There have been a lot of discussions about whether or not online shopping is a positive thing or not. I personally enjoy the convenience, but many are concerned about a negative impact it can have on the economy. Browsing a website is easier than going to a store and browsing from aisle to aisle, and it’s open 24 hours a day. However, problems arise when it comes to the sales tax that seems to be left out on many internet purchases. Right now, “states can force only businesses that have a store, plant, or warehouse within their borders to collect their sales taxes on their behalf.” The Marketplace Fairness Act would change that. Should the MFA be put in place, it would force all out of state businesses to collect taxes. This would generate billions of dollars of revenue, based on the fact that the US spent $52 billion on internet products in Q1 of 2012 alone (source). The tax on internet sales would also compel people to go to stores instead, stimulating more activity in the economy by forcing businesses to hire more staff to
accommodate an increase in store shoppers. The internet management and the actual store staff are usually two entirely separate divisions, with a web-based store requiring a minimal number of employees. The pros outweigh the cons when it comes to implementing an internet sales tax.
The topic from Government class that stuck with me the most was the pathways of change. The United States is supposed to be free, and based off of personal rights. It can sometimes be hard to see how much influence an average citizen can have. It seems like the only people who have a say in anything are the government officials. The political positions are like placeholders for a large population of people, so they must effectively govern over their share of the population. There are, however, ways for citizens to invoke change, and these ways can be categorized into one of five pathways.
The grassroots mobilization pathway is the one that peaked my interest. It involves large groups of people, or the “grassroots” of our economy, to take a stand and let people know what they want. It is like a protest, in a way, just more peaceful. Labor unions, boycotting, and the media are all methods used in this pathway.
Another category is the elections pathway. This pathway is even incorporated in our Constitution. Every individual over the age of 18 is allowed to vote, and therefore decide who they want to hold a position of power. If someone isn’t doing a good job in their position, they won’t be voted into office for another term. This is very compelling motivation for most candidates to do what the people want.
A third pathway is the cultural change pathway. This involves a group of people making a point or statement that sways the opinions of the population. It can entirely change the culture and therefore what the public wants. When the public wants something, and the idea is widely accepted, there will be change.
The units we covered in Government have all helped me better understand what I can and should do as a responsible citizen. I have come to understand that there are many ways for a person to make a change in the modern world. One does not have to be in any important position to have a voice, and that comforts me. There are many current issues that can be solved through these pathways, and I am glad I understand them so that I may put them to good use in the future.
Any time someone hears the words “Gun Control”, all that comes to mind is whether it is good or bad. There are too many people that are willing to simply ban guns without realizing the consequences of taking such swift action. First of all, it is a constitutional right to own a gun, and that will not change. Some may say that it is only one amendment, and it is not a big deal if we trash it. If we allow our government to break a chunk off of the document that defines us as a country, where will they draw the line? The government could then suggest the same thing about our right to free speech, and slowly tear apart our rights one by one. This may be a fairly extreme scenario, but to make the best decision we must observe all causes and effects.
There are many people who take pride in owning a gun, and they aren’t all uneducated hicks. The people who use their weapon properly should not be blamed, and neither should their gun. A common slogan of pro gun owners is “If guns kill people, then mine must be defective”. There is no reason to point a finger towards the guns themselves, because it is the person wielding the gun that should be held accountable.
On a similar topic, even if certain powerful guns are banned, how are we supposed to react when a criminal does get a hold of said weapon? Making something illegal doesn’t remove the possibility of a criminal ignoring the law and using it anyway. When evil people realize that they have the better weaponry, their chances of getting what they want would greatly increase. When we remove the scenario where we, as innocent law abiding citizens, could fight back, bad people will feel more confident that they will succeed. It would turn an act of random violence into a terrorist situation. The New York Times states that if more people own guns, criminals would have to be more skilled. On the other hand, if less people own guns, then anyone could become a criminal. One wouldn’t need a special skill set to commit an armed crime.
The world is forever advancing, specifically in technology. Ever since the firearm has been introduced, it has been and will forever be a part of human life, at least until something more advanced is invented. While the idea of “Gun control” is well and good, no amount of political power can remove the guns from existence. The United States government cannot go around passing laws just to make people feel better. A government needs to lead, not simply people-please. If our government is going to make rash decisions like this, then I would hope that we can at least determine the lengths we go to that will ensure our personal protection, such as possessing a firearm.