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According to the CNN article, the Congress is set to vote on trade deals with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama (CNN, 1). The move comes in pursuit of the need for international deals in the agriculture industry. According to the proponents of the deals, the move, if the bill passes congressional approval, will let the US market have access to high quality agricultural products, such as beef, wheat and soybeans. The automobile industry also appears to be keen on having similar deals made on their behalf (CNN, 1).

According to lobbyists for these agricultural deals, the deals will create thousands of new jobs and result in about $13 billion profit in exports each year. Such high flow of capital is likely to stimulate the economy and help ease the credit crunch. There are, however, negative sentiments on the issue from certain quarters. Consequently, opposition for the proposals exists among certain critics of the program who view the special window to be specifically granted to the three nations as interference in the modalities of free trade. Therefore, lobbyists and critics may object to the move terming it as government interference in the free market policy (CNN, 1). Generally, optimists sympathetic to the agenda of the bill expect the Congress to approve the bills during its next session because in return the three countries are expected to open their markets for United States products more than before.  Generally, there is a debate as to whether the Congress should pass the deal or oppose the move altogether in favor of free market theory that the United States has stood for since the inception of the era of democracy and free trade policy. However, union groups opposed to the programs claim that there is little correlation between job creation and international trade deals since working conditions in Colombia, South Korea and Panama do not necessarily favour United States citizens’ foreign employment terms. Moreover, the move to include South Korea is viewed by political analysts as an American political trend to befriend one country to exploit North Korea in a move perceived as revenge against Asia. Nevertheless, the US Chamber of Commerce is keen on having the bill passed by the Congress in a move to streamline trade and commerce among the four nations; consequently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recommend the Obama trade deal to the Congress for approval (CNN, 1).

Jobs, Deficits, and the Misguided Squabble over the Debt Ceiling (Web)

The article by Koechlin highlights the unstable financial economy that our modern global economy has come to assume. Many American citizens have lost their jobs and are currently drowning in debt since most of those who lose jobs lack replacement opportunities. Banks and other financial institutions that were given credit by the Senate have reduced their urgency to lend credit. The economic crises of the past few years have widened the inequality gap between American populations in regard to personal incomes have fallen considerably causing anxiety in the general population of the United States. The economic recession has not spared the US government, and it is now falling into calculated debt by borrowing. Just recently, lifting of the debt ceiling by the government was a major measure the Congress used to help keep the federal government’s obligations to the public attainable. The federal government spending is increasing while the income of population is reducing; probably, taxes are likely to be imposed in the future to cater for the increasingly unstable expenditure policy.

According to Koechlin (1), the current perspective by the Republicans on the best way to handle the economy is hugely misleading and impractical since the party is not assuming leadership position in providing solutions to the current economic crisis. Some economic analysts have even gone so far as to assert that the dilapidated economic policies created by the Democratic government administration might benefit the economy more than the approach preached by the republicans who seem to be quite passive and only concerned about succession politics than urgent measures to save the  country’s economy (Koechlin, 1). According to the article, the Republicans are asking for unattainable economic principles whereby the party is demanding that the government should cut back on spending; yet, the Republicans lack statistics on how detrimental the option is to the labor market. Reduced spending correlates with sacking of government employees, something that may lead to social demonstrations and ultimately disrupt the United States business environment. Furthermore, the middle class is still feeling hardships caused by the current economic recession and is still in need of monetary stimulation from the government. Therefore, while the Democratic government is weighing options how to stimulate the economy, the Republican Party is adamant that reducing government expenditure can help the economy regain growth, but just how that may happen still remains a mystery.  

Against the Motion (Visiting Fellow, Hudson Institute)

On this debate forum of The Economist, a heated discussion goes on as to whether nations such as the US should exploit their untapped natural resources in the coming years. Lee-Lane (1) opposes the motion which is based on the findings uncovered through benefit-cost analysis. Lee proposed a case-by-case benefit-cost analysis. The proposed approach, Lee argues, helps in diverting the problems that cost-benefit analysis brings with it. Therefore, Lee (1) concludes that a more careful approach should be adopted which takes account of each of these cases in the exploitation of previously untapped natural resources, and should only proceed because of the viability of each individual case (Lane, 1). Broad assumptions will lead to losses and setbacks that will greatly compromise the effectiveness of the entire system; hence individual appraisal of the projects is necessary.

 Senate Takes Aim at China's currency (CNN Money)

The US senate is putting the blame for the deteriorating economy on the undervaluation of the Chinese currency (Liberto, 1). According to lobbyists in support of the claim, China’s weakening currency has resulted in trade imbalances on the global scene. In an effort to curtail the alleged effects of the undervalued currency, the senators are considering passing a bill that will increase the level of duties paid by the Chinese on the imports landing in the US. Republicans consider this more of a political agenda than a legislative duty. However, the fight started way back before the new approach was considered, when American government officials tried in vain to make the Chinese allow their currency to appreciate more rapidly.

The artificially low currency is responsible for cheaper exportations from China, which is unfair to other exporters around the world (Liberto, 1). Some of the issues the bill will address include the mandate by the administration to place tariffs on nations that undervalue their currencies. The bill also intends to force the Commerce Department to respond to demands to investigate any accusations leveled against countries that apparently undervalue their currency. Some of the measures the bill proposes are more drastic and direct. For instance, the bill will also prohibit trade with the said countries by the Federal government (Liberto, 1).

Chinese leaders dismiss the bill as a sham to divert the attention of the voters from the leaders over the dilapidating US economy (Liberto, 1). China believes that the intentions behind the bill are purely political. However, politicians and stakeholders in the trade sector also argue that if the bill finally passes, the trade market will open up to political manipulation which will harm trade relations and ruin international trade in the end. A diplomatic proposal by the Obama administration is the right way to go about the issue but the actual efforts to achieve the same are yet to materialize.

 Minimum Wage to Rise in Eight States (CNNMoney)

According to the article by Luhby (2011), minimum wage will increase in eight US states next year. The changes come due to the automatic annual increases in the pay rates in the states. The rates will grow by an estimated 28 to 37 cents. The adjustments come in response to automatic wage rise programs that run in the states. The increase comes at a time when salaries are stunted and wages have experienced a seven percent dip in the last decade. The minimum federal rate is generally below state minimums and allows the full-time employee to make about $15,000 per year, which is the federal minimum earning considered below the poverty level for a four-member family.

The increases in the minimum wages are more than welcome at a time when the job market is inadvertently drifting towards lower paying jobs (Luhby, 2011). Most of the jobs being created are on the lower side of the pay scale. Some people are of the opinion that the federal rate needs to be increased to be about $10. Dissenting voices say that the same could reduce the rate of hiring by corporations, which may result in adverse job market conditions. Efforts to increase the federal minimum wage may materialize next year. 

The People’s Budget (Web)

The People’s Budget, according to Miller (1), is a budget that modifies the budget to meet the needs of the people. People’s budget is supposed to improve employment and reduce budget deficit through relevant fiscal policies. The article articulates the opinion that the leadership is blind to the demands of the people as seen in the federal budget (Miller, 2011). Therefore, for the budget to appeal and alleviate the economic storms people are weathering, people have to take active part in the drawing up of the priorities that are featured in the budget. There is a need to develop policies that will get the US out of deficit, raise wages and possibly get the country out of the current recession. It is expected that realization of the People’s Budget will mark the beginning of ideal freedom of the United States from the control of the White House and Senate.   

Plans to Cut the Debt (Web)

Plans are in the works to cut the national debt by about $3 trillion over the next ten years (Sahadi, 1). The idea behind is that a more sustainable future is necessary for the US economy. The reduced debt coupled with increase in taxes for corporations and high earning individuals will help lower the national debt and keep favorable economic situations sustainable in the long run.

Paying of higher taxes by the corporations means that the government’s debt burden will fall considerably (Sahadi, 1). The bill is based on the premise that the rich should be taxed more. Competing interests in the bill are not as enthusiastic about the same, especially after learning that the bill does not include their recommendations for related reforms. The Republicans are categorically opposed to the bill, since their election campaign is based on a platform of reducing taxes for all individuals and corporations.

Defending the motion Executive Director (Web)

In defense of the motion on exploitation of natural resources, Sauven (1) takes a largely environmentalist view. Sauven attacks the opinion by Lane (1) that the decision to exploit untapped natural resources should be based on the economic viability of the project under consideration. Sauven takes the view that further exploitation will only add to the damage of the atmosphere, and goes against the efforts to reduce the impact of humankind’s carbon footprint on our planet, a viewpoint even Lane appears being sympathetic to. Environmental issues affecting the ozone layer, the quality of carbon dioxide and other gases remain a concern for many environmentalist and their activists who feel that the government has no right to exploit natural resources, unless a plan is first drawn up on how the resources will affect the socioeconomic status of the United States. Adverse impacts of oil exploration have already been witnessed following the latest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which caused devastating economic and social effects whereby fishing and tourism industry ground to a halt.

Rank-and-File Economics (Web)

The article summarizes some of the measures by the government to revive the economy in the current recession (Sciacchitano, 1). The writer goes into the historical and global details and their significance to the issue, and proceeds to offer useful insight into the current economic situation in the US. The issue of assaulting rank-and–file union activists facing increased attacks from the working class and feeling the target of their campaigns is dealt with in the article (Sciacchitano, 1).  The article articulates that fact that the economic life of the United States can only change if the government and the community work together to bridge economic gaps. Rank-and-file union lobbyists who are facing consistent pressure from the working class have the right to articulate their concerns about the state of the US economy, but negative resistance from workers and government officials is expected to heighten.

Cops for Labor? (Web)

The article by Williams (1) highlights issues to do with labor movements and police labor unions. Police administration is accused of suppressing social reprisals by using force and the uniquely violent nature of their profession, thus reducing the possible impact of social movements significantly. The police are forced to accept the working conditions handed down to them by their superiors according to the command hierarchy in the profession. The article points out that the hierarchical bureaucratic police leadership creates a negative culture in which the police lack a credible platform to air their views and unite with the society if it is to fight crime better.  The government is deliberately muzzling labor movements within the police force, and this will result in consistent use of violent measures to curb crime.

The suppression of police labor movements will worsen the labor movement situation and pose a greater challenge for the government (Williams, 1). According to the article, what cannot be solved in one way will inadvertently be solved in another way, regardless of the consequences. Illegalizing civil movements will not suppress reprisal but only open other fissures of resistance from the unions and movements, which will be an even bigger problem for the government to handle, even though the government can use violence to intimidate social reformists.  

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