Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RE: Same Sex Marriages

I agree with this post. Unfortunately Obama may have said that he isn't a proponent of gay marriage in order to get the votes, but he admits that his opinion is evolving and has shown that in his actions. He is all for building equality and even encouraged congress to repeal the "don't ask don't tell" policy which barred individuals whom are openly gay from serving in the armed forces.
Fortunately, arguments against gay marriage tend to come off as irrational and close-minded. Many studies done by the opposition in order to prove that gay marriage is damaging to...whoever...have been discredited. At least Obama is mostly in favor of gay marriage and wants to leave it to the states to decide. This says a lot compared to the candidates at hand.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Huge Increase in Inequality

I wanted to stray from writing another blog entry about Occupy Wall Street but ran across an article that I found very interesting. My classmate's critique of my last entry also kept coming to mind.
I am beginning to see why protest in unavoidable and wonder how the problem of the income gap can ever be resolved. The article I read was about the Dwindling Power of a College Education. It reminded me how much the workforce and life in general has changed over a short period of time. It seems that part of the reason for the 1% is that jobs that require little or no skill have become scarce and invaluable due to technology. Those whom have jobs that remain valuable, and who have the talent and skill the keep them that way, make all the money. For the average Joe, wages are low, benefits dwindle, and jobs are volatile. Even a bachelor's degree is nothing more than a prerequisite unless you have much more to offer.
Sure, President Obama is trying to make it easier for students to go to and pay for college, but what about job creation? According to the New York Times, about half the class of 2010 still didn't have a job a year later. With no plausible quick solution to this dilemma, it is important to vie for radical legislative changes while doing what we can to cope with the current zeitgeist. 
The vision is to dismantle corporate greed, and thing are happening on Wall Street. We are becoming an inspiration to other countries and practicing democracy the way the forefathers envisioned. Protesters should steady the course and continue to "declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Friday, November 11, 2011

RE: CarrieD Away With Politics: We are the 99%

 While it's true that Wall Street protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary, I believe that vying for personal bailouts goes against the origin of the movement. Ron Paul (R-TX) wrote, "In bailing out failing companies, they are confiscating money from productive members of the economy and giving it to failing ones." Why would you want to "take from you to give to you?"
 While it is true that democracy is waning, there are many other ways to influence the system without asking for handouts. Want to break the two-party duopoly? Petition against the Electoral College. Want to get corporation's hands out of the electoral cookie jar? Sign the petition for a constitutional amendment reversing the decision made in the Citizens United vs. F.E.C. court case. Interested in exposing corruption? Support the Federal Reserve Transparency Act to audit the Fed.
 There is a lack of specific policy demands and no formal leadership of the Occupy Wall Street group. If we want to see changes we need to work for them, not sleep on the street.
 I am the 53% (of Americans who earn enough income to pay federal income taxes.) Key word there being AMERICAN, the movement, after all, was started by Canadians.
I take responsibility for my misfortunes and while I understand people have been hurt by corporate greed, I believe there is a need to take further action than pointing fingers.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Why Occupy?

Occupy Wall Street started as a response to the economic recession that is believed to have been caused by the abundance of power of major banks and corporations. The movement has spread like a wildfire and now has supporters globally. Unhappy with the status quo, people everywhere are taking to the streets to fight for democracy. Is it really necessary for us to physically protest or can we make the change with our actions?
The main issue is that the people are no longer in charge of democracy. Over the years we have seen oil companies, manufacturers, insurance companies, and giant corporations trample our livelihood. In 2010 the Supreme Court blocked the ban on political spending by corporations in candidate elections. Now, corporations can spend as much money as they want, handpicking lawmakers and telling us who to vote for. The people have have had enough.
Many of the protesters couldn't tell you why they're out there. Some of the more active ones are being hurt by police. I think if the same people who occupy the streets took it upon themselves to make an active effort in making things happen, for example signing the petition for a constitutional amendment reversing the decision made in the Citizens United vs. F.E.C. court case, getting signatures in their community, and writing Congress, then it would make more of an impact than shouting. If the goal is to expose corruption, then support the Federal Reserve Transparency Act to audit the Fed. Democracy is for citizens not corporations. The only way to take back control of democracy is to take back control of democracy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Good Reasons Why Wall Street Breeds Protesters

 To touch on the subject of the recent Wall Street protests, I read an article published in the editorial section of USA Today on October 12th titled 5 Good Reasons Why Wall Street Breeds Protesters. The article tells us 5 good reasons why the protesters have the right to be angry.
The author agrees that the protests are over the top. Protesters have been fairly quiet except for during corporate bailouts of 2008. While the author agrees that they offer no substantial solution, he claims that "financial institutions that should be the enablers of economic growth have become, at least in part, destructive".
Reason #1: Economic Recession- caused by reckless mortgage lending, the consequences of which are still being felt today.
Reason #2: Bonus Excess-staggering bonuses paid to New York City-based securities industry employees paid out in this time of economic need.
Reason #3: Brain Drain- Entrepreneurs are lured to jobs at banks where they are focusing on trading rather than building businesses and creating jobs.
Reason #4: Too Big to Fail- Failure of any of the largest banks would be too damaging for leaders to allow it. Recent bank reform gives CEOs incentive for risky behavior.
Reason#5: The Washington Racket- With a history of help from big government, as well as extensive tax breaks, why would banks expect any other but their own way of doing things?

 The author here is obviously on the side of the protesters, but not outwardly so. I believe he is trying to make light if the situation and make some valid points as to why there is a problem. The author offers relevant statistics as well as a link to the oppositions view on the subject. He makes some very good points and I agree that there is a reason for action.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Immigration Law

 I recently read this article published in the commentary section of the Austin American Statesman website on September 17th titled Perry Rightly Defends Tuition Program, discussing immigration related topics. The article, I believe was written from a Republican point of view, as the title seems to be biased. The author commend Governor Rick Perry on his defense and views on illegal immigration and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. The author is basically claiming that the state of Texas is justified in paying tuition of illegal immigrant because those individuals are here at no fault of their own and working towards goal to improve their situation. Perry states " I'm proud that we are having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them you go be on the government dole." When discussing an opposition's rebuttal, the author calls the representative "shortsighted." He credits himself by reminding the audience that the Supreme Court noted that free public education benefits us all.
 I believe the article is extremely biased and disagree with the author. When asked what he would do to remove illegal immigrants from our country, Rick Perry avoids the question and blames the problem on the federal government. Lack of security. Shouldn't that be the area of focus?
 Towards the end of the article the author admits to bold statements such as "is free public education a lure to illegal immigrants [for votes], perhaps.." and even shares the high courts opinion on the subject that the Texas law "contributed to the creation and perpetuation of a subclass of illiterates within our boundaries, surely adding to the problems and costs of unemployment, welfare, and crime."
 The author of this article did a good job. A good job of convincing me that his opinion is skewed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Capitol Gains Tax, Rational?

  I recently read an interesting article published on September 11th and written by Stephen Mufson and Jia Lynn Yang in the business section of The Washington Post. Titled "Capital Gains Tax Rates Benefit Wealthy Feed Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor", the article is a discussion of current and former capital gains tax rates compared to wage taxes and how and why they work in our economy.

  The beginning of the article discusses the different viewpoints of the benefits of capital gains tax rates. "The rates on capital gains...should be a key point over negotiations over how to shrink the budget deficit, some lawmakers say". Republicans, looking to keep the rate low, are interested in protecting the "preferential treatment of money earned through investment over money earned through labor". While democrat Chris Van Hollen of the congressional super-committee, argues that "there is no strong economic rationale for the huge gap that exists now between the rate for wages and the rate for capital gains".

  Proponents of the low capital gains tax believe that it will encourage business and build capital.  Alan Greenspan's view on the subject is that the effect of the tax "as best I can judge, is to impede entrepreneurial activity and capital formation".  Republicans agree that the appropriate tax rate is zero and believe the capital gains tax to be a tax on job creation. On the other hand, the article goes on to say how tax experts contest the idea that lower rates are beneficial saying "lower capital gains taxes are a mixed bag", and "it is not clear that an absence of risk-taking is what's ailing the economy".

  Though the issue of the capital gains tax leans towards the Republican ideology, it tends to be a bipartisan issue. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes that "raising taxes on capital gains and dividends could discourage individuals and businesses from saving and investing". It is agreed that the tax could hinder job creation and innovation.

  Lastly, the article goes into detail about how the tax issue is mostly political, being controlled by political contributors and lobbyists. The author says that in spite of the economic arguments "the steady cutting of the capital gains tax rate reflects the political power of the rich, who are more likely to contribute to politicians and benefit from the work of lobbyists".

   I think this is an important read because it is a bipartisan issue that effects everyone. Typical voters don't pay attention to this issue because it doesn't have a direct impact. Think of it this way, "The 400 richest tax payers in 2008 counted 60 percent of their income in the form of capital gains and 8 percent from salary and wages. The rest of the country reported 5 percent in capital gains and 72 percent in salary". Are the current tax rates fair and advantageous?