Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama's Victory Speech A Welcome Return To American Ideals

Hello and welcome to the Think Tank.

It has certainly been a while since our last post but with the recent election I feel it is important that the Think Tank becomes active once again. Time-permitting, I hope to get the Think Tank up and running like it used to be.

I started watching the election coverage at 5:00 PM last night and did not stop until I knew who my president was. In my college endeavors and discussions with other young students it was painfully clear that few people really understood what was at stake in this election. Roe v Wade's (potential) overturning, the overturning of Obamacare, the re-implementation of trickle down economics, and the continued social stratification of our society were all in the line of fire.

Ideals aside, those around me had a very important point. It is all too easy to get lost in our political system. There is a lot of mud, plenty of dirt, and too much bickering for anyone to stay positive. I watched as many of the people around me became further and further disenfranchised with democracy. They could not understand how they fit into our political system. They could not see how they could possibly be heard through all of the shouting. They could not see who they were fighting for or why they had to fight so hard. Last night, regardless of political affiliation, the President heard those voices and gave us an answer.

President Obama explained that,

"If you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you'll discover something...

We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened up by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a planet...

We want to pass on a country that's safe and respected and admired around the world...

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag"

Did you catch the theme?

This election was not about us. It was about our children. And there is no room for wavering, no room for rolling over, and no room for giving up when your child's future is at stake. The election may be over, but our lives go on. We do not get the opportunity to vote every day, but every day we do have a choice: to roll over, or to stand tall for something and work toward a better future for our children.

Now, more than ever, is the time to heed Obama's words and stand for what you believe in. Live for your ideals. And join together for another four years.

Post thoughts/comments below.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Real Problem With U.S Manufacturing

Hello and welcome to the Think Tank

It has been a few years since I have posted on this site but I am now remembering its purpose as I go through college and believe that if there is ever a need for Americans to think, it is now. There must be a voice of thought and clarity within our modern age of distraction, and I believe that this site can aid in the cause. Today's subject is manufacturing, and how, mostly, our politicians are not being very straight with us as to why manufacturing seems to be such a weak point in the American economy.

I write today about U.S Manufacturing. I have been reading a lot of misinformation in the news about this subject and America's "official" stance. Every political candidate from Santorum to Romney to Obama are trying to be champions of manufacturing. Robert Reich wrote in this article from the Christian Science Monitor about how the Republican Party has embraced the idea that we need to get manufacturing jobs back in America. Coincidentally, so has the Democratic Party. The funny thing is, that while they make promises and tell us that they will do everything that they can to “fight for American manufacturing” (Rick Santorum) or show off tax cuts granted to Americans and small businesses, like the ones on Obama’s jobs and economy page, both parties are not addressing the real problem.

There is a general belief amongst us Americans that our manufacturing economy is in steep decline. This is all part of the whole China is a big threat belief, and that we need to go back to the glory days of the 50’s when America was a glorious superpower defending the world with its manufacturing based economy. There is one thing “wrong” and one thing “right” about this theory. The thing “wrong” about it is that profit-wise, American manufacturing is not dead and is not a lot of trouble. There are numerous articles that discuss this in detail and explain that, really American manufacturing is still posting massive profits, has led us to the possible end of the tunnel in of the recession and remains “remains the shining star of the U.S. economy,” (Mark Perry). But there is still a very large disconnect between the stability of U.S manufacturing and our perception of it. Here is where the thing that is “right” comes into play. Americans believe that manufacturing is in decline because, for the average worker, it is.

Manufacturing has seen massive increases in productivity while wages have remained stagnant. At the same time, manufacturing companies are posting record profits, largely, without any government assistance. The problem with the plans proposed by our presidential candidates is that they are helping the wrong people. The citizens in the U.S do not need bigger tax breaks for manufacturers, the average citizen needs a real wage increase. We need leaders in this country that recognize that the average American is overworked and underpaid.

And do something about it.


Post comments, arguments below.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Need for Unions In America

Hello and welcome to the Think Tank.

This week I have been inspired by those protesting the Anti-union legislation in Wisconsin. It seems clear that the debate has quickly transcended the idea of budgeting and has become an outright attack on unions and the bargaining laws that protect them. So in a show of support I would like to do a quick rundown of basic economics and why it is important for Unions to have the right to bargain for wage increases.

Let's cut to the chase. The economy does not function on "trickle down effect economics." Giving the rich more money does not mean our economy will magically prosper, and the average non-luxury business does not rely on the rich to buy all of their products because we live in a consumer-driven economy. Think about it this way: I go to the hammer store because I just broke my hammer. I have $20 and the price of my new hammer is $15. I buy my hammer and walk out.
If I had $120 would I have bought 8 hammers? Of course not. I only need one hammer for the job I am doing and buying any more would be a waste of money. I would buy one hammer and save the other $105. This same idea applies to the "trickle down effect" economic theory. The rich in our country have the same basic needs as everyone else. Sure they consume many high quality products but they can still only eat so much, buy so many couches, computers etc. They do not purchase enough goods for our entire economy to live on. The real spending power in our economy comes from the middle and lower classes. Without the main populace's consumption, overproduction would be rampant and our economic system would collapse. The more money the middle and working classes have, the more the working class will spend on disposable goods and as a result the more goods businesses will see fly off their shelves.

But hang on there what about businesses? Surely putting more money in the pocket of businesses would create a prosperous economy!
Not so fast, we have to understand that without anyone to buy those goods or services that businesses offer it doesn't matter how many tax breaks you give them, businesses will not make a profit.

The way that we make sure that people are able to buy the goods that businesses sell is through the creation of wages. We give the people who are working in businesses a living wage so that they can then go out and buy groceries, housing, and a hammer of their very own. But wages can't be too high because businesses have to make a profit and wages are a huge expense that any smart business model would minimize.

Because companies and businesses want to minimize the amount of money they spend on wages the workers often have to make sure that the other end of the spectrum isn't forgotten and they do this by forming Unions. In a Union, workers can make sure they are getting enough money to keep their lives afloat and ultimately the rest of the economy. Taking away the Union's right to bargain for wages means the delicate balance of wages and profit gets tipped in the favor of profit. Not only does this cause problems for individuals trying to pay their bills but it limits the amount of money that goes into the market economy and decreases the likelihood of spending by those who are experiencing wage stagnation. The longterm effects of which can be devastating.

So to those who are fighting for Union rights I salute you!

Post comments, arguments below