KIMBERLY LEUNG InE IAKE-OUT Box
Then & Now
BIK E h ou rs at work, you can curse
the traffic as your fuel gauge
Continued from Page 4shows your precious black gold
it once, these programs ask; disappearing from the tank in
see if you like it. By calling the stop-and-go nightmare and
on current bike commuters to you can even curse the Repub-
set the example, the programs licans, the Democrats or the big
effectively further their mes- oil companies. But will any of
sage by showing that anyone, that, even coupled with mean-
probably even someone you ingless, stop-gap measures like
know, can do it. losing the gas tax and opening
True, the initiatives won't up more drilling sites do any-
solve the nation's energy prob- thing more significant than trim
lems, but they do offer a solu- the price of gas by a few cents?
tion that's far more attractive to While you await a viable
the average commuter. Consid- energy solution to save us all,
er: You can sit in your car on the take up the bike challenge and
way to sitting for another eight enjoy the ride.
He is one of - if not the-
principal architects of this disas-
ter in Iraq ... And people don't trust
him anymore, which is understand-
able. I wouldn't trust him."
- Former Senator and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards (D-NC),
commenting on President Bush's policies in an appearance on "This Week
with George Stephanopoulos," as reported last Sunday by ABCNews.
AT THE PODIUM
The Podium is the Daily's opinion blog. It can be accessed at http://apps.
michigandaily.com/blogs/thepodium/ or by clicking on the Podium link at
the Daily's homepage (www.michigandaily.com). Below are excerpts from
this week's featured post, concerning a the scattering of New Orleans's gangs
following Hurricane Katrina, as reported last week by Time magazine.
The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 22, 2006 - 5
Defending domestic engineers
CHRISTINA HILDRETH WEI COME TO MY BUBBLE
W omen women, that's enough to persuade then
of our leave illustrious careers.
genera- Yet many moms who choose to aban
tion have an incred- the office find themselves outcasts am
ible freedom, which fellow college graduates. Believe it or
women in the past non-working moms are frequently c
could only dreamed tised. They are chided for wasting t
of. To be sure, it's education, talent and manpower; as
far from perfect why they don't "contribute to society";
- we still haven't labeled soap-opera-watching bon-bon
had a female president (though maybe ers. These mothers, busy volunteerin
Hillary Clinton will have something to kindergarten classrooms and cartingc
say about that in 2008) - but with more dren off to little-league games, watchf
female CEOs, more women going to peers in the business world pass them
college and a strong push to encourage gobbling up opportunities they could I
more women into top fields of science, had if they stayed in the workforce.
it's a great time to be a girl. I'mno proponent of the antiquated a
Yet most professional women - wheth- ment that a woman's place is in the he
er they make their living as congresswom- but ridicule toward mothers who opt t
en or saleswomen - face a tough choice homemakers should not accompany
several years after graduating college. progress of gender equality. From wh
When it comes to working motherhood, can tell, the feminist movement is all at
many women must choose between quit- choice, and that should include the ch
ting their corporate-ladder climb and plac- to stay home and raise kids.
ing newborn babies in daycare. This is one It's not that women who quit job
reason so many female yuppies are delay- raise kids can't handle both. In fact, s
ing motherhood: By waiting, they hope to moms who leave the office end up busi
build a career strong enough that staying home. These days, stay-at-home moms
home with children for a year or two down a new kind of homemaker. Many of t
the line won't hurt too much. have college degrees and are active in;
But for some women, two years is not communities. A growing number h
enough. Not wantingto transfer most of the school their children. These women
responsibility of raising their toddler to a not a drain on society - they are a pa
stranger, they give up their career to stay at its crux. They may not be active mem
home. There's nothing wrong with day- of the labor force, but they still contri
care, but much developmental psychology to the economy, focusing their attentio
research has shown that children benefit raising the next generation of workers
from having a parent at home. For some will carry the economy and fund Get
Wal-Mart: poverty warrior
JOHN STIGLICH STIGaY SAYS
tion X's Social Security payments.
Part of the mother's dilemma stems
from the still-stubborn school of thought
that childrearing is an effeminate occu-
pation. If you are persuaded that stay-at-
home moms are ostracized, try talking to
a homemaking father. "Mr. Mom" jokes
are just one of the many reasons many
men still balk at the idea of quitting work
to watch the kids. Because of this fact,
many moms who don't want to send their
kids to daycare are left with no choice
but to step aside from their occupations.
Last time I checked, most children are
the product of a man and a woman; there-
fore, the task of raising a child is a shared
responsibility. There is nothing wrong
with a stay-at-home dad.
Whether we admit it or not, this choice
is only a few years away for most women
my age.It's only a couple years after gradu-
ation that many of us will get married, and
only several years after that we could be
trying to pick a name for our first child.
I don't mean to condemn working
moms, but rather hope to vindicate
mothers who give it all up for their kids.
Increasing gender equality liberates
women to choose their destiny, whether
they pursue expertise in rocket science
or proficiency in politics. But excelling
in domestic supervision is not a failure.
Give stay-at-home moms the respect
they deserve - their full-time job is the
most vital to the future of our society.
Hildreth can be reached at
J _.._ ..
B efore the
dominated the Diag,
ists were the misguid-
ed de jour of campus
activists. I am sure
they're still around
and focused on other
corporate targets, but I have some good
news for them.
On Jan. 12, 2006, the state of Maryland
passed the "Fair Share Health Care Act;'
which requires any company with more
than 10,000 employees to devote 8 percent
of its payroll to health care. If the company
falls short of that mark, it must pay the dif-
ference to the Maryland treasury.
Democrats control both houses of the
Maryland state legislature, and labor
unions control the Maryland Demo-
crats - hence the trumping of Gov. Bob
Ehrlich's veto to the legislation. The union
lobby wrote this policy with the intentions
of inflicting casualties on one company -
Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart Corporation is
the bane of the union community because,
in an effort to hold down prices and attract
consumers, Wal-Mart refuses to union-
ize and subject itself to the crippling costs
associated with unions. But is Wal-Mart
really the evil corporation campus activ-
ists and unionists claim it to be?
Wal-Mart employs nearly 1.3 million
people - good enough to be the single
largest employer in 25 states and the larg-
est private employer in the United States.
Employees choose from one of 18 health
care plans,resulting in the company paying
half of its 2004 profits in employee health
benefits. The idea that Wal-Mart exploits
its employees for profit is ridiculous given
that it earns only $6,000 per employee -
roughly one-third of the national average.
While it is true that Wal-Mart's entry
into a local market will reduce prices, this
isn't really bad for consumers. When was
the last time you went to your local retail
store and said, "That price is not high
enough, please let me pay more."
Politicians get elected by running
campaigns that advocate policies that
will lower the costs of necessary goods to
their constituents. When was the last time
you voted for the candidate who openly
promised to raise the price of what you
need most? If you want to pay more out of
principle, go right ahead, but don't try to
make poorer or more economically savvy
Americans, who depend on Wal-Mart's
lower prices, do the same.
What should be most disturbing for
bleeding-heart liberals is that the Mary-
land labor unions and Democratic Party
were so focused on destroying Wal-Mart
that they actually screwed poor people who
were going to benefit from a new distribu-
tion plant in Somerset, Md. It's yet another
example of failed liberal pro-poverty via
According to economists Steve Hanke
of Johns Hopkins University and Stephen
Walters of Loyola University in Maryland,
Somerset is the poorest per capita county in
Maryland. The county's poverty rate is 130
percent above the state average due in large
part to a considerable percentage of service
and agricultural employment, which are
traditionally low-wage economic activi-
ties. Hanke and Walters estimate the new
distribution center would have led to a 19-
percent rise in both annual county output
and total annual employee compensation,
an additional 300 jobs between suppliers
and distributors and, most importantly for
liberals, a $19.2 million annual increase in
local sales tax collections.
As Maryland Democrats and union-
ists cheered, Somerset lost a rare chance
at economic progress. Now, the poorest
of Maryland's poor will watch Wal-Mart
move its bustling economic enterprise to
neighboring Delaware and West Virginia.
I think it's about time Americans realize
that the old economic model of collective
bargaining through union labor is a self-
defeating proposition. Companies with a
unionized work force cede a competitive
advantage to their free-flowing labor com-
petition. A few decades agounion activists
could point to the contracts of UAW work-
ers as the crowning achievements of what
unions could do for the American worker.
After recent developments with Delphi and
General Motors,those same claims cannot
be made today.
I urge Americans in all states, particu-
larly in Michigan where unions are still
powerful, to watch out for union protec-
tion schemes. Ask yourself: What's to stop
legislatures from dropping a zero on the
employment minimum or increasing the
payroll-percentage mandate and thereby
inflict regulations on companies other than
Wal-Mart? Thank God we live in a capital-
ist society - let's keep it that way.
Stiglich can be reached at
... New Orleans police realize
they've got the chance that every
major city in America craves - a
chance to start with a clean slate ...
... Previously, the deeply ingrained
culture of crime, which permeates
through much of the inner city, pre-
vailed - leading to dismissals of even
some solid cases and the premature
release of truly dangerous men.
Now, given that they have been
miraculously lifted out of the deepest of
holes, the NOPD has a renewed dedi-
cation to fighting crime ... Why not
focus on something that preempts the
causes of crime in the first place?
It's no secret - the most dangerous
places in America are its poorest. New
Orleans - despite all the unprece-
dented tragedy it faced last year -has
the unique opportunity to learn from
its past mistakes and not isolate poor
segments of the population into der-
elict, unkempt areas that then become
the most dangerous.
I don't know exactly how the city
plans to fight crime before it fully
resumes, but I would hope that city
officials won't limit themselves to
strengthening punitive measures.
There is so much that needs to be
rebuilt in the city, so much in need
of repair. But in some cases, restoring
what was isn't the best solution. The
level of law enforcement is one such
thing, but so is the method.
Editorial Page Editor