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December 10, 2012 - Image 4

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w

4A - Monday, December 10, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

che ihi an a3 4&
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
TIMOTHY RABB
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 THE DAILY
Righlt-to -work won't wo rk
Consequences for unions may be dire
After the defeat of Proposal 2 - which would have enshrined
union rights on the state constitution - on the November
ballot, state Republicans smelled an opportunity and decid-
ed to push through legislation that would make Michigan the 24th
right-to-work state. The circumstances of this legislation can be
described as shady, to say the least. Protesters outside the Michigan
Capitol were sprayed with mace last week. Some were locked out of
the building on the grounds that it was "at capacity," a claim that
was later shown false. This controversy surrounding the protests
outside the State Capitol underlines the controversial nature of the
right-to-work legislation itself.

De fend the DIA

Art isn't for e
this may
phemy com
tory of art major
whose mother
worked for the
Saint Louis Art
Museum, I truly
believe that some
people will never
find the deep
connection to
visual expres-
sion that many of
us enjoy. This by
no means allows
those individuals1
cultural importance
if they only see it as
of the human exp
less of which categi
Michigan residentsi
land and Wayne c
to defend the cult
Detroit and protect
inga tax millage tos
Detroit Institute of
The DIA has
struggles throughoi
due to hard econom
with a gradual loss
Some claimthatthe
cial model is brok
museums rely on
ment, others depen
public funding. Th
nately, has neither.
claimed this past s
to a lack of funds,t
facing a graduals
operations. They p
age to provide $2:
institute while cho
age taxpayer in M
and wayne countie
years. To incentivi
the residents in al
would receive unli
to the institute. On
age passed decisivel
Wayne counties wk
by a slim margin in]
However, the DI
deliver. Last Thur

veryone. Though Macomb residents sued the insti-
ound like blas- tute, claiming they were denied free
sing from a his- entrance to the "Faberge: The Rise
and Fall" special exhibit. Officials
from the Michigan Taxpayers Alli-
ance, the group that filed the suit,
claim the DIA has reneged on its
agreement to the tri-county taxpay-
ers. According to the Detroit Free
Press, the plaintiffs are demanding
that the DIA no longer collect any
admission fees from those residing
TIMOTHY in Macomb County and award the
BURROUGHS plaintiffs the amount they are due
for a breach of contract, along with
paying court fees.
to overlook the The Michigan Taxpayers Asso-
e of fine art, even ciation is an organization based in
a historic record Macomb County, "dedicated to stop-
erience. Regard- ping the state from increasing taxes
ory they fall into, from any segment of Michigan citi-
in Macomb, Oak- zens." The association was the main
ounties decided oppositional force to the DIA mill-
ural heritage of age this summer. Leon Drolet, MTA
the arts by pass- chairman, stated "as homeowners
upport the ailing receive their property tax bills with
Arts this August. the new DIA tax, theyare finding out
faced financial they have been deceived." The day
ut the last decade after the lawsuit was filed, Annmarie
iic times coupled Erickson, DIA executive vice presi-
of state funding. dent, released a statement disputing
institute's finan- the charges, claiming "throughout
en. While some the millage campaign, the DIA was
a huge endow- clear that free admission would not
id on significant apply to all DIA activities and that
e DIA, unfortu- visitors would still need to purchase
Museum leaders tickets to programs such as Brunch
ummer that due with Bach, films at the Detroit Film
the institute was Theatre and special exhibits (such as
shutdown of all the one in question)."
iroposed a mill- The MTA has already rallied many
3 million to the to support their cause. Opponents
arging the aver- of this summer's tax millage have
:acomb, Oakland joined in, adding that the campaign
s $15 a year for 1 run by the DIA was misleading and
ze the proposal, dishonest. They tricked residents
1 three counties into supporting an unfair, unneces-
mited free visits sary tax increase.
Aug. 6, the mill- However, this is far from reality.
y in Oakland and Not only was the DIA explicitly clear
hile only passing about only general admission being
Macomb County. covered, the MTA lawsuit is only a
A allegedly didn't bitter attempt to further antagonize
sday, a group of the institution after voters failed to

bar the tax millage. The MTA claims
on its website that "every dollar the
government takes, that is not abso-
lutely necessary, is theft." This blind,
absolutist mentality has led the alli-
ance to oppose the DIA in a mis-
guided attempt to protect taxpayers.
They've encouraged a few residents
like plaintiff, Simon Haddad to tell
sob stories and give interviews about
being denied free access to the DIA
to gain attention and sympathy for
their cause. This manipulation of the
truth is drawing additional flak for
DIA executives and supporters who
are simply trying to protect one of
Detroit's cultural centers.
The Detroit
Institute of Arts
is a cultural
landmark.
The MTA - along with many
other anti-tax raising organizations
- frequently oversimplifies issues
and looks solely at the bottom line
when passing judgment. It is impor-
tant to not join the other extreme
and blindly support proposals that
require tax increases, but to con-
sider the entire implications of an
issue. If the DIA was to fail, Detroit
would lose a cultural landmark that
draws tourists, educates and inspires
thousands of local residents. It has
been the center of Detroit's revival
by sponsoring shows from local
artists and documenting the city's
recovery. The Michigan Taxpayers
Alliance should accept its loss from
this summer, drop this petty lawsuit
and move on to protecting taxpay-
ers instead of attacking Detroit icons
such as the DIA.
- Timothy Burroughs can be
reached at timburr@umich.edu.

4

As one of the most unionized states in
the country, the workers of Michigan have a
vested interest in this legislation. The argu-
ment at the core of the right-to-work debate
is whether or not workers should be required
to join a union in their industry. Almost all
right-to-work states are states in the South
or Southwest and passed their right-to-work
legislation decades ago. The most recent state
to pass such legislation was Wisconsin after
extreme contention, and Gov. Scott Walker
faced a recall election as a result of the legis-
lative battle. Currently, 23 states have right-
to-work laws that allow workers to opt out of
union membership, including both the dues
and the benefits of membership.
Efforts to make Michigan's debate more civil
than Wisconsin's were unsuccessful. Pretend-
ing that the Capitol building is at capacity sim-
ply to keep protesters out is ridiculous. Lying
and misleading protesters for whatever reason
is unacceptable. Though the bill receives almost
universal Republican support, six Republican
state representatives and four Republican state
senators refuse to support the bill, citing their
party's expedience as a primary concern.

Evidence regarding the claim that right-
to-work will increase economic growth
usually isn't favorable. The Economic Pol-
icy Institute, a liberal think tank based in
Washington D.C., published an analysis of
economic growth in Oklahoma that was con-
ducted over the past decade. The state, which
introduced right-to-work laws in 2001, has
seen jobs in the highly unionized manufac-
turing sector fall. This is consistent with
opponents who insist that passing this legis-
lation will result in a net decrease in wages
for both union and non-union members in
their respective industries.
Furthermore, union membership in Michi-
gan has declined significantly over the past
six decades, according to the Detroit Free
Press's interview with Michigan State Eco-
nomics Prof. Charles Ballard. This means that
the economic impact of the legislation will be
minimal, if not negligible - it will only accel-
erate an already established trend. Hopefully,
the chaotic circumstances surrounding the
passage of this legislation will be rectified and
right-to-work's consequences for the state's
unions won't be too dire.

I
4

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Falling off the fiscal cliff

a

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata,
Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts, Vanessa Rychlinski, Paul Sherman,
Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner, Derek Wolfe
CONNOR CAPLIS VWPOINT
fStand up for fairness.

Mark Bernstein, a newly elected mem-
ber of the University of Michigan's Board of
Regents, campaigned on the slogan "Make Col-
lege Affordable." However, for some students
who've lived in Michigan the majority of their
lives, affordable University tuition is a foreign
concept. The University is denying in-state
tuition to undocumented students who know
Michigan as their home and have graduated
from the state's high schools. After earning
admission by merit, the steep price of out-of-
state tuition, which is nearly $25,000 more per
year than the tuition paid by in-state admits,
effectively prohibits potential students from
accessingthe higher education they deserve.
The University prides itself in enrolling the
leaders and the best. However, its residency
policy says otherwise. The UM American Civil
Liberties Union Undergraduate Chapter seeks
to reform this disturbing policy. The ACLU
strongly supports the efforts of the Coalition
for Tuition Equality and its efforts to advocate
fair tuition practices for all students.
An undocumented student is typically
brought to the United States at a young age
with his or her parents and played no part
in his family's choice to immigrate. Michi-
gan is where these students have grown up
and where they call home. In total, there are
currently an estimated 11.2 million undocu-
mented immigrants in the United States.
Undocumented immigrants represent a
diverse section of the American population.
They come from all parts of the world, fre-
quently to flee oppression or economic hard-
ship and explore the opportunities presented
in America. Yet the University's tuition poli-
cies are barriers that prevent undocumented
Americans from realizing their dreams.
In most senses, undocumented Michigan
residents are faced with the same set of gov-
ernmental obligations as any other Michigan
resident. They are subject to the same laws,
send their children to the same schools and pay
the same taxes that all Michigan residents pay.
In 2010, according to the Service Employees
International Union, state and local taxes paid
by families headed by undocumented immi-
grants totaled $141,662,286 in Michigan. Their
taxes, in part, finance the University, yet out-
of-state tuition prevents them from benefitting

fairly from those taxes.
In a legal brief supporting the DREAM Act,
federal legislation that remains in political
limbo, the ACLU cites tuition equality as an
effective policy to help undocumented Ameri-
cans contribute productively to the American
economy. The brief applauds states that have
adopted tuition equality and asserts, "... a well-
educated population leads to increased earning
power which then generates higher income,
sales, and property taxes. This in turn stimu-
lates economic growth for all participants in
the states' economies, while increasing the
nation's competitiveness in the global econ-
omy." The benefits of tuition equality extend
beyond deserving undocumented students to
society as a whole by producing a well-educat-
ed, productive and highly skilled workforce.
In 2010, the California Supreme Court
upheld a widely adopted form of tuition
equality, which requires qualifying students
to attend a California high schoolfor at least
three years. California adopted tuition equal-
ity in 2001. Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New
Mexico, New York, Utah and Washington are
in another group of 12 states with similar pro-
visions. The University needs to adopt tuition
equality to ensure that these talented, undocu-
mented students have equal access to the high-
er education they deserve.
The ACLU Undergraduate Chapter of the
University of Michigan is a partner in the
Coalition for Tuition Equality - a collec-
tion of student organizations on campus that
fight for in-state tuition for undocumented
students. We believe that tuition equality is
a fundamental right that the University of
Michigan is denying undocumented Michi-
gan residents. To get involved in CTE, you
can attend the rally for tuition equality this
Thursday, Dec. 13 at 3:30 p.m. in the Kuenzel
Room of the Michigan Union.
I'm proud to attend a college that is so vocal
for its promotion of diversity and social justice
on campus. We must continue to push for what
is fair, what is right, and what is just. Tuition
equality will bring the University closer to pro-
viding students who merit admission an equal
opportunity for abright future.
Connor Caplis is an LSA sophomore.

ne of my friends (let's call
him Bill) loves talking
about stocks, entrepreneur-
ial ideas and politics with me. Bill
is one of those
guys who is
always thinking
of a new busi-
ness idea and
someone you just
know will make
it big one day.
Although a few
of Bill's business PATRICK
ideas are ques- MAILLET
tionable, the vast
majority of them
are solid and well thought out.
Over the weekend, Bill and I
were hanging out with some friends
when he asked for my opinion on
a new investment he was planning
to make. His plan was to short sell
U.S. Treasury bills. For those of you
who may not know, short selling
is used by traders who believe the
share price of a stock, or in this case
a Treasury bill, will decline. With-
out going through all the economic
details, short selling U.S. treasury
bills is basically like betting against
the American economy.
Bill said he had been watching
the fiscal cliff talks, or lack thereof,
and couldn't help but believe that a
compromise was unachievable and
that America would be tossed off
the fiscal cliff.
Traditionally, those who bet
against America usually lose. Even
after America's credit rating was
downgraded two years ago, inves-
tors still flocked to U.S. treasury
bills as an economic safe haven. I
tried telling Bill this age-old "rule
of thumb" but I couldn't help get-
ting a little depressed about the
very distinct chance that his invest-
ment strategy might actually work.
Without massive compromises
from both sides, our economy may
be in some serious trouble.
In 21 days, America falls off the
proverbial "fiscal cliff" unless an

agreement is reached. Both Demo-
crats and Republicans appear to be
holding fast to their principles as the
clock keeps ticking down. Whether
they want to or not, everyone in
Washington needs to be prepared for
some pivotal changes.
First off, taxes on the wealthiest
Americans must go up. Government
revenue is at a 60-year low, making
it impossible to justify the extension
of tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 per-
cent of Americans. Also, let's not for-
get the tax rate for millionaires and
billionaires will rise from 35 percent,
the rate set by President George W.
Bush's tax breaks, to 39 percent, the
rate that was set during President
Bill Clinton's tenure. This isn't class
warfare, and it certainly isn't social-
ism. Returning the tax rate for the
wealthiest Americans to that of the
1990s - a time of massive economic
growth - is the most logical way to
begin raising government revenue to
where ithas to be.
In order to raise taxes on the
wealthiest Americans, the Demo-
crats are going to have to compro-
mise on a social program spending
cut. The age of eligibility for Social
Security benefits must be raised
from 65 to at least 67. I'm sorry Mom,
Dad, and every other fellow liberal,
I know it seems like I've betrayed
you. But people, we need to face
the facts: Republicans simply won't
agree to tax raises unless we give
them a social benefit cut. Men and
women who retire today at age 65 can
expect to live on average to 83 and 85,
respectively. The original purpose of
Social Security was to support those
who retire at 65 for a decade, not for
two. If life expectancy rises as much
as it has, why shouldn't the retire-
ment age be slightly raised?- Also,
with an enormous aging population,
the entire program seems to be on
the brink of bankruptcy. Without
a serious change, our parents will
bankrupt Social Security and leave
us with nothingto depend on.
Most importantly, America

needs to drastically cut its defense
spending. In 2011, America spent
$695.7 billion on national defense.
This is not only the most expen-
sive defense budget in the world,
but larger than the next 12 nations
following us combined. Ever since
9/11, American defense spending
has been out of control. Unfortu-
nately, increasing military spend-
ing is just like gaining unwanted
weight - it's a hell of a lot easier
putting it on than losing it.
Washington
needs to
compromise to
prevent calamity.
If politicians act to reduce this
mammoth budget, they're threat-
ened with losing their campaign
support from huge corporate
donors such as Boeing, Lockheed
Martin and various other defense
contractors. America has become a
military empire with more than 662
foreign bases in more than 38 other
countries. Yes, cutting defense
spending may result in the loss of
jobs, particularly some employees
of the corporations listed, but with-
out drastic cuts American defense
spending will never be curbed and
will continue to rise uncontrollably.
These three proposals are far from
unique and, will certainly not cure
our fiscal problems alone. Instead,
they should be considered stepping
stones for compromise. Without a
serious agreement, particularly in
these three fields, I fear that Amer-
ica may be driven off the fiscal cliff.
Sorry Bill, you're a good friend, but I
pray that your bet is wrong.
- PatrickMaillet can be
reached at maillet@umich.edu.

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