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Herrin Assignments
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Obama's budget proposal limits his bargaining power, angers fellow Democrats over benefit cuts

Obama's budget proposal limits his bargaining power, angers fellow Democrats over benefit cuts | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's budget overtures to Republicans may limit his bargaining power if the GOP ever returns to the negotiating table on a grand deficit-reduction deal
Lily Folkerts's insight:

Some of the budget cuts that Obama, the President of the United States who is currently serving in his last and second term, has included have baffled Democrats such as the voluntary entitlement cuts he has placed on the table in attempts to please the GOP (GOP is another name for the Republican Party). The two main political parties in the United States are the Republican and Democratic Parties. All other parties, such as libertarians, are refered to as third parties. This move threatens the Social Security Act of 1935 as well as social spending because it will slow the rise of Social Security benefits. The Act has been an integral part of the Democratic party and of their party platform and a piece of legislature that they are very proud of and strongly support. Obama has also offered to alter his 3.8 trillion dollar budget that would now create  new "chained CPI" in exchange for a 580 billion dollar tax increase on the wealthy. The "chained CPI" is a better gauge of inflation for the general population. But former chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden has advocated for a separate formula for the elderly that takes into account faster growth in the cost of health care. He also says that he would've waited until abosultely necessary to put that deal on the table. The White House insists that this is a Republican proposal that was discussed last year during past budget talks and that Obama had to include the Social Security change so he would not be accused of backing out on previous talks and offers. Taxes did increase in January by $600 billion.

It is interesting to see how political parties will give and take due to this budget proposal. It is smart of Obama to start offering greater compromises because he has less than a term left to complete what he has set out to complete. Though the economy has improved, the change he has promised to make has been competely recognized. We may have averted the fiscal cliff, but we still have a long way to go.

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Yikes! Economy shrank in fourth quarter for the first time since ’09

Yikes! Economy shrank in fourth quarter for the first time since ’09 | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it
Growth slowed down in the fourth quarter. Here's why.
Lily Folkerts's insight:

Part of this article suggests that the GDP and economy took a down turn becaue of the weather issues that caused problems in transit and also decreased sales. This decrease in GDP is the first since 2009.Besides the drop in defense spending, which was discussed at great length in an earlier article I scooped, a drop in business investiment contributed to the decreased GDP.The $40 billion decline in inventory subtracted 1.25% from GDP growth. The end of the article cautions against celebration for the increase in consumer spending. The payroll tax break expired and people will soon feel the siphoning of money from their income.

This article shows how many different layers and elements there are to the GDP. Not only does it show direct, consumer spending (and not spending), defense spending, and investent spending, but it also shows how a decrease in income can affect consumer spending which can affect GDP.

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Nicole Stankus's curator insight, February 5, 2013 10:43 PM

Towards the beginning, the article hinted that the GDP's fall of .1% was due to" weather-related disruptions." As more accurate data comes in the GDP may change slightly, however it is expected to stay negative which is the first time since 2009. However whatever caused the GDP to fall seems to not be a problem as we move forward. This is due to the increase in buisness spending on software which rose 12.4% and personal consumption expenditures which rose 2.2%. Housing even took an upward stride of about 15.4%. As to what caused the drop in GDP, a cut in defense expenditures certainly played its part, falling 22.2%. Not only did federal defense spending fall, but a drop in inventories as well as a decline in the amount of exports. It is clear that many other factors, not just the weather have contributed to the GDP's fall. As for 2013, in 2012 the consumer spending held strong, but that was before the increase in payroll taxes, lending to an uncertain path for the GDP in 2013.

Sarah Nguyen's curator insight, February 14, 2013 4:48 AM

The GDP fell at .1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter when it was predicted by analysts that the fourth quarter would be experiencing a 1.1 percent gain. Although this is clearly bad news, relief can be found in the fact that the causes of the decline should be resolved and not happen again. The two major components of the GDP that have caused the decline were a decline in defense spending and a depletion of business inventories. Part of the defense spending decline in the fourth quarter balances the unusual gain from the third quarter, and businesses will eventually have to purchase more inventories.While the eventual increase in the GDP is reassuring, there is still danger of a steeper decline because of the effects of expired payroll tax break.

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Why defense spending plunged 22% last quarter — and killed GDP

Why defense spending plunged 22% last quarter — and killed GDP | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it
Had the Pentagon not cut back on spending, the economy would have grown at a weak but positive 1.27 percent pace.
Lily Folkerts's insight:

This article expounds on why a 22.2% cut in military spending by the Pentagon caused the GDP to drop .1% instead of rise 1.27% had the spending not been cut. But, this cut was somewhat expected. Government agencies typically tend to spend more during the third quarter because the fiscal year ends in September and because they want to make sure the government allots the same or more amount of money for the agency for the next year. Thought he cut was expected, the extent of it was unexpected. Spending increased 13% in the third quarter and dropped 22.2% in the fourth. There are a few reasons for the drastic change in spending. First, the Defense Department was facing the prospect of losing money, given to it but not yet spent, in budget cuts.Second, the Pentagon was preparing for budget cuts that were originally schedualed for January but pushed back to March.

I think the article was really interesting. I didn't know when the fiscal year ended and now that I know, it makes perfect sense as to why GDP would drop during this time period due to the decrease in government spending. Perfect way of applying the expenditure formula we learned for GDP into real life!

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Yessenia Leal's curator insight, February 6, 2013 2:40 PM

Givernment military spending greatly affected the GDP last year. The Pentagon spent less money on military spending. That means less spending with Irag and Afghanistan. If the Pentagon had spent this amount of money then the amount would of grown

Matt Kellogg's curator insight, February 6, 2013 10:01 PM

shows how much the defense spending cuts hurt the GDP, why it looks bad

Emily Koehn's curator insight, February 6, 2013 11:58 PM

This article explains the effects that defense spending has on the national GDP. The cut in expenditures is a directly relaed to military activity, which provides evidence that the GDP is greatly affected by military endeavors. 

 

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The New Price of American Politics

The New Price of American Politics | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it

SCOOPABLE FOR UNIT 2

(Next week, you'll receive a hard copy to read.)

Summary: The majority of the article focused on the differing views of Bopp and Potter. However, I will focus on Bopp's views because they are the most extreme (Potter is used as the voice of reason in this article). Bopp holds a parallel view to campaign spending than the average American and reformer. He started as an unknown lawyer you swung "the first amendment like a hatchet". He also helped get the Citizens United case to the courts (though he did not end up speaking at it). This case helped open the doors to super PACs, which are currently in their second time of the general elections. Super PACs are "going to equal candidate spending" and have already raised 349 million dollars since August 23 (60% of the money came from 100 donors). Already, Super PACs are paving the way to eliminate contribution limits. In Illinois, if a super PAC spends over $250,000 the contribution limits will be erased for that race.

 

Analysis: Bopp is portrayed as a crazy hard-core advocate of money, money, money in campaigning. However, some of his ideas make a valid point. In the article, he said that spending  brings more information and knowledge to the public. Many people do not know their representatives name or party. By having the public (and corporations) more involved in campaigning (ie spending more money), people will know more and care more about politics. In his opinion, scratching limits and laws will make it easier for people to be involved and to support a candidate they believe in (valid point). However, I think that a person today who really supports a candidate, with all the regulations in place, will go out and try to help their candidate win. Bopp made a concession in the article which I did not like. He said that sometimes he does wake up and think, a congressman can be bought for a couple hundred thousand dollars and what I am lobbying for would make that more possible. But, on a good day, he says he wants "no limits"! This concession hurt him and made me doubt his ideas even more than I did in the first place. If Bopp does not fully support his ideas and fully believe they are right, than why should I? In the end, his views are way to extreme for me, and many of the American people, to back and support. The article portrayed him as a lunatic and it may not be too far off from the truth. On a side note, I really liked the authors tone and voice in the article- he inserted just enough jokes and puns so that the article was entertaining yet still educational.

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Will Egypt's leaders calm or fan the crisis? - CNN.com

Will Egypt's leaders calm or fan the crisis? - CNN.com | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it

What is happening in Egypt....In Cairo, on Tuesday, Egyptians protested outside the U.S. embassy because of an obscure American movie that depicts Islam in a negative way. Protesters managed to take down an American flag and replace it with an Islamic flag. The Egyptian government is in some-what of a bind. While their citizens are encouraging them to defend the faith, the government has political obligations to the U.S. (4.8 billion in International Monetary Fund loan and the U.S. is looking into forgiving 1 billion of Egypt's debt). However, if the government does not take some action to support its citizens, the economy will only get worse- as riots and protests will continue.

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Daily Presidential Tracking Poll - Rasmussen Reports™

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll - Rasmussen Reports™ | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it

Additional polling website to keep track of.

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Eerie Echoes From The First State Of The Union

Eerie Echoes From The First State Of The Union | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it
More than 200 years after the first State of the Union, the issues haven't really changed.

Via Teresa Herrin
Lily Folkerts's insight:

At first thought, the concept of a 2013 State of the Union being similar to that of President Washington is questionable and unexpected. However, upon further thought, the notion that the State of the Unions are similar makes perfect sense. Throughout the history of the United States, and the history of many other countries, the same issues are held constant.Though the topics are similar, specificson each topic are different. For example, both Obama and Washington seek/sought to focus Congress. However, Obama sets out specific recommendations while Washington did not. Washington and Obama are similar in that they both promote the private ownership of guns but that that ownership be monitered and regulated. Because of the Conneticut school shooting, this is sure to be included in the speech of Obama. Finally, spending and being fiscally responsible. Both Washington and Obama focused on/ is focusing on the increase in education spending and infrastructure spending. Then, as now, the education system needs to be revamped and methods of transporation (roads, highways) need to be maintained. It is interesting to be able to draw these parallels and it will be interesting to see whether or not Obama hits many of the key points as Washington did 200 plus years ago.

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Chinyere Stallworth's comment, February 12, 2013 11:05 PM
After reading this, I can see why they are semi-similar. Obama was calling for the same things as Washington back in the years. Washington wanted Congress to focus because they were still a young government that could go horribly wrong. He needed them to put the country ahead of their own desires. That is what Obama wants, but the bipartisanship, that Washington lacked, has made it extremely difficult. Washington called for a free armed people with ways to keep them safe. While I do not believe we should ban guns, more regulation is needed. Obama called for that in his speech as well. Obama believes that less immigration laws are in order and Washington had the same idea. That those who want to come to America should be allowed. It is a free country and if you decide to be apart of that freedom, that is fine with us. Washington believed that relationships with other nations were necessary to survive. Obama knows that America depends too much on foreign power now. He thinks we should wean ourselves from the nourishment of other countries and I agree. Washington called Congress to realize the national debt forged by the Revolutionary War and Obama is calling for a decrease in our debt now.
Chinyere Stallworth's comment, February 12, 2013 11:09 PM
Obama has touched upon most of the topics he has promised to address and after his state of the union, I feel more confident in our president. He has called attention to the immediate problems of the debt, the wars, education, military, guns, and even energy. He forced Congress into a corner to make decisions for these areas, and he put the responsibility on himself as well as Congress.
Chinyere Stallworth's curator insight, February 12, 2013 11:10 PM

After reading this, I can see why they are semi-similar. Obama was calling for the same things as Washington back in the years. Washington wanted Congress to focus because they were still a young government that could go horribly wrong. He needed them to put the country ahead of their own desires. That is what Obama wants, but the bipartisanship, that Washington lacked, has made it extremely difficult. Washington called for a free armed people with ways to keep them safe. While I do not believe we should ban guns, more regulation is needed. Obama called for that in his speech as well. Obama believes that less immigration laws are in order and Washington had the same idea. That those who want to come to America should be allowed. It is a free country and if you decide to be apart of that freedom, that is fine with us. Washington believed that relationships with other nations were necessary to survive.

Obama knows that America depends too much on foreign power now. He thinks we should wean ourselves from the nourishment of other countries and I agree. Washington called Congress to realize the national debt forged by the Revolutionary War and Obama is calling for a decrease in our debt now. Obama has touched upon most of the topics he has promised to address and after his state of the union, I feel more confident in our president. He has called attention to the immediate problems of the debt, the wars, education, military, guns, and even energy. He forced Congress into a corner to make decisions for these areas, and he put the responsibility on himself as well as Congress.

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'Best-Looking' GDP Drop You'll Ever See

'Best-Looking' GDP Drop You'll Ever See | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it
Negative economic growth in the fourth quarter provided a scary headline to start Wednesday's trading but probably little else in market impact.
Lily Folkerts's insight:

The article suggests that the decrease in GDP may not be the United States' biggest problem. Though many people are frightened by a decrease in GDP, a larger concern should be in stocks. Though overall GDP dropped, consumer spending rose (2.2%. Savings also rose to 4.7%), suggesting that the economy is back on track.

I really liked, "Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "has to keep the economy high as a kite. He has to make sure we don't sober up and realize how screwed up we are," said Peter Schiff, founder and CEO at Euro Pacific Capital in New York. "We don't have a real recovery. It's an illusion, it's a drug-induced high. The minute you take away the drugs we come down. We can't stop easing, ever.""

Schiff's comment was humerous, but it had an underlying ring of truth. Though things appear to be on the right track, there is alot of work that needs to be done before we can be sure that a good economy is back and here to stay.

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Zachary Beery's curator insight, February 7, 2013 11:46 AM

This article says that th recent drop in GDP isn't that bad cause it is mostly due to the recent cut in goverenment spending. this is pretty much just the drop before the big leap that hopefully comes soon.

Sarah Nguyen's curator insight, February 14, 2013 4:58 AM

Even though the GDP has dropped at .1 percent, it is reassuring to know that it is largely because of government spending and business inventories. Consumer spending and the private sector in general was able to grow more than the previous quarter, even despite the natural disaster Sandy.

Patrick Demitis Brown's comment, February 21, 2013 12:06 AM
GDP is probably going to be just as low or lower in the second quarter, once we've gotten rid of the payroll tax cuts. Im not sure how our congress isn't doing anything about that, this will increase taxes, defense spending going down, the number of consumers able to spend will go down and GDP will go down more sooo......
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Libertarian Gary Johnson says he'll be on presidential ballot in every state, by far outpacing any other third-party nominee

Libertarian Gary Johnson says he'll be on presidential ballot in every state, by far outpacing any other third-party nominee | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it

Summary: Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential nominee, believes if he is included in televised presidential debates he will have a chance at upsetting the majority. However, he stresses that he must be included in the televised segments. Already, he is making a huge splash as a third party candidate because he will be on all 50 states' ballots (though the details are stiill being ironed out in Pennsylvania Michigan)- no other third party candidate will come close to that. The Green party nominee, Jill Stein, will be on 38 ballots.The reason why the Green party isn't on as many ballots? You guessed it, money. While the Libertarians are also not recieving much in donations, the Green party is receiving even less. Therefore, they do not have the resources to gather signatures and pay enormous filing fees.

Reaction: I think its great that third parties are making huge efforts to compete with Democrats and Republicans and to be on as many ballots as they possibly can. I think they all should have the right to be on every ballot but, at the end of the day, money is always the issue. I understand why the government does not just allow any third party candidate be on the ballot with out any filing fees, etc. It is because there would be a huge list of candidates (many from parties the average American has never heard of). I also understand why Johnson feels the need to be on TELEVISED debates to have a chance of upsetting the major-party nominees. Being on television (and of course doing well in the debates) will get his name and face out to the public. People are more likely to vote for him if they recognize him and have heard him defend his views.

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Money, Power, Ruses, and the Right to Vote

Money, Power, Ruses, and the Right to Vote | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it

SCOOPABLE FOR 9/18 -- HIGHLY Recommended! 

   The article brings up concerns of voting rights, saying though the Voting Rights Act has made voting more fair, voting rights are still not equal for all Americans. The article then launches into the results of the Citizens United Court vs the Continuing Importance of the Voting Rights Act (2010) in which the court ruled in favor of Citizens United, therefore granting much political power to corporations and special interest groups. (Many claim the court ruled in favor of Citizens United,a conservative non-profit group, because a majority of the Supreme Court Justices are conservative.)

   Along with increased corporate power, GOP lawmakers are making it harder for individuals to vote by requiring certain kinds of IDsto vote (IDs which are supposed to help root out voter fraud). The article claims that the courts rendered evidence irrelevant and that they de-emphasis the need for evidence. Instead of relying on evidence, the courts declared that the mere threat of voter fraud was enough to justifylaws making it harder for citizens to vote. (The article cited an example of the Pennsylvania Voter ID law which could disfranchise about 750,000 citizens. The case is currently in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.)

     In the end, the right is organizing "poll watchers" at ballot boxes while the left is going to turn out to watch the "poll watchers".

 

Reaction: While reading the article, I couldn't help but notice the author's obvious disliking for the right and any form of voter ID card. I'd just like to point out that Voter ID cards are not just being required for those that "can't afford cars". They are required for ALL voters in the given area that the cards are required. Also, while I do understand that the card does make it slightly harder for voters to vote, I do believe that it is necessary because of the potential of voter fraud. (Yes, I did say "potential".) While there may be little "evidence" proving voter fraud, there is little evidence proving it does not exist. For example, if a cop pulls me over, there is no evidence that I am driving without having first taken the drivers ed course and having completed the state administered test. However, I have a drivers license to prove that I have. The same goes for the voter ID card. While there is no evidence proving that someone is not eligible to vote when they walk into a polling station, its always nice to have something proving that that person is infact eligible. On a side not, concerning corporate power in campaigning, money is power. In the "real" world, outside of politics, money is power. Therefore, it is safe to assume that to some extent, money will also be power in politics. It is the world we live in and the government does not have the power to dictate what corporations or individuals spend their well-earned money on.

 

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What jihadists want you to believe about Libya - CNN.com

What jihadists want you to believe about Libya - CNN.com | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it

What is happening in Libya..... After an attack in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, one of which an Ambassador, may be a pre-planned terrorist operation. The attack was done in two waves. After the first attack, U.S. officials were evacuated from the consulate and transported to a secure location where they were attacked a second time by 20 militants. The four Americans were killed during the second attack. Jihadists want the public to believe that the attack was caused by uproar on a small American film that contains crude jokes about the Prophet Muhammad. In other countries, such as Egypt, riots have occured due to this film, suggesting that the extremists felt the movie would be a sufficient cover to the attack. However, the Obama administration and many other individuals believe that the attack would've occured, whether or not the movie was filmed.

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RNC Bounce

RNC Bounce | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it

Summary: The most favorable polls to Romney show a three point lead over Obama on Saturday. However, just as some polls are favorable, many are not. An online tracking poll by Ipsos shows that Romney's moderate-sized bounce has been slowly receding and that on Saturday, Obama actually lead by one percent. Trailing by one point is actually more favorable to Romney than earlier polls (Before the RNC) by the same company showing him trailing Obama by four points. The article states that if elections were to be held today, Obama would have a 72.3% chance of winning. A number which has stayed the same before, during, and after the RNC. All the graphs to the right show favor to Obama. Check out the numerous charts on the right side of the page. Not only does the website provide a "now-cast" but they also provide a November 6 "for-cast". Very neat!

Reaction: While the RNC certainly did not hurt the Romney campagin, it did not help as much as hoped. While polls differ in results, one thing is clear, Romney has an uphill battle. While I did enjoy many of the speeches at the RNC none of them appear to have moved voters enough to show a large change in the polls. I am curious to see Obama's "bounce" after the DNC. Being the great orator that President Obama is, I would expect the DNC will only help him. It shall be interesting to see the results of the conventions- something only time can tell.

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How Will Party Conventions Affect the Presidential Race?

How Will Party Conventions Affect the Presidential Race? | BHS AP GOPO&MACRO | Scoop.it

Summary: Recently, Party Conventions, both Republican and Democrat, are held for symbolic purposes and fewer people are following them than in earlier years. However, there are advantages to the conventions. Firstly, while a convention is in progress, the news is constantly weighing in on speeches, candidates, etc. This causes the public to have more exposure to the candidates. Secondly, conventions are held by party. Therefore, the party is able to portray the candidate in a consistant and amiable manner- without negativity from the other side. Conventions generally help the candidate gain support, but many people wonder how long this "bounce" of support will last. According to the article, the "bounce" is actually permanent. However, in this election, the conventions are not expected to convert a large number of people to either side.

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