In economics this trimester, we discussed the idea of a revenue neutral carbon taxation and while I think the goal of the idea, to have less pollution in the environment is a very noble one, I do not think this is the best way to go about reaching the goal. Climate change is a real problem caused partially by carbon usage and in trying to do our part to lessen that effect, we thought of revenue neutral carbon taxing. According to the province of British Columbia, which has implemented such a policy, this is a situation in which, better alternatives to coal will be made cheaper and the tax on coal will be made higher. The idea is that this will promote usage of materials that are better for the environment without affecting people’s personal revenues.
While the concept behind this idea is very intelligent, I think it has one fatal flaw, the fact that it is revenue neutral. Anything that is revenue neutral has no affect on the amount of money a person can spend and therefore no effect on the environment. Yes, many people would see the money saving advantage of switching to more efficient methods, however, I feel some would understand the fact that not doing anything does not make them worse off and not change their ways.
I think we do need to do something to help us reduce carbon consumption in America and this idea is definitely on the right track, however, it may not be enough to get us all the way to where we want to be. We might need to consider either combining this method with others or using a different method entirely. My feeling is that many people in America will not feel affected by this policy change if it is revenue neutral because that means there are no negative consequences should someone fail to try to consume less carbon.
So far this year, I think the most interesting thing that our class has done was the mock trial of the Abigail Fisher Supreme Court case.(NY Times) It was not only good to learn about more current events, but also really enjoyable to act it out instead of just sitting at the desk, reading about it. It was interesting to learn about the actual proceedings of the Supreme Court and I think we very much appreciated the hands on experience as opposed to just learning in a more passive manner.
The Supreme Court case of Abigail Fisher versus the University of Texas is a hotly debated current event surrounding a high school students rejection from the University of Texas. Fisher’s argument is that she, a white female, was not accepted to the school while other minority students with lower academic achievements were accepted. She felt that she was denied entrance based solely on her race. However, the University of Texas argues in response that they encourage diversity and were not violating Fisher’s 14th amendment right but rejecting her but rather, they were accepting students that would make the school a more diverse place in order to prepare students more for the real world.
It is important for us to learn about and keep track of current events like this because it prepares us to one day be citizens of the real world who have to make informed opinions on a daily basis. Our generation will one day be the lawyers, legislators and Supreme Court justices that make decisions that could deeply affect people’s lives. To do so while uninformed about the issues at hand would be a disservice to the people who are governed by these decisions. It is imperative for me and people my age to learn how to stay informed because it prepares us greatly for the future.
There seems to be more intake of information for students, in my opinion, when we do things like act out supreme court cases as opposed to just reading about them. Reading is passive, boring and pretty much what we do all day. It’s nice to take a break, be engaged and active in our own learning process. People tend to be more interested in something like doing a mock trial of a current case than reading about the decision of one that has already happened.
The Supreme Court is one of America’s most interesting parts of the government because it makes decisions based on actual cases. It is crucial for us as possible future Supreme Court justices to learn how it works in a way that both interests us and helps us to understand the massive role it plays in the governing of American people.
On Wednesday, January 24th, Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, lifted the ban that said that women could not serve in certain combat positions in the military. This decision will open up thousands of more jobs for women. In 1994, the Pentagon made a rule that said that women cannot serve in artillery, armor, or infantry positions. This was over turned on Wednesday.
I am personally very much in favor of women having the same opportunities in life as men. I think it’s wonderful that women are now able to serve in combat positions and it’s a great step in the direction of gender equality. However, it is concerning that women might not be held to the same standards to qualify for certain military positions.
If the standards are different in qualifications like how fast the person can run, whichever gender does not have to run as fast may potentially be putting themselves in real danger when in serious situations. For instance, if a team made up of males and females planted a bomb in a building and then needed to run away, the gender that ran at a slower pace could have a serious problem if they don’t keep up.
Also, there is always the concern that women, if captured, will be tortured and raped. This may make them more vulnerable to divulge secret information. If the woman is captured in a group, the men might feel the need to give away information in order to protect the woman from harm. There are more dangers for women if they are placed in combat roles. However, the people signing up for these combat roles should be made aware of these possible risks beforehand. If it doesn’t deter them, then they should be allowed to serve their country.
There is also the issue of the draft and whether or not women should be required to sign up for it. I believe that it is only fair that if women get the same opportunity to serve, they are required to take the same responsibility to serve. People always say that with privileges comes responsibility. If women get the privilege of serving, they should also have the responsibility to serve should the time come when we need to use the draft again.
This issue relates back to the idea that “all men are created equal,” which is layed out in the Constitution. The idea has changed over the years and it now interpreted as all people are created equal which means that they should all have the same opportunities. However, it also implies that all people should be held to the same standards. If all people are created equal, gender should be of no consequence when considering the standards someone should be held to.
While I believe that Panetta is right to allow women into combat roles, he needs to be very careful in how he goes about this. He should carefully consider the issue from all possible angles before making a final decisions.