in return for a matched debt ceiling
raise. After the deal was reached on July 31, it
seemed that the government would be ok for
the time being.
However, shortly following the resolve, the
U.S. credit rating was lowered for the first time
in 70 years. The U.S. has always held a AAA
rating from Standard & Poor's rating system.
But following the debt crisis, the rating was
lowered to an AA+, one notch below AAA. The
previous triple-A rating made Treasury bonds
the safest investment in the world. While these
bonds are still considered to be the safest, it
shows that people are starting to notice the
flaws in our government.
After the recent financial crisis, Americans
are now more concerned with their invest-
ments, as they should be. And our government
is an investment. I agree with the S&P's lower-
ing of the U.S. credit rating. The debt ceiling
crisis shows the many cracks in our govern-
ment. Ifa catastrophe like the debt ceiling cri-
sis occurred in a private company that could
no longer pay back its debts, its credit rating
would plummet. It should be no different for
our government.
It seems like our government is more of
a business every day, so it should be treated
accordingly. While I still believe that invest-
ments like treasury bonds are almost com-
pletely safe, it's nice to see that some people are
noticing the issues with our government sys-
tem. Even though it would be highly unlikely
for our governmentto go bankrupt like we saw
this summer in Greece, it's not impossible.
Ashley Griesshammer is a
senior editorial page editor.

When Washington D.C.
interns meet for the
first time, one of the
first things they
learn is every-
one's political
ideology. Many
of the interns I
met this sum-
mer considered 3
themselves to be - ar
political moder- JEREMY
ates, which is LEVY
certainly under-
standable. But I
was surprised when a group of my
new friends had a quasi-celebration
about being middle-of-the-road.
The conversation went something
like this:
"You're a moderate too?"
"Hell yeah, moderates unite."
"Let's high-five."
I found this exchange odd since,
based on what I already knew
about some of the kids, I suspected
their political ideologies were more
distinct than they thought. And
after spending much of the sum-
mer with them, I'd say I was right.
One of them was a sociology major
researching sex trafficking and
human rights issues in third world
countries. Another was a slightly
religious social conservative. One
endorsed Keynesian economics but
berated the Democratic Party con-
stantly. The last worked for Repub-
lican House Speaker John Boehner,
who's really only a moderate when
you compare him with the Tea Party.
This story intrigues me because
throughout much of college, I've also
had a tendency to refer to myself asa
moderate. But as the anecdote above
shows, the label doesn't necessar-

ily do justice to the beliefs of those
bearing it. If my friends and I had
mapped out how each of us felt on a
range of issues, I'd be willing to bet
that our opinions would have been
very diverse.
So where does this tendency
toward self-declared moderation
come from? Individuals may be
weary of associating themselves
with one political party, especially
when they think the members of that
party are acting like idiots. For that
matter, some may want to distance
themselves from the numerous
prominent images of "typical liber-
als" or "typical conservatives." The
truth is that there are lots of mixed
messages in the public sphere about
what it means to be liberal, conser-
vative, or anything in between, and
those messages can be difficult for
any college student to grapple with.
Over the past three years, many
things have led me to the conclusion
that I was only moderately liberal. I
didn't care to protest when the Uni-
versity announced that Republican
Gov. Rick Snyder would be the grad-
uation speaker. I think it's mostly
futile to avoid making purchases
from Walmart, BP or other corpora-
tions that have been denounced as
immoral (unless the boycott is really
organized - which it's not). And
during the health care debate two
summers ago, I was regularly aggra-
vated with Democrats who were
completely unsympathetic to argu-
ments about cost control.
I could go on elaborating on the
above opinion or listing others like it,
but the common thread to all of them
is that they are all poorly executed
attempts to implement liberal ideals.
It took me a long time to realize that

these opinions do not make me mod-
erate. Many of my peers might tell
you that I'm actually a raging liberal.
In my view, our country's drug
policy and its effect on the size of
the prison population and minority
communities are absolutely absurd.
The question about taxes for the
country's wealthiest is a no brainer,
and I'm fairly certain that beyond
that, there are many other house-
holds (including my own) that can
afford higher taxes. And I'll guess no
matter which party holds the presi-
dency or Congress in the future, I'll
probably never think they are doing
enough to help the country's poorest.
Political labels
don't convey one's
entire opinion.
For me, college has been a good
opportunity to work through ques-
tions of political identity. In certain
instances, terms such as liberal,
conservative or moderate only serve
as pigeonholes. In others, you have
to suck it up and pick a side, even if
you think the side you choose is full
of idiots. I expect to continue devel-
oping insights about my identity as I
finish college, and I hope other stu-
dents find they have a similar expe-
rience, because in many instances,
regular labels do not convey the full
complexity of one's opinion.
- Jeremy Levy can be reached
at jeremlev@umich.edu.


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