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A college degree is an investment that has high returns for both the individual and the society. Although college fees are expensive, the rate of return of investment in college education is worth it. Census Bureau statistics have shown that Bachelor's degree graduates earns $2.1 million; associate degree holders earn $1.6 while high school graduates earn $1.2M. Annual tuition fees for a 4-year college are approximately $8,660 while a 2-year college it is about $ 1360. The disparity of the earnings between high school graduates and those with a bachelor's degree can be justified with the fact that tuition fees for college is expensive. This shows that the more a student invests in education, the higher the returns.
Institute for Higher Education Policy reports shows that students who go for college education get many benefits that are beyond income. They save a lot more than the rest, have informed consumer decisions, better quality of life, professional mobility, and engage in leisure activities. A report by the Carnegie Foundation shows that college degrees enable students to think rationally and independently while being open-minded. They also have decreased prejudice, knowledge of world affairs, job security. Due to increased level of income, they are able to provide good care for their children and the outcome is reduced mortality. Higher education also leads to enhanced cultural and family values. Women graduates are very optimistic and tend to spend more time with their children and family and this strengthens the social bonds. Public benefits include reduced reliance on governmental support, increase in tax revenues, a strong and skilled workforce, and an overall increase productivity. Students should pursue college education because the returns outweigh the costs implying that higher education is an investment that has high economic returns for both the public and individual.
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Clean, Unpolluted, and Affordable Water
Current levels of clean water have reduced drastically as the population grows and the future is based on water management. Bottled-water marketing creates an illusion that tap water is unsafe and should never be consumed but the reverse is true. Bottled water creates the impression that "if it is in a bottle" then it is safe and clean which is not true. Various studies have shown that bottled water is contaminated with carcinogens and bacteria due to lack of control in production. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s 1999 report showed that 20% of bottled water has neurotoxins and carcinogens like styrene toluene and xylene. A second study by NRDC showed that 30% of the total 103 brands had E.coli bacteria and arsenic. In 1990, Perrier recalled water because it was contaminated with benzene, a deadly carcinogenic substance.
The manufacture of water bottles consumes many natural resources than expected. Polyethylene terephtalate (PET) is an environmentally non-biodegradable plastic that is used to make water bottles. Manufacturing a kilogram of PET requires about 18 kilograms of water. This shows that more water is used in manufacturing than is actually put in them. In 2002, 14 billion water bottles were used in the U.S alone. 1.4 billion Bottles were recycled while 12.6 billion were dumped. This shows that bottled water is a wasteful luxury. The solution to this problem is investing in the public water system to make it safe, clean, secure, and affordable by using an environmental friendly delivery system. A filter is used for distilling tap water and the money spent on bottled water should be used to protect watersheds and other water sources. The public should stand up against the selling of America's water to multinational water-bottling corporations that jeopardize the lives of Americans by creating awareness on the importance of tap water. The water industry should be effectively controlled to ensure that it adheres to the Food and Drugs Act.
Extended Unemployment Benefits
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On Wednesday, the extended unemployment benefits for almost 2 million Americans will be severed. This means that the steady income that has supported the unemployed people who struggle with unpaid bills is no more. This guarantees a miserable Christmas for many Americans unless the Congress approves extension of benefits. The benefits had been set to sustain people over a period of 99 weeks and their end is this month. Wayne Pittman, a 49 year-old carpenter of Lawrenceville, Georgia is one of the people who are hard hit. Over the decade, his working hours have declined from 80 hours per week to about 15. His final $297 check will pay for the necessities and for his nine-year-old son and wife-no presents. The unemployment benefit per week is $302.90. However, this figure varies from state to state. Supplemental state programs make it uncertain to know who will get the first benefit cuts.
Congressional representatives opposing the benefits say that fiscal responsibility should come first and extension of benefits will add national debt, which is currently at $13.8 trillion. The Director of Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte, N.C, Carol Hardison, says that cash assistance is one of the measures that will act as a stopgap. The organization has had more than 20,000 people since the start of the Great Recession in 2007. They have to talk to people on how they will have to move out of the homeless shelters. 30-year old Felicia Robins faces this hopeless predicament. She is jobless with five children, a paltry $500, and no benefits but she has to get out of the homeless shelter and walk in search of work. 61-year-old Jeanne Reinman of Greenville, S.C, lost both job and benefits, cannot use credit cards and has to pay mortgage or face foreclosure. Shawn Slonsky and his wife lost their jobs, house and they moved with their three children to live with parents.
The Great Recession came with the vanishing of many jobs. As of October 2010, the unemployment rate is at 9%. Employers still claim that people are overqualified perhaps as a way of evading hiring but in any way Christmas is bleak throughout America. The Congress should reverse its decision or get an alternative to stop stress, uncertainty, and tension among Americans.