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October 31, 2011 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-31

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4A - Monday, October 31, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
- 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
Tapping the issue
New keg law will not reduce underage drinking
Starting tomorrow, students may think twice before purchasing
a keg. Michigan passed a stricter law regarding the purchase of
kegs, which requires the buyer to provide identification infor-
mation that will be recorded and tagged on the keg. While the new
law is meant to address the problem of underage drinking, it fails to
get to the bottom of the issue and has the potential to unfairly penal-
ize keg purchasers.

- th Everyday spirituality: Chris Anderson explores how
Semotion 'guilt' affects our lives and how to deal with it.
od m ulGo to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium

The troubled 53%

As of Nov.1, all individuals who buy a keg
will have to provide their driver's license,
address, phone number and date of birth to
the retailer. This information will then be
transferred to a kegtag. If the police break up
a party where underage drinking is occurring,
they can use the keg tagto find the person who
rented it and charge him or her with provid-
ing alcohol to minors - an offense punishable
by $1,000 in fines and a 60 day jail sentence. If
the tag is removed, the purchaser may be pun-
ished with up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The new law specifically targets college stu-
dents - minors and people over age 21. Kegs
are often bought for parties on college cam-
puses and, more often than not, party hosts
do not check identification before permitting
access to alcohol.
The logic behind the law is that the tag will
make students 21 or older hesitantto buya keg
for a party that minors may attend. But the law
does nothing to combat consumption of other
alcoholic beverages, like hard liquor, which
can be far more dangerous than beer when
consumed in large quantities.
With the new law in place, underage drink-
ing will in all likelihood continue to occur
on college campuses in Michigan. What will
change is the potential of usjust accusation

for of-age students who legally purchase a
keg. There are too many variables contribut-
ing to this possibility: There is no way to prove
if underage drinkers drank from the keg,
someone could easily remove the tag without
the purchaser's knowledge and police cannot
prove thatonly one individual paid for the keg.
The law has many flaws, which is worri-
some when severe punishments are involved.
Providing alcohol for minors is a serious
charge that could derail a student's future.
Michigan already has some of the strictest
underage drinking laws in the country, and
the addition of the keg tag law suggests legis-
lators are intent on making Michigan's young
people criminals more than actually prevent-
ing underage drinking.
Drinking on college campuses is not dan-
gerous because some students who choose to
do so are underage. It's dangerous because
of the nature and amount of alcoholic bever-
ages students consume. This law can make the
former problem worse - potentially causing
more consumption of hard liquor in place of
keg beer - and doesn't address the latter. The
real solution is education. The goal should be
to teach young people how to drink safely and
responsibly, and the keg registration law does

ne of the many patholo-
gies of political culture
in a country with only
two relevant political parties is
there's no such
thing as nov-
elty. When the
Occupy Wall
Street protest-
ers described
as agitators L
against the
misdeeds of NEILL
the 1 percent MOHAMMAD
of American
that own 35 percent of the coun-
try's wealth, conservative blogger
Erick Erickson didn't just wrack his
brain for a way to attack OWS - the
logic of American political debate
demanded that he do so with their
own language. And, voila, now
anyone who objects to OWS's self-
appointment as the guardians of
"99% of Americans" can now iden-
tify themselves with an even more
exclusive club: "the 53% of Ameri-
cans who pay income taxes." You,
too, can join The 53% by posting a
webcam image of yourself and your
manifesto at the53.tumblr.com.
One thing that The 53% have in
common is a palpable, visceral dis-
gust for the Occupy protests. They
don't just disapprove of Occupy
Wall Street; they cannot stand
them. An open-minded 53 percent-
er thinks, in so many words, that
the protesters ought get out of the
streets and start looking for a job; a
more typical 53 percenter believes
that the protesters are ungrateful,
spoiled brats who leech off the rest
of society and spend their deodor-
ant money on drugs.
Another thing The 53% have in
common is a very peculiar notion
of what "taking money from, the
government" actually means. Some
of them claim to be,"scraping by

on minimum wage," which is odd
because that would put them back
among The Hated 47% that don't
owe any income taxes. Some of them
have been on welfare in its purest
sense: Food stamps to keep dinner
on the table or supplemental Social
Security assistance when they
were unable to work because of ill-
ness or injury. Many more describe
themselves as alumni of public uni-
versities. Many of them have been
in labor unions. And almost all of
them, I'm sure, have taken money
from "the government." The only
catch is that they took their hand-
outs from those programs that The
53% happens to think are OK:. Tax
deductions for interest paid against
your mortgage and tax credits for
supporting children.
But the most striking thing that
The 53% share is hardship. Some
have lost their jobs and claim to
have been evicted from their hous-
es. One is a single mother whose
child has been diagnosed with
Asperger's syndrome but can't
afford the needed therapy. One
young woman's father is working
12-hour days doing manual labor
despite battling cancer. The list -
and the suffering - goes on and on,
even if the saddest stories are some-
times hard to pick out in between
all the misplaced, self-righteous
Speaking of which, yes, even if
you're a police officer or a firefight-
er or a soldier, you're still a "public
It's odd these people identify
with The 53% because so many of
their lives are made measurably
and objectively worse by the SAE
pairing of corporate money and
influence with government authori-
ty that OWS is protesting. If a loved
one is battling cancer, it should
bother you that insurers have so
many ways they could cancel a
policy forthe crime of being sick. If

you're struggling to make payments
on your home, it should bother you
that lenders regularly commitfraud
by threatening people with foreclo-
sure even when they don't have the
legal authority to do so. It should
bother you that the largest banks in
America are free to walk away from
bad debts as good business sense,
but the idea that ordinary, every-
day people might do the same with
their mortgages and student loans
is taken to be a sign of ignorance
and moral sickness.
The 53% and the OWS protesters
They're angry
anyone would
protest at all.
likely have quite a bit in common.
The protestors are angry at the pat-
tern mutual glad-handing between
the wealthiest business interests
in America and the federal gov-
ernment that resulted in the worst
economy since the. Great Depres-
sion. The 53% are living proof of
just how bad the economy actually
is, but The 53% don't just disagree
with the protesters' criticism.
They're also angry - viscerally
angry - that anyone would dare to
protest at all.
I don't understand that impulse.
Thinking about it makes me angry,
actually. Thankfully, some intrepid
soul started a rival site, at actual-
Not much about The 53% makes a
whole lot of sense, but at least they
can provide a good, unintentional
-Neill Mohammad can be
reached at neilla@umicheds.


Aida Ali, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer, Nirbhay Jain, Patrick Maillet,
Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley, Teddy Papes, Timothy Rabb,',
Vanessa Rychlinski, Caroline Sims, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner

Keep up with columnists, read Daily editorials, view cartoons and join in the debate.
Check out @michdailyoped
to get updates on Daily opinion content throughout the day.


Dueling Viewpoints
College Republicans and College Democrats weigh in on
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's visit to campus today.



Anyone who has been follow-
ing the news over the past few
months knows that a complete
gridlock has taken over Washing-
ton. At the root of this problem
is a radical wing of the Republi-
can Party that spurns compro-
mise and acts with one guiding
principle: Thwarting President
Barack Obama at every turn.
These Republicans brought our
country close to a global financial
meltdown with their brinksman-
ship on national default, sought
to block Obama's health care plan
without pushing any of their own
alternatives and refuse to allow
Congress to vote on Obama's jobs
bill - even though many of them
have supported its components in
the past. House Majority Leader
Eric Cantor (R-Va.) epitomizes
much of this political chicanery.
a lecture at the Michigan League.
Indeed, it is certainly an honor to
host a national political leader at
the University. More importantly,
though, the event should give stu-
dents insight into Cantor's radical
conservative ideology and will-
ingness to advance it at all costs.
In preparation for the event and
for the dialogue that will ensue on
campus, we offer five vignettes on
Cantor's time in Washington that
give insight into his vision, values
and priorities.
Our credit downgrade to AA+:
While Obama and some Republi-
can leaders sought a "grand bar-
gain" to reduce the deficit by $4
trillion and place our country on

a fiscally sustainable path, Can-
tor undermined the bipartisan
negotiations by refusing to com-
promise on his extreme anti-tax
ideology. His willingness to risk
national default for partisan gain
proved frightening; Standard &
Poor's cited political dysfunction
as a primary reason for our credit
Interfering with disaster aid:
When tornadoes, floods and hur-
ricanes devastated communities
across the country, Cantor tried
to make emergency assistance
contingent on cuts elsewhere in
the budget. It says something
about Cantor's priorities when
families that have lost their
homes and livelihoods must wait
for assistance until House Repub-
licans have finished their Wash-
ington-style bickering.
Comments about Occupy Wall
Street: Cantor recently referred
to the movement as "growing
mobs" and accused its support-
ers of "pitting Americans against
Americans." As a Tea Party
favorite who ought to understand
grassroots activism, it is particu-
larly disappointing that Cantor
would respond to legitimate con-
cerns about economic inequality
in this country with little more
than name-calling and allega-
tions of class warfare.
Ties to disgracedformer lobbyist
Jack Abramoff: Cantor accepted
thousands of dollars in campaign
contributions from Abramoff
and his affiliates. In 2006, after
the scope of Abramoff's corrup-

tion became public (including
his seeming efforts to influence
public officials with campaign
contributions, overseas golf trips
and expensive gifts), Cantor gave
about $10,000 of Abramoff-relat-
ed money to charity.
Taxpayer-funded self-promo-
tion: Cantor is producing a series
of new flashy videos, known as
"Snapshot of the Leader," for
his government website. While
the videos are certainly artsy,
they offer nothing in the way of
substantive policy information
that would further democratic
discourse. For someone bent on
cutting programs to reduce gov-
ernment spending, this video
series would seem like a good
place to start.
Cantor's lecture today will be
a fine opportunity for the Uni-
versity community to engage
in productive dialogue with an
influential political leader. As
the seemingly intractable grid-
lock continues in Washington,
though, students should remem-
ber that Cantor deserves a great
deal of credit for the refusals to
compromise, excessive partisan-
ship and ties to special interests
that have characterized politics
over the past two years and have
left so many Argericans frustrat-
ed with a system that seems to
disregard their interests.
Joe Sandman is a Ford
School of Public Policy senior.
This viewpoint was written on
behalf of the College Democrats.

This afternoon, the Ford
School of Public Policy will wel-
come House Majority Leader
Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to speak to
the University community and
share the latest from Capitol
Hill. As College Republicans,
we're proud of Cantor and all of
the good work that he has done
so far this term in Washington
D.C., along with Speaker of the
House John Boehner (R-Ohio),
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy
(R-Calif.) and the entire Repub-
lican congressional caucus. From
rolling back job-killing regula-
tions to fighting tooth and nail to
prevent implementation of Presi-
dent Barack Obama's unconstitu-
tional health care law, Cantor has
been instrumental in providing
strong leadership for the Repub-
lican majority on Capitol Hill -
bringing together newly elected
Tea Party Republicans with
longtime veterans and harness-
ing the energy of a newly invigo-
rated conservative movement
and momentum from the 2010
midterm elections to promote a
governing vision that will create
jobs, encourage investment and
help restore our economy.
As the majority leader of the
U.S. House of Representatives,
Cantor has been influential in
setting the priorities of the 112th
Congress to focus on job creation,
reducing wasteful spending and
the size of the federal government
and protecting and promoting lib-
erty at home and abroad. Cantor's
key role in the debt ceiling and

deficit reduction talks this past
summer earned the respect of
many Republicans and Democrats
alike and proved vital to ensuring
that no new taxes will be raised
in order to balance our budget
Cantor understands the relation-
ship between government and
small business owners and under-
stands that raising taxes on small
businesses and wealthier Ameri-
cans isn't the fix to our economic
or budgetary woes. Rather, the
House majority leader is focused,
along with his fellow House
Republicans, on cutting wasteful
spending, removing burdensome
and unnecessary government
regulations and promoting poli-
cies that will benefit job creators
and get Americans back to work.
Cantor understands that it is only
through such policies that we
will be able to grow our economy
and reassert our strength as the
world's economic superpower
and the most competitive place to
do business.
There are some, however, who
do not agree with Cantor and the
House Republicans as they seek
to restore our economy and com-
bat the job-killing policies of the
Obama administration. There are
some who would rather see the
government take a bigger role in
the economy, bail out more com-
panies and impose job-killing
legislation on small business. And
unfortunately, there are those
who would likely rather protest
today or disrupt Cantor's event
instead of working together to

engage in a dialogue about job
creation and growing our econ-
House Republicans, led - by
Boehner and Cantor, have con-
tinually made overtures to the
Obama administration and tried
to work with Democrats in the
Senate to address the issue of
job creation. Time and time
again, Cantor has made an effort
to engage in dialogue, reach
across the aisle and find com-
mon sense, agreeable solutions to
our economic problems. Unfor-
tunately, it seems that the only
job Obama cares about saving is
his own. However, this has not
deterred Cantor and his fellow
House Republicans from mov-
ing forward with their vision for
a brighter future for America.
As one of the most dynamic and
creative leaders in the 112th
Congress, we remain confident
in Cantor's ability to come up
with creative solutions for today
and tomorrow's problems, move
forward with sound policies to
improve our economy and work
collaboratively and productive-
ly to provide leadership in the
House of Representatives for the
generation of tomorrow. We wel-
come Cantor to campus, applaud
him for his impressive achieve-
ments so far and extend our best
wishes for his continued success
in the future.
Brian Koziara is an LSA junior.
This viewpoint was written on
behalf of the College Republicans.



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