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Republicans Introduce Census Reform Bill

May 23, 2013 Leave a comment

This year we have studied both Government and Economics and worked on ways to relate our studies to the current events around us. This year has been one of Economic turmoil mostly caused by the Government’s struggle to achieve bipartisanship.In mid April the GOP began working on a bill that will limit the information the constitutionally required census will be permitted to ask us. This bill will have massive repercussions for the American economy. Not the state of the economy itself but the indicators used to calculate unemployment and the GDP itself. Making this story on primed for our economics class.

The Census is an essential part of both of our Governmental and Economic systems. Republican Representative Jeff Duncan has begun the process of pushing a bill through congress that will end the census as it is known today, limiting the amount of information that can be procured from it. This bill would limit the census to finding out information about population….and that’s about it. The bill states that the census may conduct only a  “decennial census of population,”.  It eliminates the part of the census that provides information about poverty, income, education, health converge and most importantly no economic census. Without further information, the ability to calculate unemployment rate will be hindered along with GDP. We would not be able to calculate unemployment rate because we would not know how many people are working nor what the people who are working are making. This eliminates our ability to know how much people are spending or saving. These pieces of information are important economic indicators for predicting and calculating GDP. Without this data the government will not know how to compensate for the economy. We willbe forced for a total hands off economy, removing government involvement entirely. Should this bill go through our Keynesian way of life could be put in jeopardy. As intrusive as the census could seem it it is a necessary part of our governmental system and essential to keeping our economy running in the state it is.
          Before our class I would’ve viewed the GOP census bill as something nominal, really not worth noticing in the scheme of things. Now I see the impact the census makes. The importance of these economic indicators and the governments involvement in our economy can not be corrupted because we want a little more privacy. This article made me reflect not only on economics but on the relationship between our study of the constitution and our economics studies. Although I may not understand everything about economics, I understand the impact it has made in our world now, and how important it continues to be.

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Government Reflection #1: Reflecting on Political Parties

March 2, 2013 Leave a comment

     It seems that that the United States has finally taken a step in the right direction when it comes to equal protection for all people. The Violence Against Women Act was finally passed by Senate. With a successful final push through the house the legislation creates and expands programs assisting local communities with law enforcement and aiding victims of domestic and sexual abuse. The most controversial part of the new legislation is that it goes further than just women to offer protection for gay, bisexual and transgender victims of domestic abuse. It also includes American Indian women who are assaulted on reservations by non-indians, it gives them the ability to take their case to tribal courts which would otherwise not have been allowed due to jurisdiction issues. This was a huge step forward for human rights in this country but a huge step back for Republicans. For the third time in two months Speaker John Boehner brought a piece of legislation to the table without the approval of a majority of house Republicans. Conservative republicans worry that continuing to give democrats the deciding vote in congress will give them too much power.

This story represents the best and the worst of the goings on in our country at the moment. While it seems we have finally reached a point in our history we can take a step through truly having equal rights for all people, we are still struggling to reach full success. It seems strange that we can pass a bill saying we will protect against domestic abuse between gay couples without allowing them to get married.  It seems that even with some of the most progressive minds of this generation in office we cannot get equality achieved. I think the biggest part of this event that connects to our class is the role the Speaker of The House has played as head of party. By definition he should be doing what he believes leads his party in the direction it wants to go and yet he put a piece of legislation on the table that republicans didn’t even help write, a point that minority leader, Nancy Pelosi. Republicans are the majority in the house right now but since they are divided among themselves the deciding vote is going to the democrats. With my new knowledge of how congress works and how parties operate it seems to me that this is the foundation of the issues that congress has been having. If the republican party can’t even get along with itself, how are they expected to reach major decisions with the republicans to solve major issues such as last December’s Fiscal Cliff Crisis? 

What our class has taught me is that Politics is ultimately the art of Negotiation. In a country of Millions, we elect a few hundred leaders. These leaders are meant to come together and figure out what is best for our country. Though it can’t be easy representing millions of opinions, these leaders need to be able to put their egos aside and save our country. In the end it doesn’t matter whether you’re Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, in the end we’re all American. 

Government Reflection #2: Reflecting on Congressional Government by Woodrow Wilson

March 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Through the past few months in Government we have explored the different faces of the American government. We spent a large amount of time on congress and their effectiveness and they struggled to find a solution to the fiscal cliff crisis and now gun control. Time and time we were disappointed by the lack of structure and effectiveness found in congress and the negative shadow it cast on the future of The United States. As we struggled to find a solution for our future we pushed forward in the class straight into Woodrow Wilson’s Congressional Government. It seemed that the explanation for our future failure lay in our past. Woodrow Wilson’s critical analysis of congress holds the key to fixing problems currently Plaguing the United States. As we read Congressional Government I found myself realizing more and more the level of confusion and misdirection our government puts out. Though modernly it can perhaps be blamed on social media I think differently, given that Woodrow Wilson wrote his whole Doctoral dissertation on the issue of confusion in congress. Woodrow Wilson, A Democrat and 28th President of the United States of America, was destined for a long career in politics. In his doctoral dissertation he writes of the confusion and ineffectiveness of congress. The lack of distinct leaders in congress and the process in which they address legislation falls under attack by Wilson. Comparing the Prime Minister of Great Britain to our own speaker of the house shows us how frail our own system can be.  Wilson states that”He (The Speaker of the House) sits too still in his chair, and is too evidently not on the floor of the body over which he presides, to make it seem probable to the ordinary judgment that he has much immediate concern in legislation after it is once set afoot.” He means that though all acknowledge the power of the speaker of the house he really doesn’t have much legitimate power. Modernly we have Speaker of the House John Boehner whose role extends much farther than being speaker of the house but to being the head of the Republican party. As if congress itself was not difficult enough to understand, we have our major party differences combining with the confusion of congress to create a mess of the system we call congress. So what do we do? If Woodrom Wilson saw issues with Congress in the mid 1800’s, and now almost 200 years later we are struggling with the same issues! With a president that faces attacks both on personal and national levels, A Congress that recently failed the USA by failing to enact effective legislation to prevent jumping over the fiscal cliff and a Supreme court that is being bombarded by revolutionary cases it seems our country is falling apart on all three sides. But the resources we have available since the days of Wilson have significantly increased. Our biggest tool may be Social Media. Though some may say that the citizens of the United States have no need to be heavily involved in our government, I say that transparency in the matters at the top of our countries docket will help American’s understand their own needs. The level of complication in all branches of our government is far too high. If we use social media to clearly explain the motivation behind the branches actions it will restore Americas confidence in the decisions made by the government. We should use this resource not only to empower the government but to hold it accountable. If America know’s the bills on the table in congress it can encourage the government to push it through or veto it. For our country to remain the great nation it once was we must ensure that with our growing population comes a growing ability to educate the people on the goings on in Government in an unbiased manner. If the American government creates a social media network that is  transparent and easy to understand, that holds the right people responsible for their actions in an unbiased way, then perhaps Americans could find a way to better understand their government. There will always be political parties, and the effort to change the set up of our government is too large a task for the United States to under go, but if we can clear some of the murk that blinds the people of the United States then perhaps we can reach a point where we see our government for what it truly is whether that be a good sight or not. The result of that being that the American people see the direct effects of the work done by the people elected. The people can only realize their own power when they see it’s results.

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