4A - Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
4A - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
C4C f idhigan 4:a1*1
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JOSEPH LICHTERMAN and ADRIENNE ROBERTS ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS 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.
FROM T HE DAILY
Hold Adidas accountable
'U' may need to respond with concrete action
didas is one of the University's largest partners in athletic
gear and one of the largest companies in its industry. But
recent controversy regarding the company's working con-
ditions in Indonesia has elicited a response from University Pres-
ident Mary Sue Coleman. In a letter to the corporation, Coleman
stated her disappointment with its compensation for workers after
the unanticipated closure of the PT Kizone factory. Coleman also
outlined the University's expectations for Adidas moving forward.
While this is a commendable gesture, it's crucial that the University
reconsider its relationship with the company. The University must
respond with concrete action if Adidas fails to respect the situation
of all its employees.
Cut through campaign talk
recently came across a Wash-
ington Post column, "The truth
deficit from both campaigns."
In this column,
what each cam-
paign isn't tell-
ingus about the
situation of the
country. Cov- HARSHA
ered up by cam- NAHATA
are ignoring blatant truths that
may threaten the economic future
of the country.
President Barack Obama, accord-
ing to Samuelson, conveniently,
refrains from discussing the larger
issue of the uncontrollable growth
of Social Security and Medicare,
and how these programs are quick-
ly becoming unsustainable burdens
on the federal budget. If these poli-
cies are kept as is, they would result
in a total added deficit of $10 tril-
lion between 2013 and 2022. It is
also estimated that by 2022, the
deficit is expected to be $1.4 trillion
- 5.5 percent of U.S. GDP.
Obama's plans to tax higher
income sector and revenue still
won't close the gap, even if income
tax rates are raised as high as 49.6
percent of income. According to
Third Way - a think tank striving
to answer America's tough ques-
tions - if Social Security and Medi-
care see no change, tax increases
of up to 60 percent are 'inevitable'
for the middle class. No matter how
it's sugarcoated, the truth remains
that eventually Social Security and
Medicare will overtake the GDP to
the point of financial instability.
But no one wants to tell us that.
The facts aren't being hidden
on one side alone. Samuelson pins
Republican presidential candidate
Mitt Romney for stretching the
truth and mitigating the bad as
well..Romney's goal to cut the fed-
eral budget by 20 percent isn't via-
ble, Samuelson says. For Romney to
do so, he would have to make dras-
tic cuts to significant social pro-
grams, like the Center for Disease
Control, the FBI and border author-
ities. Moreover, Romney's claim to
provide tax cuts won't work. The
need for revenue is so great that to
close the gap, an increase in rates is
necessary. Since 1972, tax revenue
has only made up 18 percent of GDP.
This has to increase if the goal is to
curb deficit spending.
Again, the point is made that
unless programs like Social Secu-
rity and health expenditures are
railed in, there isn't a comprehen-
sive solution to the growing deficit
and debt. This is something that
neither campaign wants to admit.
What stuck out to me about Sam-
uelson's column weren't the glaring
truths that we as a nation have yet
to face - that's a debate for a later
time. What was striking was the
fact that we continue to be oblivi-
ous to these issues. The structures
and programs we have in place are
quickly becoming outdated and
unsustainable, and yet we keep
trying to convince ourselves that
maybe if enough Band-Aids are
used, we'll be able to magically
make the problem disappear.
It's no surprise that campaigns
are catering to what people want to
hear, but it's concerning when we -
the American public - don't want to
hear the harsh reality of the policy
decisions facing us today. The rea-
son candidates won't tell us these
hard truths is because they don't
think doing so will win them votes.
They don't believe we want to hear
This isn't the first time that an
article like Samuelson's column has
been written. The reality is that in
the upcoming years, we as a nation
are going to have to face tough cuts
to many programs that people have
come to love and rely on. But those
cuts have to be made. And the soon-
er they're made, the better.
We need to
As Thomas Friedman described
in a Dec. 25, 2010 column in The
New York Times, Kasim Reed,
mayor of Atlanta, recognized this
and made the tough cuts needed to
balance the budget. Reed was quot-
ed as saying, "The bottom line is that
for the country to do and to be what
we have been ... there mustbe a gen-
eration tough enough to stick out
its chin and take the hit. It is time
to begin having the types of mature
and honest conversations necessary
to deal effectively with the new eco-
nomic realities we are facing as a
nation. We simply cannot keep kick-
ing the can down the road."
Now, the solution isn't to take an
ax to the budget, cutting anything
and everything. But, it's also not
fair to keep delaying the conversa-
tion with campaign promises to
save programs that at some point
will need to be significantly pared
down. As Reed said, it's about being
honest about the conversations we
need to have and the position we're
'in. Though, for the American public
to get that honesty, we must start
demanding it from our politicians,
election season or not.
- Harsha Nahata can be
reached at email@example.com.
After the April 2011 closure of the PT
Kizone factory in Indonesia, Adidas didn't
compensate more than 2,700 workers with
the required $1.5 million in salaries, ben-
efits and severance. Instead, the company
attempted to place this responsibility on the
factory owner. This neglect prompted action
from the University of Wisconsin and Cornell
University. Adidas has since announced plans
to discuss future steps with other corpora-
tions and insurance companies. However, the
company's poor and delayed response to the
issue warranted a reaction from Coleman.
The letter called for humanitarian aid as well
as monthly updates on the company's interac-
tion with PT Kizone, employment for former
workers and collaboration with the Indone-
This letter is an important step in giving
attention to an issue we're all connected to.
It's especially important for our school to
send the right message, as the University is
in agood position to exert influence. The con-
tract between Michigan and Adidas is worth
$7.5 million each year. Over the course of the
contract, the University will earn $60 mil-
lion. The University should make use of its
clout in this area and promote a change in
Indonesian working conditions.
Coleman's letter is a compelling call for
humane corporate practices. However, the
mistreatment of factory workers is hardly
a new concern, and it requires adequate
responses. Adidas' negligence has already
driven the University of Wisconsin to file a
lawsuit. Similarly, Cornell University sev-
ered its relationship to the corporation sev-
eral days ago. Michigan should certainly keep
both of these developments in-mind and fol-
low suit if necessary.
Although Michigan's contract with Adi-
das does not expire until 2017, we should
seriously consider changing sponsors if the
company doesn't correct its mistreatment of
workers . This dispute is especially unaccept-
able considering the contract's terms regard-
inghuman rights. Adidas' currentmisconduct
is similar to that of Nike, Michigan's previous
vendor. Just as Michigan switched sponsors
in 2007, we should consider the same course
if the workers's needs are not met.
The circumstances in Indonesia require
concrete action, if not on the part of Adidas,
then by the University itself. President Cole-
man's letter is admirable, and will hopefully
inspire genuine change. But, if Adidas contin-
ues to mistreat these former employees, the
University should use its predominant posi-
tion in the world of athletic sponsorship to
promote necessary change.
Don't blame the doctors
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner
BRANDON SHAW I
An ode to The Boss
Bruce Springsteen last performed in Ann
Arbor 32 years ago today, and I'd like to use
the anniversary as an opportunity to express
my adoration for him and his music. But more
importantly, I want to attempt to explain why
Springsteen, who turned 63 a little more than
a week ago, is in fine pitch with the tune of
America and the world today.
At 63, Spingsteen is still performing shows
that last more than four hours; he is cajoling,
screaming, running, sliding, whispering, beck-
oning and then doing it all over again. When
asked why the show exemplifies the true con-
cept of a performance, he has often said that
he's "in a lifelong conversation with [his] audi-
ence; the theatrics are a necessary part of tell-
ing our story, of connecting together."
But it isn't the four-hour shows that please
his fans. It's his ability, in all of the tenets of
a live performance and each facet of what he
does to remain, by a long measure, the most rel-
evant artist of our day.
Many front men today utilize similar stage
theatrics and attempt to convey the emotion
like Springsteen. They make political referenc-
es and form connections with their audience.
But Springsteen, though he has backed Demo-
cratic causes and candidates his entire life,
continues to be so relevant for the same reason
he isn't publically endorsing a candidate this
election cycle. He's the physical embodiment of
America - discomforted by too much instabil-
ity to remain one-sided, divided and overly con-
cerned with politics to take a stance. Even in
the self-mockery of the live performance, as he
laughs off his own fortune: "People at the top,
these rich guitar players, have been given a free
pass!" Springsteen recognizes that no politici-
zation or professional metaphor can equate to
the intensely emotional and personal journey
of pain and loss that Americais going through.
In the Gaelic-driven warning tale, "Dea'th
to my Hometown," he cautions a "sonny boy"
to "listen up" and "be ready when they come,"
so he better "get yourself a song to sing; sing it
till you're done. Sing it hard and sing it well;
send the robber barons straight to hell. Whose
crimes have gone unpunished now; walk the
streets as free men now."
Springsteen is part youthful performer who
instills a minted vigor and thirst for answers in
every show-goer in the room. But he has also
found his part as the wise older Springsteen,
intent on nailing life lessons into his audience,
and the convergence of these two is precisely
why he remains so relevant.
Bruce Springsteen is the personification of
the cultural identity of America: what America
is meant to be, what it's become and the mea-
surement of the distance between the two.
He exemplifies what America needs and what
it doesn't have: unity, a culture of acceptance,
an impeccable, unparalleled work ethic and
a community that embraces and helps each
The only mentions of politics throughout the
live show's stories on the current Springsteen
tour are when they are equated to the loss of
people's jobs, relatives, close friends and identi-
ties. "I'm gonna do this for our ghosts aind for
yours," Springsteen says each night, because "if
you're here, and we're here then they're here."
Happy Birthday, Bruce. Thanks for being
here each night. And thanks, for everything.
Brandon Shaw is an LSA junior.
The Wall Street Journal recently
ran two articles on the changing
tendencies of medicine. The first,
flaunting pictures of surgeons and
scalpels, proudly and bluntly pro-
claimed that medicine has more
preventable and disguised errors
than any other profession. It
accused medicine of cheating the
system of criticism, and holding
itself above efforts to streamline
and perfect. The second, dominated
bythe portraitofa physician, subtly
(Not!) remarked on a "doctor to the
top percent." It told the story of a
referral base for the rich and cor-
porate medicine. And it set up a tale
of selfish medicine, of exploitation
So what's really going on? Are
doctors conspiring to charge higher
fees, to spend less time with each
patient at the same time as seeing
more patients, to neglect admitting
mistakes on purpose, to commit
Medicare fraud and to reject Medi-
care patients, all so that they can go
home sooner with fatter wallets?
Obviously, that's not what's hap-
pening. There's a lot of confusion
about the Affordable Care Act, also
known as Obamacare. The fact is
simple - it won't work, for the same
reasons that doctors are already
charging higher fees and spending
less time with each patient.
Let's discuss why it won't fly, at
least in the way Obama intends it to.
First, define how he intends Obam-
acare to work: about 25 percent
more of the nation will receive the
necessary care they deserve, sim-
ply because they are human beings.
Now that's a novel idea - everyone
deserves care when they're ill. The
problem is where care is coming
from when provided. It's provided
by doctors and by individuals.
So, why is that a problem? Train-
ing to become a doctor is the sin-
gle most time, dollar, brain-cell
and life-consuming professional
development curve since becom-
ing a referee in the National Foot-
ball League. On average, doctors
come out of training at age 32
indebted an estimated $280,000.
They work 80-hour weeks (if you
think hospitals really follow the
new resident rules which, I can tell
you from observing, they don't).
And it doesn't include time spent
researching, reviewing charts,
doing paperwork and any time "off
call" spent in the hospital.
Again, why does this matter? It's
important because medical schools
are not increasing class sizes, not
significantly increasing nation-
ally in number and not decreasing
training requirements. What does
all of this point to? By 2015, there
is an expected shortage of 63,000
doctors across the nation. Training
for doctors isn't becoming any eas-
ier, shorter or cheaper. Couple that
with the 44-percent increase (from
50.7 to 73.2 million) in covered
patients by 2025, and that spells
trouble with a capital "T." Let's just
wave the white flag now.
Back to The Wall Street Jour-
nal articles - what does all of this
signify for medicine? It means two
things: first, that doctors accepting
Medicare will spend even less time
with patients. Less time means less
engagement, insight and foresight.
Those factors add up to more pre-
ventable mistakes, since the focus
would be on quantity, not quality.
Not that the quality w'ould be poor,
just that it will be worse than it is
currently. Second, it means that a
larger contingency of doctors will
switch to private practice.
All in all, this symbolizes the
fragmentation of medicine by
class divisions. It means more
low-income patients will wait lon-
ger for care, provided that they
will indeed, at some point in time,
receiveit.And it points towards the
privatization of the "boutique phy-
sician," who will provide brilliant
care for wealthy patients.
Is this S-graph of medicine really
what we want? Maybe; most doc-
tors are amazingly intelligent and
diligent people, who, despite the
obstacles thrust upon them, will
pursue perfection as they always
have. But to accuse them of selfish-
ness and conspiracy is outrageous.
The well-publicized issues of medi-
cine are derived from external
pressures, not internal motivations.
I've been advised more than once
(or twice or three times) not to go
into medicine for the money but to
do it because it's "the good fight."
With that knowledge, I refute the
fact that doctors are acting solely
in their own interest. The whole
reason they went into medicine is
to care for others, and there was no
sudden change of heart convincing
all physicians otherwise. I'm all in
support of expanding care to the
masses, but we need to look at the
cogs of the operation as well. Ulti-
mately, we need to redefine how to
care for those who care for us. We
must care enough about them to let
them care enough for us.
Eli Cahan is a sophomore in
the Ross School of Business.
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