Saturday, April 9, 2011

Current Event, due April 15th

Happy Tax Day! Although you are not old enough to engage in the full celebration of this landmark day, we can have our own fun with current events relating to Economics (how fitting! :)). This week, I would like you to read an article that deals with taxation/the federal budget, opportunity cost, law of diminishing returns (marginal utility) or supply and demand. This may seem like a challenge, but those are some very wide parameters. Remember to not only provide a summary of the article (and link) but also share with us your opinion and how the subject of your article relates to what we have been studying in class.


  1. Ryan Rainey
    period 6

    This week we avoided a near government shutdown which would have closed national parks, closed museums, and not have paid any of the US military. A budget deal was agreed on by the two political parties even though people thought it would be likely for a federal government shutdown to happen. After this happend President Barack Obama reacted heroically just like President Clinton did in the Shutdown in 95'. Obama signed a short term funding extension to last through friday supposedly cutting two million dollars of spending. The extension will last until tax day, april 15th. This short term funding will control all things that would be paused in the shutdown. During this week the finializations will be submitted on a new national budget. The two parties will have to set aside different beliefs and finish what was agreed upon. In my personal opinion Obama reacted at a good time. He really did not have much of a choice though. Most if not all presidents would have had to do the same thing. What I do not understand is why in a government shutdown soilders of our country dont get paid. They are protecting us from terrorists and are at war and yet if out political parties in the government can not come to an agreement we dont pay them. It is bizarre. I understand how National Parks and Museums would be shut down but for our countries defense to lose money they are earning is questionable for sure. I personally do not know all the details that went into the deal made by the two political parties but I do know from the article and other related articles that democrats and republicans want to set a budget funding issues that one or the other do or dont agree upon. I know that in most cases the democrats believe that tax increases are necessary and republicans do not feel that they are necessery. At this point with our national debt almost unbarable I feel tax increases are not wanted ny anyone because as Americans we are greedy and want as much money as possible but a tax increase is unfortunatly needed to cut into the national debt. "You can't always get what you want", and that is showing right now. I feel like Obama knows what we need though and you kind of have to trust him at this point because we can not afford any more of a debt. We need to slowly chop it down and that can only be done if our goverment officials can agrre upon the wants and needs of our country.

    Sam Freedberg
    Halfway through the fiscal year, and countless partisan power plays later, Congress finally managed to reach a deal on the 2011 budget. Its signature feature: $38.5 billion in spending cuts or, as it's referred to by the key players, "the largest spending cut in American history."
    The negotiators came to their senses with only an hour and a half to spare before a scheduled government shutdown.President Obama is expected to address the long-term debt in a speech this week. But first up for Congress is the debt ceiling, or legal borrowing limit. Treasury has warned that it now expects U.S. borrowing to hit the $14.294 trillion limit no later than May 16.
    But here's the thing: Lawmakers will be on spring break during the last two weeks of April. So in all likelihood they won't get around to the issue until May, leaving themselves only two weeks to deal with the most dangerous budget issue on the table.
    This definitely doesn't look good for America. I think that Congress took way too long to agree on a budget plan, seeing as they left 1 1/2 hours until the government shutdown. I also think that the lawmakers going on break is pretty stupid. If our government is in such a crisis, you should man up and not take a vacation. I'm pretty sure that Americans would rather have people working on this problem for four weeks instead of two.

  3. Brinklee Bailey

    This week my current event is about President Obama’s plan to lower the national debt. On Wednesday President Obama will lead a debate over the reducing our nations debt. It has been said that the president has not been actively involved in a budget talk. A bipartisan negotiation toward a multiyear debt reduction. The Republicans debt reduction had talks of cuts in Medicare as well as in Medicaid. Also trillions of dollars in tax cuts, all while not even touching any of the defense money.

    I think that the budget is starting to really take a toll on both sides of the fence, both Democratic and Republican. People are not agreeing on how and where to divide our nation’s budget. Also there is a problem with knowing where to make cuts. I fully understand how it is a very difficult process to plan out this budget. In the end everyone can’t be happy, but just sitting here at this median is making room for no kind of compromise, we are in turn wasting time while the debt keeps growing. There are lots od dicussions about making cuts in the budget, but if everything stays the way it is we will get nowhere.

    Shane Sater
    Pd. 7

    Debt from student loans is growing quickly, and now exceeds credit card debt; in fact, by the end of the year it may even hit a trillion dollars. Many economists believe that student debt is a favorable debt, because college graduates on average make much higher wages than their counterparts who have only completed high school. Nevertheless, college debt will play a major factor in the quality of life of many; in 2008, 67% of graduates with bachelor’s degrees were in debt from student loans. Government budget cuts may exacerbate the situation, as federal tuition grants and state funding for public universities are reduced. However, many remain strong advocates for student debt. Susan Dynarski, an education professor at the University of Michigan, says, “[A student loan is] an investment that pays off over the whole life cycle.” In fact, some economists are more worried that stories of enormous debts may discourage high school students from attending college than they are that some university graduates are finding themselves with huge debts and without work. Yet going in debt to pay for college does not have positive outcomes for all. Deanne Loonin, a lawyer who works with low income clients, says that most of her clients face huge debts and that no one she works with has actually found work in their field of study.
    I think that college debt is an alarming trend, particularly in our present fragile economy. In many cases, I feel that college attendance is very worthwhile, particularly as preparation for a career in a narrow, regulated, high-paying field. Nevertheless, borrowing tens of thousands to pay for college is a serious gamble, and should be taken as such, with full knowledge and acceptance of the risk involved. If an individual borrows money and attends college merely because it is societally accepted, that individual is jeopardizing their future in order to achieve the status quo; they are bartering conceivably more than a decade of debt for an uncertain investment in a diploma - a certificate thought by many to guarantee better employment in order to pay off debt accrued in its achievement.

  5. Wal-Mart, stung by an embarrassingly long sales slump, is finally ready to do something about it. On Monday, Wal-Mart announced it is bringing back thousands of products that were unceremoniously dumped from stores, saying it is ready to roll up its sleeves to win the lowest-price battle with its rivals. To show its resolve, the world's largest retailer is adding a new tagline to its slogan "Save Money. Live Better." That tagline, which will now appear throughout Wal-Mart stores is "Low prices. Every day. On everything." "What our customers are telling us is that they want the right products in a one-stop shop at the lowest prices. We're trying to reestablish that message," said Duncan Mac Naughton, Wal-Mart's chief merchandising officer.

    I think this is something normal for big corporations to go through. With competition and having to change things like slogans and other things. They want to attract more customers and appeal to them. Mac Naughton has a good point about rephrasing the slogan to appeal to more people. I myself am used to Walmart's "save money, live better". So it will be interesting to see a new slogan.

    Kendall Simms 6th pd.

    The economic superpower of China recently reported a quarterly trade deficit. This was the country’s first deficit in seven years. A year ago China experienced $13.01 billion surplus during the same period. However, this quarter, imports outweighed exports by $1.02 billion as stated by the Chinese government. Experts chalk this up to rapid domestic growth, surging prices for food, energy and other raw materials, and Chinese New Year. China reported that exports outweighed imports by $140 million in the last month resulting in a small surplus, coming after a $7.3 billion trade deficit in February. The deficit comes as no surprise to economists since china traditionally experiences slow trade in the first three months of the year. This small deficit is an insignificant lapse in China’s push to economic greatness as it continues to nip on the U.S.’ heels as the second largest economy in the world.

    This minor deficit in china is a good example of what happens when imports outweigh exports and vice versa. It creates either a trade surplus or a trade deficit depending on the situation. The fact that China’s economy is so dependent on exports makes sense to me when you take into consideration all the things we get from there. All of the cars, electronics, food and countless other things clearly shows how reliant we’ve become on the goods of other countries. China thrives because it has a semi-healthy balance of imports and exports. In my opinion the Chinese are taking advantage of our financial vulnerability in order to fuel its own economic growth. Hopefully we can regain some of our economic prowess over the next few years and keep our top spot.


    Article talks about congress's progress on their dispute over the budget for next year. Senior lawmakers in both parties predicts that there would be an agreement on $38 billion in cuts so congress would finally be done with its spending business for 2011- with more than 6 months behind schedule. If legislation would fail it would start the shut down clock all over again, since temporary funding would run out at midnight Thursday. Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, senior democrat on the budget committee, predicted Sunday that the budget would pass. But Representative Mike Pence, the conservative Republican from Indiana stated “But it's probably not good enough for me to support it.” With Congress headed into its last week before a two-week spring break, spending and budget issues will dominate the landscape with the effort to finish off the 2011 spending bills and a vote planned in the House on the Republican 2012 budget drafted by Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the Budget Committee.
    I understand what both parties are attempting to do at this point, since times almost up, they're just gonna keep arguing to the edge of the line until one backs down, and one of the two parties get as closest they can to what they want. If these kinds of things keep up how will there be ANY progress in the government, from my perspective we could achieve so much more than we could now, IF people knew exactly what their opportunity cost was. If this was first identified, and it was reasonable there wouldn't be this game of “chicken” to see whose gonna back down first because it just time consuming. It seems like they're just shooting blindly hoping to shoot the target with 100 shots until they hit where they want to.


    This week in Des Moines, two republicans (Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann) criticized their own party over the recent budget. They claimed that the party did not cut enough money from the budget. Bachmann was specifically miffed that "obamacare" still existed after the bill was passed. Paul was very outspoken disapproving of everything from the welfare system to the debt limit. Bachmann continued flaunting her Christian faith, speaking of trying to ban gay marriage in Minnesota, and telling the crowd that her husband and she had been sidewalk counselors near abortion clinics. Paul and Bachmann both are possible presidential candidates in the 2012 election.

    This topic relates to our discussions in class about the federal budget. These republicans are speaking about the last minute budget that was passed an hour spare from the government shutdown. Last week, I did an article on editorialist’s opinions that the republicans were focusing too much on social issues, and now I see (at least from these two opinions) that he was correct.

    Jessica Batson


    Although Washington just barely prevented the government shutdown last Friday, the budget is still being negotiated. The two parties said that they had made a deal, but a week extension and a $2 billion cut in transportation and housing programs was passed instead of the new budget. This is because they wanted and needed more time to write the new budget. This budget in the end would cut $38.5 billion in spending ($12 billion already cut by previous bills is included in the $38.5 billion). However, it still unclear on which programs will be cut. The Republicans want to cut the remaining $26.5 billion from the portion that accounts for about 12 percent of the federal budget, non-security discretionary spending. However, the Democrats want to spread it out to other parts of the budget.

    I was really happy when I found out that the government had not shut down on Friday. It makes me even happier now that the two parties have made a deal on how the government would be funded. I didn't think this deal would be possible since each party was not willing to compromise on anything. Although many of us weren't happy about the constant passing of time extension bills, I don't mind this one-week extension at all. If Congress had just written this new bill on Friday, so many things would have probably been left out because they would have wanted to get the budget passed. I'm glad that they are taking their time to write the budget in a way that would prevent us from worrying about it any further.

    Jenny Jin
    7th period


    Andrew Cohen
    7th period

    One of the main issues on Capitol Hill is whether or not to lower the corporate tax rate for U.S. companies. Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin outlined in his budget plan, The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America's Promise, proposals that would lower the tax rates for U.S. companies. He would lower the income tax rate paid by corporations from 35% to 25%. However, he would also eliminate several tax loopholes and deductions for these corporations. Robert Lynch, an economics professor at Washington College, said that lowering the corporate tax rate would create some positive effects on local economies but it wouldn't necessarily create substantial jobs. On a historical note, U.S. corporate tax rates have been steadily declining for decades. The corporate tax rate in the U.S. in the 1950’s was over 49%!

    This is important because if everything went as planned in Ryan’s proposal and it actually got carried out, new jobs would be produced and the economy would be invigorated. However, as Robert Lynch suggested, things probably won’t all work as planned if the proposal is carried out. This relates to what we have been studying in class because it is about taxation and the federal budget. I think that there are some benefits to the proposal Ryan presented. For example, if corporations have more money with which to work, theoretically they have more money with which to expand their businesses and create jobs. However, some corporations with greedy owners don’t always let money trickle down and create new jobs. Something I found interesting in Ryan’s proposal was the fact that he wanted to reduce taxes for corporations and also eliminate tax loopholes. By also reducing tax loopholes, it makes me wonder whether or not corporations would actually be better off with Ryan’s proposal or not. This would really bring to light just how much money corporations save by finding and using tax loopholes.


    House Republicans scurried on Tuesday to secure the votes needed for a bill that would keep the government financed for the rest of the fiscal yearThe House and Senate are scheduled to vote on the spending plan on Thursday, the deadline before the expiration of a very short-term stopgap financing measure worked out late Friday night. Republicans and Democrats now have the chance to voice their skepticism about the bill. The chairman of the influential House Republican Study Committee, Jim Jordan of Ohio, said on Tuesday that he would oppose the measure because it did not cut enough in federal spending.

    I am siding with the Republicans on this issue. The only way we can really reduce our debt is cut faderal spending. We need to stop focusing on certain programs or at least reduce the funding of them because right now we don’t have the money to support them or spend more on them. We can always raise taxes, but it will help more if we reduce the budget and not pay more than we have been paying.

    Chris Barth


    President Obama is preparing to outline his long term plans for the deficits and national debt this Wednesday. This comes just after a “midnight deal” that prevented a federal government shutdown. The speech is in response to Republican Paul Ryan’s budget plan for next year. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal calls for an overhaul of Medicare and Medicade. His proposal also calls for a reform of the tax code. The Obama administration strongly opposes the Ryan’s proposal stating that it would “put the burden of spending cuts and other reforms on the middle class and poor.”

    I think that this incessant arguing back and forth between Democrats and Republicans is ridiculous. Our country is spiraling downward because our government can not work together to get things done. The government very closely missed a full shutdown because of disagreements between the two parties. Both sides need to find some kind of common ground because as of now nothing is being achieved. I agree with the Democrats that the national debt ceiling must be raised. At this point in time there is no escaping the fact that our debt is rising. We must accept this, raise the debt ceiling, and try and fix the problem. The Republicans have the solution. The Republican budget proposal is drastic, but necessary. The Democrats and Republicans will have to find some kind of compromise over what to cut and how much to cut. Obama’s vision “is one where we can live within our means without putting burdens on the middle class and seniors or impeding our ability to invest in our future.” However the current budget and rising debt will not put burdens on the middle class but on the backs of future generations.

    Zach Visco
    April 13, 2011
    Period 6

  13. Norman Archer

    Do-Nothing Congress as a Cure

    This article addressed the future of our country’s budget, debt, and taxes. These three aspects, all of which have dominated American politics, are once again about to influence the lives of all Americans. Between budget cuts and tax cuts, there is a lot that could happen to the national budget. To quote the article, “The best hope for a solution may be the possibility that the two parties can’t agree to a solution.” If republicans and democrats can’t agree on what to do about the tax cuts, there is the possibility that they will expire for everybody. Although this would hurt the American people financially, it would benefit the country greatly. A return of the Clinton era tax could solve 75% of the deficit problem.
    This article does draw a good point. Every time that there is a compromise in congress, both parties end up mad about what they didn’t get instead of being happy for what they accomplished. The budget is a complicated issue, and I think there are many things that need to be done. Cuts are need, but where they come is another issue.
    This article drew into play many things we have talked about in class. Not only did it talk about deficit, taxes, and the budget. But it explained who they were all related and how politics comes into play.

  14. Ryan Hegedus
    Obama: I'll cut $4 trillion

    Barak Obama plans to cut the nation’s deficits by 4 trillion dollars over the next 12 years. This would mean reduction in spending and specifically an end to the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. Obama said this will help give us security now and hope in the future. If we kept on our current plan, by 2025 we will only have enough government money to pay for social security. This means we would have to pay for everything else, like national security and transportation. Also, by 2014, if there isn’t a large enough change in the budget, there will be spending restrictions on most of the budget.
    I think that this is a step in the right direction. By no means is it an instant fix, but then again the issue of our nation’s debt is so large an instant fix doesn’t really exist. Obama is attempting to repay our monstrous amount of debt while maintaining our way of life in America with these changes he is making. Many people dislike a change in their lives because of the government, but the one that is going to happen will help our nation while keeping the change in their lives minor. I approve of what Obama is trying to do.

  15. Civics and Econ
    Basirul Haque

    On Wednesday, president Obama revamped the way Americans pay their taxes by getting rid of popular breaks to lower all income brackets. In a speech given at Washington Obama talked about trimming $4 trillion from deficits in the next 12 years by raising $1 trillion in taxes. To do this, Obama will allow the Bush-era tax cuts for rich Americans to lapse. Obama’s debt commission has a few plans for tax reform. One of them would eliminate all tax breaks, which would raise more than $1 trillion a year. Before he offered any proposals he made the case for why debt reduction is critical. By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs, Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt. That's it," he said. "Every other national priority -- education, transportation, even national security -- will have to be paid for with borrowed money."
    After reading that last quote I couldn’t help but agree with the presidents decision. Although I dislike it, I feel like taxing the rich is the best option that America has. The lower and middle class needs there money NOW, where as if Obama were to tax the rich a bit heavier now, America would benefit a lot now and during the long run.

  16. The artical is about the financial crisis, that is happeneing in the united states right now.
    Wall street wrote a 650-page paper on the crissi and there financial collapse.
    it was released wednesday by the senate. This book is the result of two years worth
    of work over 150 interviews. The report mostly covers the mortgage crisis.
    Its in response to the collapsed in 2008, and what was to happen after that. The was mostly toward big banks
    andto the ones that got the biggest impact.

    In my thinking I think that the united states has a lot to do. Frist It has used money in wrong places, and has Borrowed money to use in Badly. I really thing we are in BIG trouble becuase we are in dept and to say the truth we have no money. But peolpe keep buying things and keep Spending money. I think everyone needs to keep up with there spending and were money is giving to. This is everones problem and needs to be address.

  17. In some areas of the United States, gas prices are up to $4. By the summer, the Department of Energy expects an average of $3.86. This is a 40% increase from last year, and people are beginning to wonder how such high prices will affect the economy. As people have to spend more money for their transportation, they are less likely to pay for things that aren't necessities, like movie tickets, dinner out, and personal items. This could really hurt an economy that is trying to get back on its feet. Still, on average Americans spend only about 5% of their income on gas, so hopefully the fears of extreme downturns in spending are unnecessary.

    This is an interesting issue of supply and demand. On the one hand, gas is a fairly inelastic product: despite the fact that it is expensive, people are still very likely to buy it because it is a necessity for getting around. However, it is indirectly resulting in the decline in purchases of other products with more elastic demands. It will be interesting to see where we are in a few months, and whether or not the high gas prices really will have an effect on the economy as a whole.


    Obama's long awaited speech regarding the national deficit was delivered. He didn't suggest any specific plan to end the deficit, but he also didn't commit to any of the many other solutions circulating about. This is probably because he doesn't want to appear partisan by appealing to one party too much more than the other. This, however didn't prevent him from heavily criticizing the "Ryan Plan", in that over time it would cost exorbitant amounts of money for American citizens. Obama also made a point of emphasizing the fact that only ten years ago, we had a budget surplus, and the deficit wasn't much of a worry at all. He made sure to emphasize that the reason we are where we are today is a direct result of the actions of our contemporaries.

    I agree with Obama in that I think it's important as we face the current budget issues to remember that however bad the status quo gets, that it is the fault of what we've done previously. The best we can hope for in the resolution of this issue is the benefit of hindsight to ensure prevention from another runaway deficit like the one we are currently facing.

    Eric Plevy

    Budget Compromise

    On Thursday, Congress has passed a budget plan compromise that will last until September. This compromise will cut 38 billion dollars from our current budget. However, this plan actually is disagreed upon by both the Democratic and Republican parties. The bill will then make it to president Obama’s desk and is expected to be approved with ease. Later on, a debate is expected to occur upon the topics of medicare and medicaid. For now, although the compromise may be disliked by both parties, it has still helped avoid a shutdown.
    Honestly, I am glad that our government was able to compromise instead of causing a shutdown. Our country needs to start getting back on track with this economic situation. It was a good maneuver to compromise, even if it is disliked by members of both parties. This should hold us off for now, but of course this can not stay with us forever. The plan to cut 38 billion dollars was something that was necessary, but only due to the alternative plan of a shutdown. Hopefully, a stationary plan will soon be devised. This article pertains to what we are doing since we have recently started studying economics and have talked about our federal budget. It is important that we come up with a stable, well-thought-out plan and keep the last minute decisions to a minimum.

  20. Our nation has been in a long-ended debate of the finical issues we have in our country. Both parties have been discussing and trying to decide what to do about it. A week ago, the major question they were asking is should our nation go into a federal shutdown. On April 8th, we decided not to go into the shutdown and instead cut the budget by $38 billion. We have already set up America's next six months dealing with the financial problems in hopes that we will find a way to get us out of this mess. Speaker John A. Boehner proposed the idea to reduce spending and policy provisions. Both Democrats and Republicans are working together to try to come up with a bill to give to Obama in hopes that it will be passed. Some bad consequences coming out of this is that many programs people depend on are going to shut down and major construction needed will be delayed until things get better.

    This issue is very important because it is majorly affecting our nation as a whole, and I think it is essential for people to know certain things that could happen and more about it. I am glad there was not a shut down because people are still able to enjoy our parks and museums the workers put into it, but in a way it is also a bad thing. With these projects, we are not getting profit over it. It isn't helping our nation at all. Hopefully some of these projects will stop to help get our nation back on our feet and closer out of debt. Hopefully we can get out of this soon, and our country will be like it used to be.

    President Obama made the case Wednesday for the rapid growth of the national debt while retaining core democratic values, proposing a mix of long-term spending cut. His proposal would cut federal budget deficits by a cumulative $4 trillion over 12 years, compared with a deficit reduction of $4.4 trillion over 10 years in the republican plan.He rejects the fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid proposed by republicans and replying in part on tax increases on affluent Americans. He called for cutting $400 billion more in military spending-twice what his defense secretary,Robert M.Gates, told Congress was the largest cut he could recommended.Mr.Boehener, speaker of the House,repeated a threat to refuse to raise the $14.3 trillion ceiling on the national debt,which the government is likely to breach in early July,unless the administration agrees to rein in spending and deficits.Mr.Obama said his plan would contain a trigger to require across-the-board spending cuts if,by 2014,the federal debt was still projected to be rising as a percentage of the total economy.
    I think even though President Obama didn't deliver out a specific cutting plan,but what he has done is strong enough to defend the debate from republicans,obviously Mr.Obama is planning to make the lower tax rates permanent,Bush's tax cutting is called"political smart but not economic smart",because it cannot avoid the national debt---the money is always required.However,I honestly don't really understand the reason why Mr.Obama cuts military spending and lowers the tax rates at the same time---at this time that American still has troops outside of the board.It is true that the cutting and rising have to be shaped by strategy and policy choices but not just a math exercise,and it's a hard decision to make, that of he cuts the spending on medicare and medicaid,there will be a whole lot of people might lose their insurance and social security in a short time,and we don't want that,compare with the spending on military,I think he might have made the right decision,even though the vision for me is till vague.
    Jessica Yin
    7th period

  22. Riley Hutchison
    7th period

    At a recent speech Obama touched base on one of the most dreaded topics, increasing our taxes. He spoke about our taxes in a manner that didnt insult our intelegence, or blame certain groups for putting us into this deficit. One of the sensible ways to solve this economic problem is to revert tax rates to they way they were under president Clinton. That would resolve 3/4 of the deficit for about the next 5 years. Republicans solutions consist of slashing spending even possibly eliminating medicare. In the short run we cant simply cut spending, our nation needs more revenue. Obama plans to increase taxes on the wealthy, as well as everyone else, and cut military spending. The borrow-and-spend method we are using at the moment isnt working at all. We honestly need to increase taxes in order to bring more money in.

    I agree with what Obama has said about the only true result for this problem is generating more revenue. This seems like a reasonable thing to do, especially since it seemed to work so well for the Clinton administration. Obama needs to get a set plan into motion soon, otherwise we will simply keep on this downward economic path. By increasing tax rates we will stimulate revenue, and decrease peoples inclanation to spend carelessly. I think that Obama is on the right track, he just needs to stay to what has worked previously in order to bring our economy back.

  23. Hannah Blackburn
    pd. 7

    (Nicholas D. Kristof)

    Kristof's column last Sunday compared our government to a middle school. He was talking about their handling of the budget problem. Really, we are half way through our fiscal year; it starts October 1st. A government shut down was barely avoided, and the budget hasn't even been written yet! Both sides have played their part: the Republicans were threatening a shut down if huge cuts weren't made. However, government shut downs are expensive: the two shut downs in the 1990s cost the government $1.4 billion. The Democrats could have passed the budget, even with some controversial cuts, in October when they still had control of both Houses.

    Politicians should have more sense than middle schoolers. They should stop postponing decisions and bite the bullet while they still can. The House Republican budget proposal actually suggests dramatic cuts - essentially eliminating Medicare and Medicaid, but even this proposal is short-sighted. The debt would end up being a greater percent of the GDP in 2022 than is projected currently. The US needs to compromise and minimize their opportunity costs like grown ups and to stop being selfish. Our representatives spend way too much time and money on insulting each other, as opposed to cutting taxes, spending less, and doing their jobs.

  24. Jay Htut
    6th period

    "Congress passes budget deal despite GOP defections"

    Last week, Congress was able to agree upon a Budget deal that will cut $38.5. These cuts include a wide range of domestic programs and services such as high-speed rail, emergency first responders and the National Endowment for the Arts. With the danger of a government shutdown looming above their heads, Congress was able to pass a budget deal despite of opposition from both parties. A government shutdown would have occurred if Congress was not able to pass a budget by last Saturday, which was when the federal government's current spending authorization expires. The house vote resulted in 260-167, while the senate vote resulted in 81-19.

    I think it was very fortunate that the national government did not shut down. However, I am starting to lose faith in the leaders of our nation. It took them this long to produce a budget. Congress should be more efficient than this because they are at the head of our country. Instead of bickering amongst themselves, they should do their best to be as efficient as possible.

  25. Leila Doerfer
    Period 6

    In some parts of the US gas prices are already up to $4 a gallon. The US Energy Department is estimating that gas prices will be around $3.86 per gallon throughout the country during the summer. This is an almost 40 percent increase compared to last years prices. Economists are starting to worry about how this will effect the buying and selling of other goods. As it is people are already spending about 5 percent of their income (after taxes)to pay for gas. Only a couple years ago people were spending about 2 percent. In my opinion we are currently spending a huge amount of money on gas and i believe that it isn't necessary. People are having to choose between taking their kids out for dinner or driving a car and for most families they don't have to option of not having a car. If a few families were making decisions like this it wouldn't affect the economy that much but if the majority of families start to get gas instead of personal items, that's going to cause certain companies to go out of business. That is what would hurt the economy.
    I think that gas prices going up is a great excuse for us to FINALLY start working harder to provide energy efficient cars. Electric cars have been made before, but then they were all destroyed because gas companies were losing business but that's a whole other story. My main point is that energy efficient cars are possible to invent and have been invented before. They would help us out with how expensive gas is, help the economy, the fact that gas will eventually run out, and most importantly, in my opinion, it would help the Earth. I think we need to realize that people can't afford to pay for gas and all the other things that they need and eventually they are going to need to choose between the two. If we are going to change something that will benefit humans, it might as well be something that will also help the Earth.


    Today Congress agreed to cut a record $38 billion from federal spending. This is significant because this is the first major compromise between the White House and the Republican congress.This will increase bipartisan support. The government knows there are still struggless ahead to overcome massive deficits and a $14 trillion debt but now feel that they have hope for this situation. Even though the bill didn't have a 2/3 majority in the House, it still passed because it only has to be a majority for money bills to pass. The EPA itself will lose $1.6 billion in spending.
    I'm really glad that the White House and Congress could come to an agreement. Saying anything about the budget in Congress only weeks before was like swearing. Now there's hope that the government can shed some of the debt and stop having to borrow so much. This is a bold move, especially since there are 87 new Republicans in the House and aren't as used to making big decisions as the others. The important thing is that the country is heading in the right direction.

    Mark Stouffer
    Period 7


    After spending months on the sidelines as Republicans made their plans, president Obama presented an alternative rebuttal to the conservative plan that will reach the House floor on Friday. Obama said his proposal would cut federal budget deficits by $4 trillion in the next 12 years, while the republican plan offers a deficit reduction of $4.4 trillion over 10 years. The president positioned his proposal as an unbiased alternative to the Republican plan, setting the stage for a debate that will consume Washington in the next few weeks. A few controversial strategies on Obama’s budget plan include rejecting the primary changes to Medicare and Medicaid which were initially proposed by Republicans, cutting $400 billion more in military spending, and relying in part on tax increases on affluent Americans by allowing the Bush tax cuts for upper class Americans to expire in 2012. In proposing his new plan, Obama was combative and partisan, claiming the Republican approach would harm the elderly by increasing the cost of medical care, deprive millions of citizens of health insurance, and starve the nation of investments in its future. He also warned Democrats that his administration would have to cut treasured programs and severely limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid. Mr. Obama said his plan would contain a trigger to require across-the-board spending cuts if, by 2014, the federal debt was still projected to be rising as a percentage of the total economy.

    I believe that Obama’s deficit reduction proposal is very fair. It combines significant cuts in governmental spending and moderately small tax increases on the country’s wealthiest citizens. I really hope that when congress votes on the new budget plan, they chose Obama’s. In my opinion, his plan is what’s best for America in this time of economic uncertainty, and I honestly believe that it will be more successful than the Republican’s plan in reducing the nation’s deficit.

    Cerys Humphreys
    7th period


    Americans have now turned to extreme couponing to save them loads of money. One woman, Tiffany Ivanovsky, actually managed to pay only $40 for a grocery bill that would have cost $1,100. She is one of millions of Americans that spend hours a day hunting down the best deals. Extreme couponing does not involve many restrictions which make it easy to obtain the coupons. Many companies such as Wal-Mart, CVS, and Dollar General for example, like to encourage their consumers to take advantage of the multiple reward programs and promotions. The vice president of operations for the National Retail Federation, Daniel Butler said, "Although it can drive sales up, retailers still want to sell the product at a level of profitability to meet their financial projections.” He also talked about how having so many things on sale may attract more customers, in the end it’s not good for the company or the consumers if the company goes out of business because they aren’t making a sufficient profit. To help avoid this from happening, websites like, limits the amount of coupons you can print and also have a special security feature that won’t allow for making copies. Its hard work to be an extreme couponer, but in the end it saves people tons of money.

    I think coupons are a great idea, however, some people do take it to ridiculous extremes. I don’t really understand how manufacturers make a good profit from selling their products so cheap. But of course there will always be those people too lazy to clip coupons who buy things at full price which probably make the companies most of their money. This is related to what we are learning now because it deals with demand and supply. With coupons the demand for the items is higher because consumers are paying less. The manufacturers also sell more of their products which bring in more money for them. It’s kind of a win-win situation.

    Laura Musalem
    period 6


    The government has passed compromise legislation in order to finance till September. The vote ended up being 260 to 167, this leaves many of the Republicans voting against this deal. These republicans that voted against the deal decided that this wasn’t doing enough to get more money. But the house speaker from Ohio said he must get democrats to pass this deal in order to prevent the government shut down. On account of this bill there was to be a spending cut in Planned Parenthood and also take back some of the spending in health care.

    Although I do see that some people are disagreeing with this deal because this may not be enough money. I think that its good to start somewhere I mean its not like the government can take all their money and put it into this. They are already cutting down on Planned Parenthood and health care, which are two big things; there is no need to take more money from important things when we can just live with what were given now. Its as though these republicans are being greedy and want more money when in reality the government have struggled to get what they have right now, so it would be even more difficult to try and find more money.

    Leah Whitney

    Alex Grosskurth
    6th period
    This week some pranksters took a serious shot at GE's stocks. They wrote a phony press release saying that GE would give back 3.2 billion dollars to the US government. This prank hurt GE's stock holders because they believed it was true. GE lost 3.5 billion dollars worth of investors but this still is only 1.6% of their investors. The pranksters that took credit for this call themselves the Yes Men. They are committed to exposing corporations for not paying their taxes by using corporate loopholes. Some claim that it wasn't these pranksters that caused this drop, but most companies remained stagnant that day. The SEC is launching an investigation about this because they're supposed to prevent individuals from tampering with the stock market.

    I think this prank is funny truthfully, and a dose of their own medicine to these corporations. Corporations that earn billions of dollars a year should pay their taxes, however most people have more money in their pocket than GE paid in taxes. This never would have happened if GE had simply paid their taxes, because they wouldn't have been able to claim this. GE should learn that this is wrong, corporations should pay taxes. If they paid taxes, we wouldn't have the financial crisis we have today.

  31. Kate Boyd
    7th pd

    Congress has finally approved a federal budget, and now all of the cuts have been revealed. There's supposed to be $40 billion in cuts, the largest cut ever made in a single year. Many programs are facing over $1 billion in cuts, Among the programs facing large cuts are high speed railways, highway construction, and military construction. There are cuts to all types of programs, including ones that will bother both Republicans and Democrats. There have been cuts to community building programs, and also ones to military programs, and also less money is going to the United Nations and USAID. Many government programs and projects have been hurt or delayed due to the temporary spending plans over the last few months, as they had no idea how much money they could spend.

    I think it's a good thing the government has finally agreed on a budget. While I don't agree with some of the cuts, and think some programs didn't receive enough cuts, I understand that there must be sacrifices made across the board. I don't like that we're not supplying as much to international aid programs or the National Endowment for the Arts, and I feel that some of those cuts could have been directed elsewhere. However, I'm glad that we're going to be spending less overall, because it's scary how much debt we're in. It's also a good thing that we finally passed a budget, as I'd rather have a budget with lots of cuts than no budget at all. This relates to our class because we've been talking about the federal budget and taxes, and taxes supply the money we spend in the budget.


    President Obama proposed a comprehensive plan for cutting national debt by $4 trillion over 12 years, which included long-term spending cuts, tax increases, and changes to social welfare programs. The plan is an alternative to the republican one that would rely on fundamental changes to Medicare and Medicaid, and, according to Mr. Obama, "deprive millions of health insurance and starve the nation of investments in its future". Mr. Obama also called for cutting large amounts from military spending and deducts sums from the bush era tax cuts and tax expenditures, which Obama pushed to reform earlier this year. Republicans criticized Mr. Obama’s budget plan for its lack of detail and profligate deductions from defense spending. This budget announcement was made shortly after speaker john Boehner threatened to refuse to raise the government's debt ceiling, $14.3 trillion, unless the government made substantial reining in spending and deficits.
    I think this plan is an overall great idea. Our country needs to be assertive in tackling our debt, and deducting sums from the bush era tax cuts is a logical move. However, I agree with the majority Republican idea that changes in Medicare and Medicaid also need to be made because the projected drain on our national budget is scary. In class we discussed that tradeoffs need to be made when we can’t have everything we want, and cutting some programs that benefit certain people will need to be necessary if we want to get America back on track budget-wise.

    Jessica Gao
    6th period

    Tristin Van Ord

    When Ronald Reagan was in office in 1981, the national debt was at 1 trillion dollars. Now, the national debt has multiplied to be over 14 trillion dollars. If one was to divide up the debt, every person in the US would be in debt by 47, 000 dollars, (p.s. that’s a lot.) If the debt keeps going up, the government may be forced to default on some obligations like making interest payments on bonds and Treasury Bills. Republicans blame the Democrats and President Obama for the extreme debt, saying that they have spent too much money on “pointless” spending. The Democrats blame it on George W Bush for the tax cuts for the wealthy and the wars.

    This article has to do with our nation’s debt which we have been talking about in class. It is so weird that in just thirty years, the debt has multiplied itself by fourteen. That is so crazy and sad. The fact that each person, adults and kids, would be in debt by 47, 000 dollars if the debt was split up is insane. I don’t even think I could image being in debt by that much at this age. I mean, I do borrow money a lot so I probably am in debt a little, but definitely not by 47 thousand dollars. Maybe more like 47. But anyways, I think that this debt is awful. I think that the reason for the extreme debt isn’t just one person’s fault, but has added up over time. I think that Bush had a lot to do with it though. The tax cuts for the wealthy were ridiculous and that hurt us a lot I think.


    Recently, the government has issued budget cuts in hopes of alleviating the national deficit. Many people believe that the cuts are illusions because a great deal of the cuts will not make a difference in the long run. For example, the government has reduced the individual lawmaker budget by $630 million dollars; however, the majority of the money in their budget won't be spent at all. On the other hand, the government has made no effort at all to prevent the reductions of many important budgets, namely the police department, weather forecasters, and army corps of engineers. Additionally, the housing department's budget has also been cut.

    Personally, I think that the government should be focusing on reducing the budgets of less important departments. Both police and weather forecasters play major rolls in society. Reducing the budget of the police will inevitably lead to an increased crime rate because unemployment rates will also increase. Without weather forecasters, people will not be able to predict the weather, and as a result, will dress inadequately for the weather conditions. This can ultimately lead to increased sickness rates and possibly even increased death rates. I strongly believe that the government should focus on making the reduction in other parts of the budget.

    Nicole Chang
    7th period 4/15/11

  35. Jenny Vaughn
    Period 6

    Debt from student loans is approaching one trillion dollars this year, surpassing credit card debt. With the upcoming budget cuts, these figures are going to grow a fair deal because universities will have to cut some scholarships and benefit programs. It doesn’t help that over that past twenty years students have been leaving college with more and more debt and that parents still have debt when they send their own child off to school. The average student who graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree had 24,000 dollars of debt. Many economists believe that this is an investment that should be taken despite the debt that is puts you in. People with a bachelor’s degree have a lower unemployment rate than high school graduates and tend to have $55,700 to $21,900 more. Still college debt can make it unwise for people to buy a house, start a family, or invest in something that they truly enjoy.

    I still think that it is important for students to go to college, even if there is a lot of debt involved. Education can involve many benefits and unusual opportunities such as foreign exchange programs and higher salaries later in life. The fact that education is causing more debt is not surprising because education is one of the first things to cut when times get tight. Education also comes with a pay back plan because it is easier to pay back debt when you have more money from your job. Our debt in education is just a byproduct of the fact our economy is down. As long as we don’t overextend ourselves on the luxuries of life afterward, the debt will improve.

  36. Thomas Nguyen
    4.14.11 Period 7

    Today, Congress voted on the budget that was proposed 2 hours before a government shutdown. This budget is designed to keep the government funded all of the way through September. This budget calls for $38 billion in cuts, well below the Republican's goal of cutting funds by $61 billion. Because many Republicans opposed the bill, Speaker of the House John Boehner had to rely on Democrats to pass the bill. The house voted the bill 260-167. The Senate passed the bill easily, 81-19. This budget is designed to bring multiple changes to Medicare and Medicaid. However, the Democrat-controlled Senate will vote against the changes. Representative Paul Ryan, the Budget committee chairman, created a budget outlining Medicare as a "defined benefit", allowing users to choose private insurance plans up to a limit. Ryan also outlined Medicaid as a "block grant program", reducing tax rates for corporations and individuals.

    I think a lot of Republicans are a little bit too stubborn in this situation. They declined a budget cutting $38 billion in spending, but they rather a budget that cuts $61 billion in spending. If President Obama were to propose such a plan, would the Democrats from the Senate would pass it? Probably not. About a week ago, the US was on the brink of a government shutdown. This can be applied to what we are studying in Civics right now. Another choice besides the budget cutting $38 billion in spending would be another budget cutting more or less than that $38 billion. If such a budget proposed to cut more than $38 billion, the national debt would slow down a bit. That is one opportunity cost. Another opportunity cost would be a proposed budget asking for $30-$38 billion in cuts. The benefit of that budget would be that government departments, organizations, programs, etc. would have money to run itself and have some success.

  37. Geoff Thomason – 4/14/11 – Period 7

    Earlier today, Speaker of the House John Boehner ‘suffered’ a strange victory. Even though he was ultimately successful, it still seemed a bit like defeat. It should have been a quick, simple and overwhelming vote to end the spending fight that had brought the government to the brink of a shutdown, but fifty-nine of Boehner’s fellow republicans rejected the measure. In this case, Democrats had to ride to the rescue to provide the winning margin as dozens of Republicans turned thumbs down. Twenty-seven of these Republicans were ‘Freshman,’ as they are called. Some republicans felt that this budget cut was merely a waste of time and that it won’t ultimately matter because the debt is too big. Others feel that anything and everything will help and now we are actually cutting rather than padding spending bills. After admitting that his bill wasn’t perfect, Speaker Boehner said that he would have liked to have more support from his fellow republicans, and that it felt like a warning shot to the leadership from its right flank.

    I do not agree with the fifty-nine rejecting republicans. Even though we are honestly only cutting a near-microscopic fraction of our total debt, we are still cutting $38 billion. That is a lot of money! We are actually taking a step forward, rather than falling farther into a hole. If we can manage to sustain these cuts, and discover more efficient ways to live, we will be able to create even larger cuts in the future. You have to start somewhere. If we are able to live on these cuts and thrive as a nation, we will find alternatives and will be able to save much larger quantities of money.


    The Pentagon’s January budget had $78 billion in cuts, and the White House is calling for more. President Obama has called for another $400 billion to be sliced from the defense budget. Experts say that surprisingly enough, this gargantuan sum would not greatly affect the Pentagon’s spending abilities. This much could be reduced simply by limiting future spending increases. Also, this money is coming out of several different departments, not just Defense, including the State Department, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs, as well as intelligence and the nuclear weapon portion of the Energy Department. Some outside experts have said that even more cuts would be possible, while members of the Defense department are predicting that even the proposed reductions would be difficult.

    Defense takes up a huge portion of our budget. I think that we need to make larger cuts in defense rather than trying to nickel and dime small services away from the people. Our country certainly needs its defense department, but how many trillions of dollars do they need to keep us safe? The United States has more nuclear weapons than it would take to blow up the entire world several times over. It seems to me that expenses like that are unnecessary. I believe that the money that is being spent on creating new, more efficient ways of killing people should instead be used to help our citizens have better lives. I don’t know enough about the inner workings of the Pentagon to say how much money can be cut, but I do know that they need to reduce their budget.

    Chiara Salemi

  39. Maria Miggs

    New Budget

    Last Friday, the white house finally settled on a budget and avoided a full governmental shutdown. Yet the problem of figuring out a long-term budget remains. The plan that was passed on Friday only provides a one-week suspension. This plan will cut $2 billion in spending from housing programs and transportation. The budget that will last until October 1, is still under discussion. The goal is to slash spending by 38.5 billion dollars and in the three prior short-term budget decisions only $12 billion has been cut. The remaining $26.5 billion is still being debated.

    Republicans want to primarily cut from the section called non-security discretionary spending part of the budget. Democrats hope to diffuse cuts around to many programs. I agree with the Democrats on the long-term budget. Their plan would alleviate suffering on a group of programs so multiple groups have cuts. The Republicans plan would increase pan on the agencies that they don’t like specifically programs like Planned Parenthood.\

  40. Leon Pickles

    This article is about how Obama has ordered a budget cut of $78 billion of the Pentagon's January budget. Obama is also thinking about cutting $400 billion from the defence budget. Gordon Adams thinks that this is easily absorbable and isn't really a cut. He also says that the Pentagon woun't be able to spend much more but it will still be able to keep up its present spending. The cuts will be coming from the State Department, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, the office of the director of national intelligence, and the nuclear weapons project. It will not be coming from the war budget or the Pentagon's budgets.
    I think that these budget cuts will be a good idea for bringing down our defecit. But at the same time it is a risk because we are taking so much money away from our defence programs. Over a certain number of years our deficit should have gone down by a large chunk. I agree with Gordon Adams because our over all spending on everyday things shouldn't be affected too badly so we will be able to go on with our everyday lives.


    According to Chris Kahn of the New York Times, "oil [prices] dropped to the lowest level this month on Tuesday" because of the announcement that this resource costs too much depsite the fact that "the world's supply of oil will remain ample". The high oil prices are actually decreasing demand for the product (an exact subject of our class discussions). Goldman Sachs, a "big player in oil markets" explained to investors the probability of oil undergoing a "'substantial pullback'" in cost in the near future.
    I actually do not like this because the lowering of the price per gallon of oil will increase the demand. Oil is one of the many resources that hurts our environment when overused and these events will lead toa greater usage. I believe this could help the economy, though, as demand will go up even though prices have not drastically decreased increasing general profits for those companies who sell oil and oil realted products. However I am not interested in buying oil and I am afraid to see the resulting consequences from this action.

    Jacob Harris
    7th Period


    Gavin Welch
    per 7th
    April 18th

    For the first time last year the debt generated from student loans has passed the debt created by credit cards. This idea might seem like a problem on the surface, butit might be a good thing. When student are withdrawing loans to play for their school, they are becoming educated and are receiving degree’s that allow them to get higher paying jobs. These students are eventually paying off their loans, but slowly over time. Two-thirds of bachelor degree students graduated with debt in 2008, this compares to the less than half in 1993. The average debt generated by a student last year was 28,000 dollars. In other studies, student loans are slowing down the life of a student.Students with loans are paying them off slower and are taking longer to start a family and have kids. This is how the student loans have earned the name a anti-dowery loan.

    I think that the sutdent loans are a good thing.These are especially good because the students are paying off their loans. An educated country I believe is what we need to stimulate our economy. The more people who graduate with high degrees are going to people who will start business. When we have more people starting business we can generate more revenue and stimulate our economy

  43. Jose

    In buffalo new york, the citizens are very annoyed that have to pay taxes for the buffalo football stadium. there is a lot of money going to it just for pest control and landscaping services. Citizens of the buffalo community are very angered because there may not be a football season this year.
    i think that since the players might not have a season instead of paying a lot of money to pay taxes for the pest control and landscaping services, the coaches shold regulate some kind of work out or routine whee the players themselves do the work instead of doing nothing. They are not gonna do anything either way if there is a season or not.

  44. Tanner Gardner-7th Period

    Community health centers serve about 20 million people at 7,000 locations around the country. They primarily cater to those without health insurance. Under the budget deal agreed to by Congress Thursday, the centers would see their funding slashed by $600 million for the remainder of 2011. A Democrat staffer on the Senate Appropriations Committee said the cuts aren't as bad as they seem. In fact, he said that under the sweeping health care legislation passed last year, the centers will actually see a $400 million increase in funding. But a spokesman for the agency that oversees the centers said money from the health care bill comes with restrictions, and the centers will have to make adjustments to their programs as a result of the cuts.

    Sounds like disinformation when the Democratic staffer says that community health care centers will receive a $400 million increase in funding If $600 million is being slashed, where are they getting this mystical supplement. It doesn't make any sense. I think if we had universal healthcare we wouldn't be running into these problems in the first place.