Illustrated by Allison Morris
“The idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers – that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried.” In a the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union, Sen. Marco Rubio may have presented a new more moderate sounding GOP, with the face of a young charismatic Latino. But the message presented despite the inspiring tales of ascension from poverty as a family from immigrants who came to this country in search of a better life, was one which now has gone far beyond its sell by date. “Raising taxes won’t create private sector jobs.” He confidently told us, and yet the truth is far from it.
The claim that cutting taxes is a sure way to ensure job growth, has been political dogma the Republicans have clung to ever since the Reagan administration, but the economic policies of the 1980s simply are impractical in this new age of globalization. I admit that cutting taxes on higher incomes does create a trickle down effect, fattening the wallets of Chinese factory owners. As the American marketplace is constantly being undercut by cheaper and more cost-efficient products, we are seeing a circulation of capital away from our shores drifting eastward. Tax-cuts may be a good way to win a congressional seat, but the actual effect it has on the economy in creating jobs is far exaggerated. As the money that higher earners have to invest because of it is either saved away until the market gets stronger, or is invested overseas where profits are soaring and regulations are non-existent. The inconvenient truth is that globalization has killed Republican economics.
But even if cutting taxes does not create jobs, how could raising them on high earners actually increase employment? If we assume that the revenues created are invested in this nation, let us say through spending on national infrastructure such as the President recently proposed. Then the jobs created through public works as well as the money used to support the middle and lower class through tax credits and welfare spending, end up increasing consumer power, and by doing so stimulates the economy. For it is in fact the lower and middle class which spend their immediate income on everything from groceries to petrol, who have the most beneficial effect on the economy. It is when we focus on those who spend, we receive the greatest economic benefit.
The Republicans cannot continue spouting the same overdone and failed ideas that they have had for the past few decades, cutting taxes, regulation and government spending is the not the solution to this 21st Century problem. President Obama in his State of the Union address to the Congress presented a pragmatic and practical proposal to bring jobs to America, through smart tax credits and investment in national infrastructure, it is these policies founded on economic fact not dogmatic idealism that will be effective.
As the Republicans realize that they have lost the debate on immigration, and soon on gun control too, let us hope that they also mature on economic policy. For the days of Ronald Reagan are gone, China is taking the lead in this global marketplace and technology has radically changed the face of our society. Let us focus on how to create solutions for this age, based upon common sense ideas such as bringing down our debt in a balanced way and increasing employment through smart investment, instead of falling deep into the dreamland that Rubio and his colleagues still inhabit.
By Peter Price
America, that nation founded on the principle that all are created equal, that all have an opportunity to follow their dreams through the pursuit of happiness and the use of their god given liberties. In America this founding principle has had its exceptions; it’s had its cracks crumbling away at the core of the nation. Throughout the history of this young state the question of race relations has been one of division and destruction climaxing in a war that would divide father against son, brother against brother, and north against south.
As the nation divides over the great issue of how we are to protect our children from the armed gunmen who too many a time have entered our schools, places of worship and movie theaters. We find ourselves questioning the very identity of the country. Are we the people that focuses on the protection of our innocent and young against those who would corrupt and harm them, or are we entranced in a colonial mentality, with the automatic assault rifle under our pillow, and an NRA flag over our beds?
It becomes clear that as President Obama and congressional Democrats work to bring sanity to gun policy, through the implementation of common sense legislation from the gun trafficking law proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, to the assault weapons ban from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, that the rust of congressional gridlock will be hard to break free from. What will release congress from the suffocating grip of the python that is the NRA? What will restore peace and security to our schools? What will end the gun madness that has so diseased this nation?
The money that has corrupted the democratic process, has left the halls of congress full of servants of the special interest and corporation, and silenced the voices of the people. The thousands of dollars the NRA pumps into congressional campaign budgets, and the all important rating of approval that congressman beg for makes them act like dogs whining for a bone. It is only when we as a people unite through a common voice, it is only when we say enough is enough, and it is only when we realize that with the individuals right to bear arms comes our responsibility to ensure that they do not fall into the wrong hands, that we shall see an end to the blood that spills across the beautiful plains of America. A grassroots campaign to bring sanity to gun policy is vital to our success.
As it currently stands the path before us is long and tough, there are many battles against those who will scream for their ‘God given’ right to have a grenade launcher, and the hardship will be impossible to overcome if there is not a common civic passion to march forward upon it. A recent Pew Research poll found that the screams of the gun-toting Alex Jones’s of the world, are overpowering the calls for sanity and security for our children. Of the 1,502 Americans surveyed 15% of those who push the NRA agenda have contacted their representatives on the matter, while the gun control advocates who have done the same number at only 8%. The war chests necessary to implement such social change as we need on the gun issue are also far smaller than that of our opponents, with almost 25% of those who favor “gun rights” donating money to organizations furthering their cause, while a mere 5% of those who want reform doing the same.
This contrasts with the popular support for various gun control policies that were shown through another Pew Research Center Poll:
What this information tells us is that in the aftermath of the brutal shooting at the school in Sandy Hook, where the very innocence of this nation on the issue of guns was destroyed with the loud bangs of the gun, as the trigger was pulled and the shots heard around the world; is that the people may understand the need for change, but they do not have the sense of civic obligation to make it happen. Let us as one people unite and fight back with words not guns, let us create a revolution of public awareness over the problem of gun violence and how we can end it through the podium not the rifle, and inspire the citizens of America to call upon their elected officials to make change. It is only through such action that we may achieve a real and longstanding solution to this great American dilemma, and let us begin our march forward now.
By Peter Price
The student voice is one of the many things that, in my experience, I have found to have little respect. Not only from staff at educational institutions, but also among my fellow students. From secondary school, through to college I have always found that students have a lack of interest in getting involved with the student voice. Why? The answer is simple – for fear of being disregarded. When a group of students feel that something needs to change, or have an idea to improve their educational community, they will go to staff and inform them, often the staff will listen, but then turn around and simply say that the students’ ideas are ‘impractical’ or ‘to expensive’. This has led to students giving up on their right to improve their education.
Unfortunately, legislation by the Government doesn’t give secondary school students the right to a union student, but there is hope for college and university students. Legislation passed by the British Government in 1994, provides anybody or group of students promoting the general interests of students the right to be heard, and seriously considered. A body doing the aforementioned must have a Governing Body, or Trustee Board, who have legal responsibilities for making sure that the union has:
A written Constitution that is reviewed every 5 years.
Finances that are managed effectively.
Officers that are elected by a secret ballot and are fairly and properly conducted.
The option to ‘opt-out’ of the Students’ Union for Students.
A complaints procedure.
As a member of my Students’ Union, I am fairly knowledgeable to how students get to voice their concerns. My college is stretched across 7 campuses, with 45,000 students. When you enrol at my college, you are automatically a member of the Students’ Union, if you are over 16 years old. Every March, the Students’ Union holds an election. You may run for any position, providing you are member. You will elect 10 officers, for your campus, and a president for the overall student union. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of your campus along with the President shall make the Executive Committee, who manages the day to day management of the union. Within your course, you shall elect two representatives, who shall meet with the officers of your campus and discuss any issues you have once every half term. They will act on those issues, taking them to the College Campus management, along with your campus Student Liaison Manager, especially employed by the Students’ Union and College jointly. The Executive committee will meet and discuss college wide campaigns, such as Healthy College, Fresher’s Fair, Disabled Access and NUS Proposals. Despite the best efforts of the Union, the Liaison Manager will always try to change your plans slightly, in order to save money. This leads us to student’s feeling disregarded.
The key question is what can really be done about it? Legislation doesn’t require the institution to actually act upon the requests of the union, and the institution doesn’t have to fund the union either, but simply recognise it. So, how exactly should we proceed? A small minority call upon the National Union of Students to make a policy against the Government, to introduce legislation requiring all educational institutions to establish, listen, finance and act upon all requests by the union, even if those actions are fragmented, I guess the question is, will the motion be a National Conference 2013?
By Matthew White
The initial controversy behind the ‘Log Cabin Republicans’ is the liberalization of this traditionalist party. But in fact it isn’t liberalization at all per say, it is just becoming all inclusive. The LCR is working to build a stronger, more inclusive Republican Party by promoting the core values of limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, free markets and a strong national defense while advocating for the freedom and equality of LGBT Americans across the nation.
Myself being a Republican and being a gay man, is quite unusual. I truly believe that Log Cabin Republicans are proud members of the GOP, who believe inclusion wins. As there are many traditionalists in the GOP, there are that many that are open to inclusion and new ideas. Equality would be impossible to achieve without Republican votes. While the LCR works from inside the GOP, they educate other Republicans about LGBT issues and rights. This is the most effective way to gain new Republican allies for equality, not to rant or rave, but with a subtle yet firm and educating way. LCR also exists as a voice for GOP values among members of the LGBT community. The establishment of this organization serves as a great link to prominent party leaders and sharing important values to the LGBT community among Republicans.
Others may believe the more radical elements of the party such as the tea party are controlling the GOP, I feel however that especially after the recent results of the election, they have been reduced to a much smaller marginalized group. Do not confuse this as a lack of presence, but since they are so radically conservative and have crossed several lines, they have reduced in size from their prior influence. I feel that the LCR group is not “liberalizing” the Republican Party but rather as I have stated before, making it more all-inclusive. Honestly if you take a pause to think, opposing LGBT equality is inconsistent with the GOP’s core principles of smaller government and personal freedom.
Many have paused to state that the LCR is in many ways harming the very minority they are trying to help by being part of such a socially conservative political group. Well in the past there had to be several democratic representatives who worked very hard and tirelessly to bring equality into their party. Traditionally and historically, the Democratic Party has been more opposed to equality then the Republican Party. Take a look back to the Confederacy and Union during the Civil War. Democrats passed acts in South Carolina, Louisiana, etc. preventing freemen from truly being free and forcing them into a program closely resembling slavery that ended up in freemen, women and children being beaten and killed for wanting their equality in government. Democratic President Johnson at the time vetoed the first civil rights bill for African Americans believing in white supremacy. But at the end of the war, before Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, a GOP leader, rose to power because he and the party embraced the ideals of equality imagined by the founding fathers and ensured by the Constitution. When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a “new birth of freedom”, was given to the United States.
Now more than 150 years later, the GOP has another chance to choose fairness over discrimination, hope over present days fear, and freedom over oppression that is at hand. We must make the change we wish to see in the world, to ensure we have a country that in which EVERYONE is equal and this is what the LCR is trying to achieve in alignment with the GOP’s platform and values.
Problems with the American education system have been a hot topic in recent months, both at Visible Teens and within the wider media. Today’s post adds to the discussions on this important topic by taking a look at reforms that are in the works — and whether their results will likely be beneficial. Writer Abigail West, who just finished compiling MBAOnline.com’s Annual Online Program Rankings, comes to the blog with extensive higher ed expertise.
The link between vocational education and stimulated economic growth is well established. However, many academic experts have begun to question the value of technical training that fails to incorporate training related to entrepreneurship and business management; without these skills, they argue, vocational students are insufficiently prepared for success in the job market.
Earlier this year, President Obama announced plans to revise the Carl D. Perkins Act, an initiative intended to spur vocational education opportunities that was first proposed in 1984 and enacted six years later. The president’s proposal would increase discretionary spending by 2.5 percent (or $1.7 billion) for the 2013 fiscal year; furthermore, much of the $69.8 billion budget would be spent on creating vocational training opportunities for students at both the high school and college levels. The largest allotment, the $8 billion Community College to Career Fund (CCCF), would be used to train as many as 2 million workers in advanced high-tech sectors like software development, clean energy and healthcare. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told Reuters that CCCF would foster partnerships between two-year degree-granting institutions and local businesses, who would assist college officials in designing customized training courses — and potentially create internship and apprenticeship opportunities for students who are about to enter the workforce.
However, the administration’s proposal fails to address one widespread complaint about the Carl D. Perkins Act: that the initiative focuses too heavily on post-secondary education and largely neglects high school students who wish to secure jobs after graduation without attending college. Dana Goldstein, a writer for The Nation, recently noted that the president’s proposal requires all high school students (regardless of their individual, long-term career plans) to master the same “core academic content”. She draws comparisons to high schools in European countries — such as Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands — that require students to choose their career paths while still enrolled in high school; the subsequent courses they take are modeled after their decision, whether they choose a four-year university, technical school or no college at all. Incidentally, youth unemployment in the United States currently sits around 22 percent; in the aforementioned European nations, the youth unemployment rate is roughly 5 or 6 percent.
The president’s proposal also fails to take business skills into account for vocational students. According to a recent Kauffman study, 40 percent of people between 8 and 24 years old would like to create their own business, while a quarter of young men and women believe that entrepreneurial ventures represent a more secure career path than other job opportunities. Ostensibly, many of these individuals will enroll in some type of vocational training — and experts argue that these students will lose their entrepreneurial motivation if their education does not include risk management, financial analysis and other fundamental business skills. Cheryl Peters, executive director for the Generation E Institute, told Michigan Live that colleges can effectively serve students by emphasizing entrepreneurial skills (like creative problem-solving) in virtually every field of study. These skills not only boost the student’s resume, but also allow him or her to gain insight into the way businesses operate and determine which company role best suits his/her talents and aspirations. “In any career pathway that they might look at, they see there is an entrepreneurial aspect to it all,” she said. “Whether you want to be a doctor or a CPA or a welder or whatever you have as a career goal, entrepreneurship is part of every pathway.”
Vocational employees and entrepreneurs have both proven invaluable to the nation’s economic recovery, and academic experts are today arguing that an educational platform that combines these two fields would yield a crop of well-rounded students groomed for success in the current job market. President Obama’s proposed educational budget addressed the importance of vocational training and stands to create more opportunities for technical workers — but those who supplement their vocational studies with business management training are much likelier to succeed in the long-term.
By Abigail West
Abigail West is a writer and researcher for MBAOnline.com. Feel free to check out more of her writing!
As the cliff looms ever closer upon the nation, as partisan gridlock and the stock market plummets, the hope of compromise is dim in the midst of this political showdown. But as we come ever closer to the drop, let us look down to what we are falling into, for under closer inspection perhaps the result of such an event is one far more favourable than first believed. I in fact would argue that the proposed sequester is ever more reason not to fall with regret but to jump off the fiscal cliff. The political result of such an occurrence may in the eyes of the media and Wall Street be a disaster of epic proportions, but the truth is that a quick fix deal passed now would not be in the nation’s best interests, when much of what we desire in our progressive march forward would be achieved in the jump.
As it currently stands the chance of a serious change to the tax code to raise rates on the rich and a return to the sanity of the Clinton era is slim to none; the recent attempts of Boehner to implement the ‘Plan B’ in which rates would rise on incomes over a million, did not even have the support that he’d schedule it to a vote. The House Republicans either refuse to budge, set stubborn in there belief in economic inequality, or terrified by the powers of the Koch Brothers and Norquist, will not support a reasonable tax deal before the fiscal cliff. However, if no deal is made and the Bush tax cuts expire completely, this places them in a very different position. For then any deal proposed would not be a vote for a tax rise, but a tax cut that simply did not include certain economic groups. The Senate proposal to maintain tax cuts for middle and lower incomes is far more likely to pass the House after the drop off the fiscal cliff, especially if the Democrats refuse to support any tax cut deal including incomes over $250,000. Since this would mean the Republicans would have no choice but to support tax cuts excluding the rich; lest taxes were raised on all individuals for the reason that Republicans refused it because those of great wealth did not have it too.
If the Republicans refused to pass a deal that would give tax cuts to those who most need the income, this would be a perfect revealing of their firm belief in social economic inequality, and there indoctrination to the cause of the desires of the wealthy over that of the calls of help from the poor. Furthermore if Republicans refused a deal that would prevent the sequester cuts to the military-industrial complex because such a deal did not include tax cuts for the rich, this would not only reveal their commitment to economic inequality but would remove their security authority. This could even have the effect in switching the party polling positioning over the issue of the military, perhaps then it would be the Democrats not the Republicans the people turned to as the party that ensured national security.
The damage that the Republicans would face because of the failure of Congress to pass a fiscal deal to prevent the cliff drop, far supersedes that which the Democrats would have. Polling has continually shown that it is not centrist and compromising Obama who would be blamed, but the stubborn and radical House Republicans, who have held America hostage in their demands to appease the rich. Many of the entitlement cuts that the sequester includes is a sacrifice that would have had to be made either now or later, the belief that welfare will not be touched by deficit reduction is naive at best. But the main question is if the middle class and poor will suffer for the irresponsibility of a Republican administration, why is it that the rich should not have to face the consequences as well? It becomes clear now that the fiscal cliff is not something to be feared, for it is in fact the best hope of achieving a grand bargain, in which tax rates are raised on those who can afford it and we begin our journey to budgetary sanity, in which the only real thing to lose would be American faith in the Republican party.
By Peter Price
As the nation mourns the death of the young girls, boys and teachers that were so brutally killed, in Connecticut, we again have faced the pain of the bullet, the screams of the young and the loud bang of a gun. As the most innocent citizens of our country are murdered in the very schools they went to learn from, we must come to the realization that we cannot let this happen again and work to ensure the safety of our children. In the words of President Obama:
this is the fourth time (in his term) we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors. The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims… We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.
But are these the empty words, the hollow promises of change that he has consoled us with in the aftermath of so many a killing? This perhaps could be the last chance for his administration to make real change in America on the issue of gun control, to finally renew the assault weapon ban and tighten background checks through the nation. The actions of the President in the next month, will not only show his commitment to respecting the lost sons and daughters of Connecticut, but also tell us what we may expect of the President as he leads America through his last term.
If the President fails to act, to end the pain of the bullet and gun, that has so bloodied the fair fields of America, and taken the innocence of the little 6 year old schoolgirl who hid among the bodies of the fallen, then we will know what to expect of his last term: nothing. If the President fails to act, because the politics of it is too great for us to overcome, then we will know that his last term will not be of fulfilling the dream of America, his last term will not be the engine that will drive America’s progressive push forward.
In the aftermath of the Gabby Gifford’s shooting, various gun control proposals were created by the Justice Department to further regulate the selling of arms to the mentally ill, but it was soon shelved as a new election loomed over the White House. Let us hope that the President will not make this mistake again, for this will probably be his last and greatest chance at relieving America from this pain, but his past creates a vision of a grim future.
Will the centrist Obama of the past return, or will it be a new more liberal Obama supported by the mandate made by the American people through the election? Will the politics and partisan gridlock that has rusted over the wheels of forward America maintain? Or will the President finally fulfill the promises he has made to the American people, and achieve what some would call impossible, defy the NRA and put an end to the madness of this gun filled nation?
Let us pray for the souls of the innocent who have been taken through the evil and malice of this world, and let us have hope, that the new hope of Obama will finally lead to real policy solutions. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try. (President Obama Connecticut Eulogy)
By Peter Price
America that nation where all can be free to say what they wish, believe in what they desire and of course buy a grenade launcher. In considering this list one might ask which one is the odd one out? We must all agree that it is certainly the third. The right to bear arms is strongly guarded in the United States, viewed as a necessary tool of the people to defend their will and control of government.