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May 11, 2009 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-05-11

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Monday, May 11, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann ArboraMt48109

Obama's poor policies




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.
Emploving federal funds
Senate must pass bills to extend unemployment benefits
As Michigan's economy continues to crumble under the strain of
a failing auto industry, more and more Michigan residents find
themselves without employment. And as Michigan's economy
shifts away from a manufacturing base, these workers need extensive
training to find new jobs. To remedy the problem, the state House of Rep-
resentatives recently passed two bills that extend benefits to unemployed
workers participating in long-term training. Sweetening the deal, the
cash to pay for extended benefits isn't coming out of the pockets of the
state's taxpayers, but from the federal government's stimulus funds. Con-
sidering the positive effects the bills will have, the Senate should ensure
that they make it to the governor's office and become law.

A few more than 100 days
have come and gone since Barack
Obama, our 44th president, took
office. Since then, he has been
busy attempting to fix the many
issues that plague our nation=
domestically and abroad. While
Obama has good intentions and is
extremely popular, the decisions
he has made since his inaugura-
tion are causing the country more
harm than good. For examples of
this, look no further than out of
control spending that has inflated
the national debt and the foreign
policy blunders that are weaken-
ing this country's defenses.
Since entering office, Obama
has passed two budgets and a
stimulus bill. The federal debt is
currently more than $11 trillion
and the recently passed budgets
will only increase this figure. In
order to operate with such high
costs, taxes must be increased -
taxes that more and more Ameri-
cans are unable to pay.
Obama's solution to this prob-
lem has been to promise a tax cut
for 95 percent of Americans. This
means that the tax money must
come from only 5 percent of the
population. While the rich should
definitely paya fair share, or even
a proportional share, they should
not have to support the entire
nation. The government should
not punish those who have been
successful and the strain on this
one segment of our society is
unethical. Our government owes
all its citizens, even the wealthy,
a sense of equality.
Further spending came in the
form of the controversial $787
billion stimulus plan. Much of
this money was spent bailing out
financial institutions and other
programs Obama felt needed to
be funded. The $454 million in
bonuses that were given to AIG
executives after being bailed
out were a good example of the
many problems that result from
the government redistributing
wealth amongst private institu-
tions. The bonuses were given
out at the taxpayers' expense, and
Obama himself took responsibil-
ity for the lack of oversight.
Send letters tothe editor to
tothedoily Fumich edu or visit
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on 'Letter to the editor'

This handling of the taxpay-
ers' money is disturbing. If the
government is going to play fast
and loose with our money, Obama
should have made sure there were
checks in the bailout to prevent
money from going to the execu-
In addition to his irrespon-
sible taxation, Obama has made
many foreign policy missteps.
He visited Europe to apologize
for what the U.S. has done in the
past. When our president - the
man who represents our nation to
the world - goes to other coun-
tries and apologizes, somethingis
wrong. First of all, the question of
whether or not America has any-
thing to apologize for is certainly
a debate to be had. Secondly, the
U.S. has always been a proud
country, and our leaders have
always defended it in word and
deed. Our new, supposedly more
worldly president has taken it
upon himself to apologize for the
actions of the previous adminis-
Those who would seek to harm
our nation see these apologies as
a sign of weakness. If they believe
Obama is too fearful of how the
world will react to his actions,
these people will attack us. Obama
has decided to overlook concerns
of national security in favor of
international acceptance.
Obama seems to be more con-
cerned with appeasing our so-
called allies in Spain, Germany
and France than with the nation's
security and defense. Our world
image is important - but not at the
expense of our dignity or security.
Overall, the first 100 days of a
presidency (aside from President
Franklin Roosevelt's) are rarely
indicative of the entire term.
Obama has shown that he's will-
ing to make some radical-- and
hurtful - changes in our nation's
policy right off the bat. And
though only 100 days of his presi-
dency have gone by, the problems
he has already caused will stay
with us far into the future.
Asa Smith is an
LSA sophomore.
The Daily is accepting viewpoint sub-
missions. For more information about
viewpoints, e-mail Rachel Van Gilder
at rachelvg@umich.edu.

The current unemployment
program in Michigan requires
recipients be actively seeking
full-time employment to receive
unemployment benefits. On
Wednesday, the House passed
two amendments to the Michigan
Employment Security Act that, if
signedintolaw,will make26addi-
tional weeks of benefits available
to unemployed workers in state-
approved training programs- and
those looking for part-time jobs.
The money to fund the extension
would come from $138.9 million
in federal stimulus funding that
the state would qualify for if it
passes the bills.
Republicans havejustified their
opposition to the bills by arguing
that after the federal money runs
out, the state will have no choice
but to raise unemployment insur-
ance taxes on businesses. The
House's Fiscal Agency estimates
that costs to businesses would be
$69.7 million annually. Republi-
cans claim that when small busi-

nesses are forced to cut costs to
pay the taxes, they will elimi-
nate jobs and unemployment will
These are valid concerns -
hurting small businesses won't
heal the economy. But oppo-
nents of the bills fail to account
for their benefits. Workers.
currently unemployed and on
approved job training programs
are eligible for unemployment
benefits for up to 59 weeks. But
some of these workers need
more time to learn new skills
and find a job in an in-demand
field. Supporting workers while
they train will ensure that they
have the resources to adapt to
Michigan's evolving economy.
Educating the workforce will
also fill technical and scientific
positions that encourage eco-
nomic recovery.
Opponents of the bills also
forget that the costs of the
extension will be paid for by
federal stimulus funding spe-

cifically marked for these exten-
sions. Considering Michigan's
current economic crisis, creat-
ing laws to help the unemployed
is a worthwhile effort, especial-
ly with more than $100 million
in federal cash to foot the bill.
And giving workers more time
to complete vocational train-
ing and re-enter the workforce
increases the chance that there
won't be as high a demand for
unemployment benefits as the
federal money runs out.
. According to the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics, Michigan has
the highest unemployment rate
in the country at a depressing
12.6 percent. These bills would
not only provide short-term relief
to workers, but also the necessary
means - by way of training for
high-demand occupations - to
resuscitate the state's economy.
The Senate needs to recognize
that these bills help Michigan's
workers and - best of all - do so
at no immediate cost to the state.

Editorial Board Members:
Emad Ansari, Ben Caleca, Erika Mayer, Patrick Zabawa

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