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October 13, 2021 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily

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Anyone remotely interested in

American politics has heard of “the
deficit” at least once. The deficit is
how much the United States govern-
ment’s annual expenses minus its
revenue. Conservatives treat it as an
ever-present threat, with every bit of
spending bringing the nation closer
to their imagined annihilation. But,
in reality, many economists seem to
agree that the deficit isn’t the big-
gest issue facing America, with the
United States having other financial
liabilities that could be an even big-
ger threat. So, if the deficit doesn’t
show any serious risk of harming the
United States, why do Republicans
seem to care about it so much, and
why do they only seem to talk about it
when they’re not the ones in power?
Well, that’s because Republicans
don’t actually care about the deficit;
it’s just another talking point they use
to stop the government from getting
anything done that doesn’t help them
or the corporations that fill their

During the years of the Obama

administration, Republicans couldn’t
stop talking about the deficit and
used it as an excuse to try to stop any-
thing that came through Congress
that wasn’t put up by them. Things
like school funding and welfare pro-

grams were shot down by Republi-
cans. But, oddly enough, as soon as
the Trump administration began in
2016, it was like every Republican
in the United States forgot that the
deficit ever existed. From 2016 to
2020 government spending shot up,
and even though Republicans held
the presidency, House and Senate, it
seemed like they never even brought
up the deficit as a concern when they
were raising the military budget,
increasing police and border patrol
funding or paying for expensive
weekend getaways for the president.


was not the only time in history
that Republicans have completely
stopped caring about the deficit
either. During both the George W.
Bush and Reagan administrations,
the national budget increased by over
half a trillion dollars. While some
would argue that the Bush admin-
istration was forced to spend that
much due to the War in Afghanistan,
documents show that the U.S. had
no real strategy in Afghanistan and
were essentially dumping money
that the American taxpayer would
never get back. Republicans have
a long history of hypocrisy when it
comes to the deficit and national bud-
get, and with the issue making some-
what of a resurgence during the first
year of the Biden administration, it

doesn’t seem as though they have any
intentions of stopping.

While Republicans’ hypocrisy is

obvious, how exactly has it harmed
the United States? The first and most
obvious example of this is the lack of
any major health care reform hap-
pening in recent years, largely due to
debt hawks in Congress shooting it
down whenever it comes up. While
Democrats themselves aren’t too
great on this issue, the lack of health
care reform in this country has
caused prices to skyrocket, causing
many people to be unable to afford
health care, and many who can
pay are still at mercy of the preda-
tory insurance industry — all of this
because Republicans don’t see it as a
reasonable sector to spend money on.
Republicans’ debt-hawking has also
been disastrous for the United States’
infrastructure, with roads and bridg-
es nationwide crumbling, the public
school system favoring only those
lucky enough to be born in certain
zip codes and electric infrastructure
barely holding on by a string in some
parts of the country as many saw in
Texas this last winter. Even though
there is currently an infrastructure
plan being pushed that could help
solve a lot of this, Republicans and
the few “Democrats” who agree
with them are doing their best to stop
it. But the one part of government
spending that has never fallen under
the ire of Republicans’ obsession with

the deficit is the military. Whether
it be sending us into a 20-year war
based on a lie, setting up unnecessary
military bases worldwide or getting
involved in struggles that don’t con-
cern us, Republicans love spending
money on the military.

One could look at this and think

that it’s just because Republicans
just have an interest in keeping the
United States safe, and while some
surely do, it’s almost certain that
some Republicans’ votes when it
comes to increases in the military
budget are affected by the money
they get from lobbyists who repre-
sent military contractors or by their
investments in those same contrac-
tors. While Democrats also take
money from the same lobbyists and
invest in the same military contrac-
tors, it is Republicans’ particular
hypocrisy on this issue that shows a
maliciousness that does not belong
in American politics.

While no politicians are strangers

to hypocrisy, Republicans’ duplic-
ity on the issue of national spending
and the deficit has been especially
damaging to the United States. It has
caused infrastructure to crumble,
health care to be largely inaccessible
and military funding to skyrocket.
While this has been disastrous for
the working class, large corporations
have only gained from it.

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 — 9

Op-Ed: The University of Michigan’s culture of sexual assault dismissal needs to change

How republicans use the deficit

to hold our country hostage

Runaway infrastructure spending poses grave

risks to fragile economy

Opinion Columnist

Opinion Columnist

You’re not smarter for correcting someone’s speech,

you’re just rude


Opinion Columnist



As the nation recovers from a

medical and financial calamity, we
are finally nearing a point of relative
economic stability after a year of
more than $5 trillion in spending to
keep the economy afloat. But with
Congress on the verge of passing a
$3.5 trillion infrastructure bill we
risk dealing a catastroph-
ic blow to an already frail
financial system. Before
we empty the country’s
pocketbook and snatch
funding from future pri-
orities, we desperately
need to consider the con-
sequences of passing the
largest spending bill in
U.S. history.

With the U.S. national

debt above $28.8 trillion
and the country set to
default on its obligations
by mid-October if the
debt ceiling isn’t raised,
our near-term economic
future is anything but
certain. If Congress fails
to reach a compromise
and the nation defaults on its debt,
we could be instantly plunged into
another recession, with the poten-
tial loss of 6 million jobs. Even
without the doomsday scenario of
a default, we still risk an economic
downturn from a rise in cases
from the delta variant and other
strains of the virus. As the world
has painfully learned over the past
18 months, failing to plan ahead has
dire consequences, and maximiz-
ing our spending now could easily
lead to a lack of funding for unfore-
seen crises in the future.

Although the $3.5 trillion figure

on the infrastructure bill already

seems immense, the even more
concerning number is $24,000, the
amount of spending in the proposal
per U.S. taxpayer. The vague plans
put forth by the Biden administra-
tion to increase the corporate tax
rate by 7% and capital gains rate by
19.6% would not only fail to raise
enough revenue to cover the full
cost of the bill but would greatly
weaken American small busi-
nesses in the process. The cost of

this spending would ultimately fall
on middle-class taxpayers and the
next generation of Americans, who
will be burdened by two decades of
reckless spending on both sides of
the aisle.

Yet another major risk comes

from inflation. After the $5 trillion
injected into the economy dur-
ing the pandemic, the economy
is dangerously overheated, with
the August Consumer Price Index
rose 5.3% year over year, making it
increasingly likely inflation is here
to stay. Since wages aren’t rising
fast enough to meet ever-balloon-
ing prices, this increase is imposing

a tremendous cost on the lower and
middle classes. Since last year, the
price of food has risen 3.7%, energy
and utilities 25% and gasoline an
astronomical 42.7%. Recklessly
flooding the economy with another
$3.5 trillion could prove devastat-
ing to families already struggling to
pay their bills.

Meanwhile, the $3.5 trillion

price tag of the bill is composed of
a hodgepodge of items that don’t

fit the Merriam-Webster defini-
tion of “infrastructure,” giving
the appearance that the bill was
reverse-engineered from its eye-
catching cost. As opposed to the
bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastruc-
ture bill passed by the Senate
and set to be voted on in the U.S.
House, the $3.5 trillion bill splurg-
es on many partisan priorities that
don’t address the dire needs of our
nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
The $1.2 trillion bill offers once-in-
a-generation upgrades at a fraction
of the price, with $110 billion for
roads and bridges, $66 billion for
railroads, $47 billion to address

looming climate disasters and even
$7.5 billion to make electric vehicle
charging stations ubiquitous. This
bill is not only a win for American
workers, the environment and
infrastructure but a victory for
bipartisanship and unity. On the
other hand, the $3.5 trillion bill
includes partisan priorities such
as universal preschool, free com-
munity college, expanded child
care credits and an expansion of

the Affordable Care Act.
While all positive ideas
in theory, these scarcely
constitute imminent cri-
ses or “infrastructure”
needs. In practice, this
wish list of programs
would bring more harm
than benefit to America,
boosting inflation and

while fixing few signifi-
cant issues for everyday


America is more polar-
ized than ever and our
lawmakers can’t seem
to agree on anything,
now is not the time to
sow our increasing divi-

sion with a controversial plan that
puts our economic future at risk.
Instead, our lawmakers should
follow the example of Sen. Joe
Manchin, D-W.Va., who has called
for a “strategic pause” in govern-
ment spending until our economy
is healthy again. By opting instead
to pass the bipartisan $1.2 trillion
bill, we can find common ground
and work together to rebuild our
nation, proving that despite our
differences, Americans are still
capable of coming together to
drive real progress. Let’s all hope
that Congress makes the respon-
sible decision.

Content warning: sexual harass-

ment and assault


survivor, I am calling on the
University of Michigan to enact
policies preventing other students
from experiencing the trauma that
causes the pain I continue to feel
today. As survivors, we deserve
justice and the feeling of being safe
on campus.

Unfortunately, this is not the

reality at this university.

Those in power have allowed

students like me to be harassed and
assaulted by predators, and it’s time
they are held accountable. Small
changes made by the University
are a hollow appeasement tactic
and do not right the wrongs of the

For years, students have tried


crimes to University leadership
and have largely been ignored.

Instead of hearing our
complaints and acting
to rectify the situation,



gotten in the way.

As a result, thousands


fallen victim to sexual
predators on campus.
This has happened to
me, my friends and
many students before

more and more about
the case against former
athletic physician Dr.

realize this behavior
has been allowed to go
on for decades by the

The horrific crimes of Anderson

went on for over 30 years and left
more than 900 student-athletes
reeling from trauma, pain and
neglect. How could the University
ignore over 900 student voices?

The University knew the crimes
of Anderson and did nothing to
protect its students — it’s not doing
enough today, even considering the
settlement process.

Instead of standing up for what

is right, the University continues to
hide behind its flashy ratings and
athletic programs. When will this
stop? When will justice be granted
to survivors like me, my friends
and all of the victims of Anderson?



Anderson and other
abusers on campus, as
well as those dismissing
their actions, need to
be held accountable.
The University needs to
do more to change the
culture of sexual assault
on campus and address
the root of the issue.
What has been done
is superficial, and still
not enough. The actions
taken by the University
so far are too narrow
and don’t do enough to
protect students and
support survivors.




are working together to hold

leadership — and all those like
it — who continue to enable
predators on campus accountable.
We are a group of students,

survivors, friends and advocates in
Michigan who formed a statewide
organization to inform our peers
about sexual assault on campus
and hold universities that harbor
sexual predators accountable.

We want students to be aware

of what has happened and what
is currently happening on their
campuses. We want justice for the
victims and those in authority to be
held accountable for the suffering
they have abetted. We, as students,
have enough to worry about and
shouldn’t have to be additionally
concerned about being harassed
or assaulted by a sports doctor or

Throughout the year, the MSASA

will be holding demonstrations
and protests on campus. We will
pass out literature and call on
the leaders in Michigan to put
an end to this multi-generational
catastrophe. We will do whatever it
takes for the hypocrisy and pain to
come to an end.

To the University of Michigan:

Enough is enough.

Sitting down for dinner with my

friend, a fellow anthropology major,
we began discussing the topic of
human evolution. All was amicable
until we reached an impasse. The
discussion of Neanderthals (Homo
sapiens neanderthalensis) brought
us into conflict over the correct
pronunciation of the species name.
My pronunciation was “Nee-and-
er-TAL” while his was “Nee-and-er-
THAL.” I pushed back, explaining
how my pronunciation was correct
given that it is how the scientific
community refers to the hominin,
but then realized my rebuttal was
not based on the intent to educate.
Correcting his pronunciation was
more about pedantry and was plain


speech not only neglects dialectical
variation and those with solely
written rather than oratorical

against the purpose of linguistic
interactions. The primary goal in
social interaction is to be understood
by fellow conversation participants.
If that is accomplished, it should not
matter what the exact phonetics
and syntax of the speech are.

The syntax and lexicon used by

an individual are often out of their
control and due to upbringing and
early socialization. An individual’s
grammar develops quite young —
with children learning a variety of
complex sentence types at 2 — and
is mostly fleshed out by the age of 7.
With this in mind, it makes little sense
to shame a person for utilizing certain
grammatical constructions. It is quite
literally out of their control most of
the time. Yes, people may learn other
forms of syntax and alter their speech
accordingly. But that does not take
away from the fact that no one should
be shamed from speaking with a
syntax they were raised to speak.
Much of our linguistic style is out of
our control. Rather than an assertion
of intelligence, correcting minuscule
aspects of someone’s style of speech
is insolent.

An issue of centering whiteness

exists within the American English

negative bias toward speakers of
non-white English dialects. Dialectal
variation within a language is a

the languages of the world. One
estimate claims English to have
as many as 160 dialects. Still, the
U.S. education system privileges
the dialect of white people and
casts all other dialects as incorrect

forms of speech. African American
Vernacular English is the dialect
of English used by many African-
American communities and is often
the target of linguistic stigmatization.
Word constructions like “ain’t”
and uses of the habitual “be,” as in
“she be runnin’,” are trademarks of
this dialect. Unfortunately, AAVE
is often delegitimized as a proper
form of English and dismissed as
simply grammatically incorrect by
language ideologues. AAVE has
become associated with ignorance
and illiteracy, both of which are faulty
claims that don’t stand up against
linguistic science. AAVE syntax
and phonology are a valid form of
language. Yet, these speakers are
hyper-corrected and shamed. Claims
that these speakers speak incorrectly
have no scientific basis and are
outright disrespectful. A difference
in dialect is not a basis for linguistic

Another point to be made is that

many people learn new words from
reading rather than conversation
and therefore have not heard the
correct pronunciation. If one is
not acquainted with the complex

knowledgeable of the International
Phonetic Alphabet or have a person to
consult, how can one accurately know
a word’s pronunciation solely from

print? Scrutinizing another person’s
pronunciation delegitimizes those
whose access to language and novel
vocabulary remains sequestered to
the literary. English orthography
is notoriously convoluted. Without
the help of sound, there is no way I
personally would have discerned that
words such as “wait” and “weight”
are phonetically equivalent. Biting
criticism of another’s diction is rude
and disparages those who choose to
increase their vocabulary through
print sources.

The point of language, when

taking an anthropological viewpoint,
is to be understood by others. If that
goal is achieved, why does it matter
what syntax or phonetics someone
uses? Any attempt at imposing rigid
linguistic prescriptivism on others
has faulty scientific foundations

sociolinguistic data. It is illogical
to assert that a pronunciation or
grammar construction is the only
valid language form that exists.
Dialectal variation is an integral part
of linguistic diversity and should
be celebrated instead of shunned.
Whether a person is a speaker
of AAVE, “Standard English” or
another dialect, all of those Englishes
are worthy of respect. You’re not
smarter for correcting someone’s
speech. You’re just rude.


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