Friday, April 15, 2011

Current Event, due April 22nd

This week in Economics, we will begin our section on Macroeconomics. We will discuss economic challenges, Labor Unions, types of competition and ways to measure the health of the US economy (inflation, the unemployment rate and GDP). Find an article that relates to the economy as a whole; this can be about the US  or international economy. Make sure to summarize the information, link the article AND relate what you read to what we have been studying in class. 

Happy Hunting! :)



    Recently, the National Association of Business Economics said the economy overall is improving despite the political uproars around the world. Economists are optimistic that the economy will stay on the rise, most agreeing that it will at least increase 2% in 2011. Profit margins and the outlook on employment are up, as well as employment being on the rise. Sales also increased this quarter. This rise is quite surprising to the average person- 60% of people polled said they expected higher prices and 52% said they would expect a slow economic growth in 2011.

    I am really excited about the possibility of growth in our economy. This would be great for the spirit of our country, as well as the everyday citizen. This relates to what we are talking about in class because we are currently talking about macroeconomics- the economy on a bigger scale. This article is appropriate because it is an overview of our whole economy, and the different aspects contained in it.

    Jessica Batson

  2. Brinklee Bailey
    p. 6

    Suicide rates have been increasing due to the now declining economy. Experts are saying that they can now clarify the relationship between a declining economy and the suicide rates. They are also realizing that those who already have depression or mental illnesses are more likely to commit suicide when the economy isn’t doing as good. Other studies have shown this theory to be switched, stating that suicide rates drop in times of high unemployment. Most studies have focused around middle-aged and young adults. However, they are not saying economic hardships are causing suicides just that it is a factor. Researchers have been looking at the suicide rates during times of economic downfall noticing a sharp increase during the start of The Great Depression. The rates dropped during times of economic expansion with some exceptions, the suicide rates of middle-aged people increased in the 1960’s, when the economy was doing wonderful and the rates in elderly decreased in the severe recession during the 1970’s. Many have said that suicide is unpredictable, but with studies like these it makes it easier for doctors and other care providers to know when the risk may be higher.

    I think that this is a very interesting study. I had personally never even thought of relating suicide to the downward economy. Depending on the individual many people may take losing their job or a pay cut, way harder then others. To some, the money they make is all they can really depend on. So when those resources are cut off it can make life seem unbearable. This is a sort of wake up call for everyone in the medical profession, because researchers are showing and providing all the information needed to prevent these types of deaths from happening, or at least happening so often when the economy is down.

  3. Over the past few weeks the United States as a nation has been intensively discussing our budget. It is now getting started though. The capital is thinking about reorganizing the size and role of our nation's government. This is a very big decision, and this is the most fundamental reassessments since our president Ronald Reagan or even FDR. The growth of the national debt is said to be caused by the baby boomer generation, maintaining the cost of Medicare, and Social Security. These have brought of questioning if our government had far too big and expensive. “Their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America,” stated by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, talking about Republicans. There has been several clashings between both parties, but they are doing the best they can to help get our nation out of the hole.

    The debates of our national debt and budget is the main topic of the past couples weeks, and it's going to be a while before they stop talking about it and be able to fix the problems. I am glad I'm being informed of these issues now, so I will be aware of what actually is occurring in the economy. It is scary to think that our government became too big and expensive. I have always thought the United States was so perfect in how they dealt with things but looking deeper into these issues show that we have a lot more problems than I thought. I never could even imagine that our nation was $14 trillion dollars in debt. I hope the government knows what to do and will eventually be able to work this out.

    Kendall Simms 6th pd.

    The recent hike in gas has essentially negated America’s earnings from last year’s tax holiday. Companies and investors are worried that the rise in gas prices will undermine consumer spending. This would only further weaken our already hurting national economy. Initially investors were expected to gain around $110 billion from last year’s payroll tax holiday but now that number is more in the area of $10 billion. This all due to the $.70 increase in gas prices so far this year. Despite the gas hike, one of the U.S.’ top companies Goldman Sachs is optimistic about the future of the economy over the course of the year. They think that the economy will expand thanks to accelerating hiring and modest wage growth. In addition there will need to be a reduction in the price of gas as well as consistent growth in the labor market in order for the economy to meet its estimated numbers.

    The article mentioned that this whole projection is based on the premise that tight supply and steadily rising demand will keep prices growing in the long run. The factors of supply and demand are something that we’ve been talking about frequently in class. I feel that if the work force does recover at a steady pace then there will be an increase in consumer spending as people begin to spend their hard earned money from their new jobs. A reduction in gas prices will definitely help because the more money consumers don’t have to spend on gas, the more money that goes towards retail items. I agree with Goldman that if all these things do come together the economy will better off overall. However I’m not entirely sure that they will pan out that way because of the number of factors that play into that success and the unpredictability of the economy, which we are all fully aware of.

  5. Leon Pickles
    6th Period

    When Obama decided to cut taxes for the middle class and raise taxes for the upper class, he didn't realize how badly this would hurt our deficit. In the short term this decision was good and hopefully well thought out but if you look at it in the long term it could be a problem. For example a family of four who are earning around $94,900 a year pays 15% in federal taxes. By 2035 it could be up to 25% and then it could even get to 38% which is enormous. Paul Ryan wants to ask the elderly to pay more for health insurance.

    I think we should have come up with a plan that didn't help us too much to start out with but would have helped us hugely in the future. I cannot think of a plan like this but I'm sure there are many people in the USA that are and I hope they come through. I also think that taxing the elderly more for health insurance would be good. But I think the amount that their health insurance is raised to should be based on their children's or their own salary or amount saved. This is because many elderly depend on their children and it wouldn't be good to put too much of an increase on the children.

  6. Norman Archer
    A Surge in Gold Nears a Limit

    This article addressed two goods, gold and oil, and how they affect the world economy. The intro suggested that buying gold would be the smart thing to do if one was concerned about the euro zone or the national deficit (of the US). The price of gold has nearly triple in value over the past six months, making it a profitable item for many. Now is they time to buy gold, before the economy recovers. The article said, “With these markets rightly signaling global recovery, the precious metals bubble looks set to be pricked before long.” The other product talked about in this article was oil. It was stated that the demand for oil is only going up even with the innovation of alternative energy. Major oil producing nations (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc.) will have a lot of power in their hand, not only aiming to supply foreign countries but there on as well (gas is six times more expensive in the US than in Saudi Arabia).
    I though this article was interesting because it was able to connect microeconomics to macroeconomics. It is the supply and demand to individuals and companies that fuel a complex global economy. Oil is a very special product because it is used by a variety of consumers (cars, factories, energy). One may also see the diversity of the economy by the consumption rate and the fluctuation of prices. I thought that this article was interesting because it gave me insight into our economy and how it relates to my life.

  7. Shane Sater
    Pd. 7

    Recently, airport screeners voted by a significant majority to unionize in the largest unionization vote of federal workers so far. However, a runoff vote is still necessary: there was no decisive majority between the two union contenders, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union. In the runoff, there will be no option for voting against unionizing, a position which 3,111 screeners took in the previous vote. Before this, screeners were not allowed to form unions for collective bargaining. However, in February, John Pistole, the current TSA administrator, reversed his predecessor’s decision, allowing these workers to unionize. According to Pistole, unions can now make deals regarding shifts, break time, dress code, and awards, but they can not negotiate over TSA policy or over wages.

    I think that, as Pistole’s policy stands now, his authorization for screeners to unionize is insulting and frivolous. A union has little reason to exist unless it has the power to debate wages, safety of working conditions, or other similarly important factors. Allowing a screeners’ union to debate policy of break time, awards, etc. is like allowing students to form a “student government” which may make decisions regarding parties and pep rallies, while actual important policy decisions are unilaterally decided without the interested party’s input. Without even taking a stance on the suitability of union negotiation in the current era of relatively favorable working conditions and standards, I maintain that this unionization of screeners is an insult to them and a waste of their time.


    Last month, builders broke a record for the most new homes in 6 months, creating a minor lift in the weak housing market. From February to March, Single-family homes, which make up almost 80% of home construction, rose 7.7%, apartment and condominium construction rose 14.7 percent, and the amount of Building permits increased to the highest level since December as a result of over a 28% jump in permits granted for apartment and condo buildings. This is very promising to the economy after hitting a five-decade low in February, but still the building pace is far below what is deemed to be healthy for the US’ economy. Millions of foreclosures have forced home prices down and more foreclosures are expected this year. Most economists expect home prices along with home sales and construction to fall even further in 2011 before a modest recovery takes place.

    It gives me hope to see that the housing market has experienced a slight lift. Although the market is not recovering at the moment, I know that it is on its way to a successful recovery. I realized that even if home construction is projected to fall this year, a recovery will soon follow, subsequently improving the economy as a whole. Hopefully, the housing market will be as strong as ever a few years down the road when I’m looking into buying and selling my own properties.

    Cerys Humphreys
    7th Period


    Andrew Cohen
    7th period

    April 19th was a big day for McDonald’s as they had a huge hiring spree. Just on Tuesday, McDonald’s planned to hire roughly 50,000 workers across all 50 states. This hiring surge added around four people per restaurant. Early Tuesday, reporters and camera crew vastly outnumbered applicants at various McDonald’s restaurants around New York City. However, McDonald’s spokespeople stressed that it was not a publicity stunt and that McDonald’s had a legitimate need for 50,000 new workers. New openings are available at over 14,000 restaurants nationwide. Many stores list a starting wage of $7.25, the federal minimum wage. However, McDonald’s USA President Jan Fields said that restaurant managers have the opportunity to make $50,000 a year.

    This event is important because this is a huge hiring spree, even for one of the largest companies in the world. This relates to macroeconomics because this hiring spree may be a sign that the United States economy as a whole is not as bad as people think it is. It could be a sign that the unemployed are starting to find jobs now that jobs are more available to them. I think that this is great news. It is good to see that large companies are helping with the unemployment situation. If all large companies went on a huge hiring spree like this one, the economy would really benefit. The less money taxpayers have to pay for the unemployed to receive welfare, the more money we can put into trying to get rid of national debt.

  10. Civics and Economics
    Basirul Haque

    In 2008 Obama campaigned to raise taxes for the richest 5% of America while lowering taxes for everyone else. While this seemed like a good decision over the short term, the long term looks like it could trim off $4 trillion from the deficit. However, that $4 trillion is the just going to be a fraction of the long term projected debt. Right now a family who pays $94,000 is paying 15% in federal taxes, but in 2035 it could be from 25-38%. Such unprecedented levels of taxation would throw up hurdles to entrepreneurship, family formation and upward mobility (I copied and pasted that just because it had the word entrepreneurship in it). It could have really bad political consequences.
    I don’t really like taxing anybody but if it’s necessary then I do feel that Obamas plan is the way to go. In this article it doesn’t look like it will help too much in the future, but I believe it will. If I were president I would probably follow his plan. I think that taxing the elderly more for health insurance would be good, but it should depend on how much their kids income. I’m not in the presidents position so now all I can do is hope that the future is more bright than the one that’s currently being predicted.


    Lately air travelers have been extremely frustrated with the new secret airline fees they are having to pay. The government had started a new set of passenger protection so that these airline travelers will not be so frustrated. These new rules show that airlines should more clearly state the fees to passengers on their web sites and also in advertisements. But the one thing is that these new rules do not set a limit to how much the airlines can charge for luggage and other fees, but it says that the airlines must be clearer in their expression of fees. These rulers allow passengers to receive compensation if they are bumped from flights, they will refund all baggage that is lost, and they require a minimum of a four-hour waiting limit on the tarmac before lift off. Although it has not been specifically shown how these airlines will show their fees there has been a close down on baggage fees and making them very open because this is one of the passengers main worries.

    Although I have never had an experience with flying I do hear a lot about all the hidden fees and costs on the news. I think that this is a big issue because when people are flying in and out of places they may not know very well they want to be reassured that everything they own is going to be safely returned to them, and if its not they want to get their money back. But although this may seem like a simple task many people have trouble with getting the right tickets and getting their luggage back because airports are extremely hectic. I think that it is a good decision by the government to make these hidden fees come out in the open because no one likes hidden fees, besides of course the airlines. I don’t understand why this hasn’t been done earlier though because this is people’s hard earned money that we are talking about and if they are spending it on hidden airline fees I can see why they are getting a little frustrated. So I think that it is good the government realizes this and wants to help out.

    Leah Whitney


    This article talks about the vast oil Libya holds, the oil reserves in Libya is among the largest, and most valuable in the world. Leaders of oil-rich countries almost always enjoy rich economic rewards, and the endless supply of factions would try to take control of this. Studies has also shown that oil-rich countries with relatively large net oil exports are less likely to have a democratic democracy. If Libyan rebels are successful, allied help won't change the countries location or its basic economics. Due to its valuable oil the allies help will not bring Libya economic peace, or any other.
    I believe this is very much true, and because the US is still reliable on oil, who's ever in charge of it will also affect us. Many middle eastern economies are too reliable on oil, and as the oil slowly depletes there are likely to be more wars, and revolts to occur due to a possible unstable economy. Without something to substitute the oil the middle east's economy, for sometime, will be a disaster. As always the middle east is always prone to inevitable disasters.

  13. The price of gold reached a level of $1,506.50 a "troy ounce" on Wednesday, and although it settled at a slightly lower price ($1,498.90) this is still extremely high. There are a number of potential reasons for this price increase, including uncertainty regarding the United States budget, questions about the debt in Europe, "North Africa and the Middle East" (leading to a rise in oil prices), among other things. Gold isn't the only precious metal whose prices are rising, either: both platinum and silver have also increased. This is because in uncertain times, turning to a tangible source of wealth seems safe.

    I find this interesting because, although we are no longer on the gold standard, people still take comfort in the fact that precious metals maintain a certain worth despite what might be going on in the world economy. People distrust paper money in times of crisis, but gold will always hold value in people's eyes. I think this says a lot about the state of our economy: citizens feel safer with their wealth invested in something shiny and metallic than they do with a handfull of bills.


    President Obama recently made a speech in which he addressed the current budget crisis. His projections show that by 2020 almost 89 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government would go towards Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest. The other 11 cents would have to be used to fund every other service the federal government provides. Beyond 2020, the amount the government has left to spend would spiral down to almost nothing.

    These numbers really put our current economic crisis into perspective. In less than 10 years, if the government is not radically changed, we will be spiraling into a massive budget crisis even greater than the one we have now. President Obama has definitely put his thoughts about the economy and budget into public view. However, he has done nothing to actually fix the problem. It seems that his primary focus is on reelection, not fixing the budget. Congress also needs to come together and work as one body. Under current conditions nothing is being accomplished which means the budget is still not being fixed. Obama has called Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal radical but Obama still strongly opposes it. Obama needs to see that Ryan’s proposal is necessary for the well being of the United States. There needs to be strong bipartisanship or our government will not be able to function.

    Zach Visco
    April 21, 2011
    Period 6

  15. Ryan Hegedus
    Verizon sells 2.2 million iPhones

    In just over half of a quarter, Verizon Wireless managed to sell 2.2 million iPhones, acruing 906,000 new Verizon customers. AT&T had only sold 3.6 million phones during the full quarter and only made 62,000 new customers. Verizon has the iPhone to thank for many of its new customers, some of whom made the switch from AT&T to Verizon because the iPhone was now not exclusive to AT&T. This could be due to AT&T’s rating in consumer reports as the worst wireless carrier. Their 3G coverage was rated as subpar in major cities such as New York City and San Fransisco.
    I believe Verizon should be getting ready to send a gift basket with a Thank You note in it to Apple, because now Verizon has left AT&T in the dust. It used to be close between the two because of the iPhone, and now that they both have it, AT&T will actually have to work to improve their coverage in order to beat Verizon. This has also made me happy because as a Verizon customer I can now purchase the iPhone. The only setback the iPhone has is that it cannot use the 4G network, making some android phonesw better tyhan the iPhone.


    This Wednesday, for the first time, the price of gold has risen above $1500 an ounce. The recent rise in the price of gold, is due to the uncertainty about the economy. Gold and other precious metals, like silver and platinum, tend to surge in price during times of political and economic uncertainty, because investors see precious metals as safe assets, so they invest in them. Concern over the United State's budget, and political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East have made investors uneasy, which is why they have decided to invest in precious metals, which are the seemingly safest assets. Precious metals have been seen as safe assets, because people are always buying gold and silver. For example, the Autumn, Indian wedding season calls for the purchase large amounts of gold for traditional wedding purchases.

    I think it's interesting, but somewhat troublesome news that so many investors are investing in gold. It's interesting, because I never knew that people invested in gold in times of economic uncertainty. At the same time though, the fact that people are investing in gold and other precious metals, demonstrates that we are in a time of economic uncertainty, which is never good. I just hope that things get better, and investors go back to investing in other assets, not just the safest ones.

    Brady Strine
    6th period


    Japan’s exports have fallen drastically in wake of the devastating earthquake in March. The catastrophe disrupted supply chains and shifted the trade balance as companies struggle with shortages of essential parts. Japan’s economy is likely to suffer in the coming quarters as the export-focused country loses GDP, as a full pickup in exports may not be possible until the end of the year. Exports of cars have marked the biggest decline, and trade to the U.S. has also fallen significantly, which indicates that Japan’s surplus and industrial production data will be much less than predicted. The Bank of Japan has called meetings to discuss possible quantitative easing to support the economy.

    Japan's economy is an essential part of the global economy. With its decline as an effect of the earthquake, it is bound to leave a temporary dent in U.S. imports. People in the U.S. hardly think of the way Japan's devastation impacts our short-term trade patterns; we have shown more interest in focusing on the humanitarian side of it. In class we discussed the balance between supply and demand, and the Japanese companies who are struggling to meet the continuous demands for cars and other goods and services will definitely alter that supply-demand balance. Hopefully Japan will rebound socially and economically at the optimistic rates it has in the past, and move past the small dent it has inevitably put in the web that is the global economy.

    Jessica Gao
    6th Period


    Germany's economy has been able to prosper again with the help of their temporary workers. These temporary workers make up about 3 percent of Germany's workforce, and they are paid a lot less than the permanent workers, with poorer working conditions, and little guarantee of a permanent job. Therefore, the unions, such as IG Metall, are pushing for legislative change by raising the issue of temporary workers. However, the union has run into some problems. Starting on May 1st, temporary-employment agencies would be able to go to other European countries to get people to work in Germany. However, not everything about temporary workers is bad. Having temporary workers have lowered Germany's unemployment rate to just above 7 percent from nearly 12 percent in 2005. However, since the temporary workers are not treated the same, IG Metall is pushing to get temporary workers the same wage as the permanent workers or improve the conditions they work in. The current minimum wage for temporary workers in West Germany is 7.80 euros ($11.17) an hour and for East Germany, 6.90 euros ($9.88) an hour.

    Personally, I was very surprised at the minimum wage for the temporary workers. They consider the minimum wages for the temporary workers to be low, but compared to our minimum wage, it is a lot. However, even if they are temporary workers, they should be paid the same way and treated the same way as the permanent workers. It's just not fair to them. I'm glad that there are unions there that can help these temporary workers to get the rights they deserve. I had no idea that Germany also had unions for their workers. I never really thought about it in different countries. However, this article opened my eyes to what is happening in other country's economy. I also found it really interesting how this article relates to what we have been doing in class for the last couple of days. Just yesterday and today, we were talking about what unions do for their members, and a couple of days ago, we were talking about how the minimum wage would be a price floor. I hope that in the end, the unions of Germany will be able to negotiate a good deal for their temporary workers.

    Jenny Jin
    7th period

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.


    Riley Hutchison 7th period

    The number of people going and filing for unemployment has begun to decline as more people are finding work. Over the past week there have been 13,000 less aplications than the previous week, and the grand total was 403,000. During the recession the number of unemployment benefits rose to 659,000. Over the past month the average has only risen about 10,000. The averages keep falling, but recently it has seemed to hit a plateau. Buisnesses have also began to hire more and more, contributing roughly 200,000 more jobs. This is the largest 2 month hiring spree in the past 5 years. Allongs with that the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.8% which is the lowest in the past 2 years. These figures suggest that the economy is beginning to turn itself around.

    The economy seems to be turning itself around, and i hope that this keeps up. As a potental job seeker, this directly affects me, and i would like to be able to find a job without having to look over different states to find one. For a long time all we heard about was how terrible the economy had become, and all we were going to have to give up in order to get it back to where it should be. It is nice to hear something positive for once. There seem to be signs that certain industries are going to grow soon, such as Amewrican Manufacturing, and the housing market. We need to employ as many Americans a we can, that way they wont have to shell out extra money on unemployment benefits. If everyone were to have jobs they would have more money to spend, therefore stimulating the economy.


    On Wednesday, the price of gold per ounce skyrocketed and, for the first time, surpassed $1500 per ounce. Global inflation is greatly worrying investors; some forms of currency may completely die out, the United States is in extreme debt, and prices are rising immensely. However, raising the price of gold and other metals may potentially be a smart move. With an increase in Indian weddings, which incorporate significant amounts of gold, the economy may strengthen. Interestingly enough, China's economy has been on the rise even though the majority or the world has an economy that is unstable.

    The choice to raise the price of gold and silver, as well as other common metals was shocking for me. I expected the prices of other more affordable and more commonly used goods to be raised instead. Additionally, I find it fascinating that China's economy is prospering while others are declining. In the first quarter, its economy expanded by 9.7 percent, and I can only wonder how much more it can expand before it, too, begins to fall. The condition of the economy, in general, is very frightening, and I am curious to see what happens in the future. Hopefully, the economy can recover soon.

    Nicole Chang
    7th period

  22. When most people think about a labor union going on strike they think that the labor union has a large chunk of the power in that business. Most people suspect that this is about 50/50 for management vs labor unions. This idea is flawed in many ways and should not be what the public thinks when they hear a labor union strike. The majority of the power goes to the management and little is left for the opinion of the labor union in all 50 states.
    I think that more power should be given to the labor unions and the workers that are members of the group. Labor unions are set out to help people achieve higher pay and less hours spent laboring over work. One of the only ways that a union can do this is though the method called striking. Striking has been shown to be effective if the strike is not violent

  23. Leila Doerfer
    Period 6

    The nation's airport screeners voted in favor of unionizing in the largest unionization vote involving federal employees. However federal officials say there will be a runoff since neither union on the ballot got a majority of the votes cast. Federal officials say 8,369 security screeners, who are employees of the Transportation Security Administration, had voted to join the American Federation of Government Employees, while 8,095 had voted to join the National Treasury Employees Union. There were 3,111 votes against unionizing. Since none of the three choices got the majority vote, there will be a runoff where screeners will choose between the two different unions, which will leave out the option of not unionizing. Whichever union wins will represent the 44,000 workers that are Transportation Security Administrators (T.S.A.). The runoff will happen sometime in the next two months. Labor leaders were happy when 84 percent of the screeners that voted favored a union. They said it showed that "many government employees still wanted to bargain collectively, even when public employees are on the defensive in places like Wisconsin and Ohio, where state leaders have largely curtailed the right of public sector unions to bargain." Until recently screeners did not have a right to bargain collectively. But in February, the T.S.A.’s administrator, John S. Pistole, reversed the position of his Republican predecessor and gave the employees the right to bargain collectively. Pistole said screeners could bargain over policies on shifts, dress code, break time and awards. But the union could not negotiate wages, benefits, job qualifications, discipline standards or anything related to national security. He also said the agency’s workers would not be allowed to strike or engage in a slowdown and would be fired for doing so. Many Republican leaders were worried that this would cause workers to go on strike and jeopardize national security but Pistole informed them that national security was still the primary concern and that it was clear to the workers that they were not allowed to negotiate when it came to national security.
    This connects to what we've been talking about in class because it mentions collective bargaining, going on strike and unions. I think it's really interesting that people can be in a union that can only ask for certain things. I know that's the point of collective bargaining but it still seems a little weird to me. To me it seems sort of against the point of a union when the workers aren't even allowed to ask for certain things or they will get fired. I think it's good that they are taking the vote though because then the majority of people will get the union that they want, and everyone will benefit in one way or another.


    There are many events occurring around the world right now. The Japan Crisis, the war in Libya, and the decaying economies in Greece, Portugal, and Ireland are all things that are affecting the world economy right now. But just how much will it be affected by all these things? The author of the article thinks the world economy will not be greatly affected by this. For example, Libya only controls 2% of the world's known oil reserves. On the other hand, these events could cause trends that COULD affect the economy in the future. For example, if the unrest in Libya spread to Saudi Arabia then the world economy could suffer.

    I think it's good to consider the long term and short term effects of what is happening in the world right now. It's important to evaluate just how much these events could effect the world economy in a year from now, or in 15 years. We should be prepared for how these things will effect the economy, but no one should overreact to what's happening or panic, as panic will definitely only make anything that occurs worse.


    The government is running out of money and fast. Right now the government spends 28.4% or their revenue on social security, 24% on interest, 21.3% on Medicare, 15.3% on Medicaid, leaving only a measly 11% for everything else. President Obama predicts that by 2025, Medicare, Medicaid Social Security, and interest will use up all the federal governments revenue. At this point, everything else like transportation, education, and national security will have to be paid for with borrowed money. This is very bad news for us because it means that our tax dollars aren’t paying for everything we need. By 2020, we will only have 11% of the budget to pay for other national priorities, but after then it will eventually be reduced to zero percent. So what can we do? Well the government could hike up tax prices and cut down spending to the lowest possible amount, but that’s way too difficult. They could also borrow the money needed from other countries, but the interest cost would be higher than the amount borrowed which would be counterproductive. We will just have to work our way through these hard times and hope it gets better eventually.

    I think this is kind of scary to think that there really isn’t much we can do to help the economy because the government is already taking all the money we can give. This article relates to our study about the governments revenue. They are running out of money to pay for essential things like education, transportation and even national security. I really hope things get better and we figure out a way to help the budget without emptying our pockets completely.

    Laura Musalem
    period 6

  26. Kate Boyd
    7th pd

    In the recent budget debate, the Pentagon was given a slight boost in funding, though they wanted billions more. This was taken as a sign that there will soon be cuts to the defense budget, which budget experts have been pushing for for months. Many say that the only possible way to fix the budget crisis is to make significant cuts to defense. The Pentagon spends half of its budget on troops and defense support, so cutting the Pentagon budget will greatly reduce the number of troops. Obama has outlined a new plan that will reduce military spending by $400 billion by 2023.

    I think it's good that defense spending is being looked at and considered for cuts. I don't feel that I know enough about the military to really say how big the cuts should be, as keeping our troops supported is still important. I am glad that Obama having experts look at this and seriously consider spending cuts.


    Today the White House accused the Republicans of risking a global recession by not agreeing to raising the US debt ceiling unless there are huge spending cuts with it. Obama's spokesman said Obama's trying to compromise which would cut large deficits in exchange for increased limit on borrowing. He also said it'd be completely irresponsible if the government went into default and tanked the global economy. The Republicans argue the Democrats want a free pass to spend money they don't have, while the Democrats say the Republicans won't agree to raise the debt limit without budget binds and cuts.
    In this scenario, the Republicans arguement makes far more sense. The Democrats think that if they borrow money, they can eventually get the economy back on track. I know these economy reforms take a while to take effect, but Obama's been borrowing money for two years and the economy's just in a bigger mess. We're in no posistion to borrow money, so it makes no sense that the Democrats want to borrow more. This scenario as a chance to save the economy or destroy it. I don't know if it's worth the risk. I know Obama's got a long term plan but only has two years until the next election so he has to act fast.

    Mark Stouffer
    Period 7

  28. Thomas Nguyen
    4.21.11 Period 7

    Lawmakers slashed funding for almost every government agency, except the Pentagon. The Pentagon spending has doubled since 2001, spending $700 billion in 2010. With higher deficits looming ahead, slashing money given to the Pentagon is imminent. Last week, President Obama outlined a new plan that would cut security/defense costs by at least $400 billion by 2023. Some proposed plans have the Pentagon cutting their spending by $1 trillion within the next 10 years or so. Gordon Adams, a former Clinton Administration budget official, believes that Pentagon cuts will actually be closer to $1 trillion than the $400 billion Obama proposed. Even with these cuts, the US should retain its status as the country with the best military.

    I think that we definitely should cut funding for the Pentagon, but the question is how much? If we cut too much money, our defense and security are weakened, allowing a possible terrorist attack to happen on our soil. If we don't cut enough, our deficit will rise. For now, I think we should reform Medicare and Medicaid. They require at least 30% of our budget. With baby-boomers ahead, that could rise to over 40%. I think we should not be fighting any wars right now because of our economic situation. I think the military has to find ways of targeting/killing terrorists while saving money that could be used for something else. We haven't entirely gone into macroeconomics, but we did look at a graph that showed money distribution to the different sectors of the government. Our two top priorities are senior benefits and defense.

  29. Ariel Gunn
    Period 7

    Overall our nations mood concerning the economy is worse than its been since Obama came into office. All the optimism from earlier this year about a recovery being underway is now gone. A study shows 13 percent more of Americans unhappy because of the economy, just since last month. The public mood is even pulling down the ratings of Obama and congress members. In general people also seem to prefer cutting spending rather than increases taxes to pay for our spending.

    I'm not too surprised by this, seeing as the budget has been so public recently, most years you don't hear about it too much but this year was different. People knew how stressful it was this year and I think that's strongly affecting people. I think that the lower ratings may help the people, the politicians want to be liked and re-elected, so they try to make the people happy. I think it's sad that overall our country is becoming so unhappy.

  30. Geoff Thomason – 4/21/11 – Period 7

    Many economists believe that the very best way to reduce the budget deficit is for Congress to do absolutely nothing. That’s right; many economists believe that if Congress were to take no action in upcoming years, our budget deficit would shrink and shrink a lot. According to current federal law, there are a few significant tax increases scheduled to be put into effect in the near future. The largest of these is the expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the end of 2012. The tax increase that should be provided by the expiration of the Bush tax cuts has long been awaited by some, and even fought by others. Both parties still prefer a permanent extension of most of those tax cuts. Mainly the ones dealing with sub-$250,000 in income. Many economists suspect that both of the parties established a connection between the Bush tax cuts and their opposition for massive military cuts along with Social Security and Medicare. Economists partially feel that Congress is biased based on a link between these two subjects of tax cuts and that the link is preventing a tax increase.
    First of all, how would Congress doing nothing possibly help our situation?? I’m not sure. I feel that if we attempt to function as a ‘nation’ without a Congress, then we will be reduced to chaos and the odds of us ever ‘welcoming’ Congress back will be in the hands of Anarchy. I also feel that a tax increase is really needed and if possible, to move up the expiration of the Bush Tax cuts. It was wrong to cut taxes during a war, and right now, we need to increase taxes and increase them sooner rather than later.

  31. Jay Htut
    6th Period

    "Stingy megabanks swimming in cash"

    The loan books of our Nations Mega Banks are decreasing. Bank of America says that it loaned $144 Billion in the past year, while Wells Fargo loaned $151 Billion, and JP Morgan Chase lended $450 Billion. Although this may seem like big numbers, the total of amount of money the Mega Banks have loaned this year has dropped $210 Billion, which is approximately about 7%. What does this mean exactly? It means that this is another obstacle standing in the way of the U.S. financial debt crisis. Without the luxury of loans provided by Banks, the economy cannot fully allow itself to grow.

    I think that this issue will hurt our economy in the long run. It will take a while for us to expierence the change, but i think that the impact will be big. Without loans, new businesses and firms cannot get off their feet. They need the initial push that money provides, which would allow them to grow and expand. Without $210 Billion of loans, new businesses and firms cannot grow, which will hurt our economy in the future.

  32. Jenny Vaughn
    Period 6

    Economists expect that an increase in gas prices during this holiday season will hurt an already limping economy. They are afraid that an average $3.83 a gallon will discourage consumers from buying as much goods as they normally would during the holiday season. In 2011 alone, gas prices have increased by 70 cents which is taking 100 billion dollars from American households. The first-quarter gross domestic product growth expectation was dropped to 1.75%. That's down from 2.5% two weeks ago and 3.5% from last month. Still, some remain optimistic due to increased hiring and better wages. It is said that to stimulate the economy, we should lower gas prices, more jobs, and slightly lower prices of goods. In any situation, we will be facing this problem for a while.

    I believe that oil companies are taking advantage of the dependence of people on their cars in this rough economy. If they lowered their gas prices, the whole economy would benefit. Consumers are already weary, even though it is a holiday season, and this discourages them even more. The gas companies would benefit more in the long run if they did this because the overall economy would be better and people could afford more money to spend on things like gas.


    Tristin Van Ord

    More than 245 tornados made their way to some southern states last weekend. They left behind a nasty trail of 45 deaths and hundreds of homes left in the dust. Oklahoma, Texas, and North Carolina suffered the most. Thousands of insurance claims have been pouring in, possibly raising homeowner’s costs for everybody. In one insurance company alone, State Farm in North Carolina, has gotten about 7, 400 homeowner’s claims and about 2, 800 for cars. Some people are estimating that these natural disasters in the south have cost HUNDREDS of millions of dollars of damage. Insurance companies are paying for many recent disasters in the US such as the icy storms that blew through in the winter, and wildfires that have been burning in the west. Last year it cost State Farm 3.2 Billion dollars for hail and wind damage. Insurance companies are prepared for these instant catastrophes but it does make the companies nervous. After disasters, rates tend to go up.

    I think that this is so sad, especially considering these tornados took place in North Carolina! I wasn’t in town this weekend, but when I was watching the news I was shocked to hear about all the damage that these storms caused. 45 deaths from tornados is so sad, and I hope everyone who lost a family member or friend is doing all right. I think it is so devastating to see that thousands of claims have come in for people who have lost their homes and cars. Hundreds of millions of dollars of damage has taken place in our own country and we need to fix this. I also think insurance companies are a bit sleezy. I know they are just being smart and trying to earn the most money that they can, but I mean really. For an example in the article it said that an insurance company claimed that some houses in Katrina were damaged from flooding, (which the company did not cover,) not the wind. Insurance companies need to get their butts in there and help. This article relates to what we have been learning because it has to do with consumers (people who buy insurance) do in certain situations and what the producers (insurance companies) do in certain situations. AKA economics :)


    Gold prices have recently surged upward, reaching $1,500 per ounce for the first time on Wednesday. Other metals, such as platinum and silver, have also seen a price increase. The increased prices of precious metals can be attributed to multiple reasons, including inflation, the turmoil occurring in the Middle East and North Africa, the unstable US budget, and unsustainable debt levels in European countries. The unstable economy and the resulting inflation have propelled many people to search for more reliable and tangible wealth in the form of precious medals. In addition, it is wedding season in India, and it is imperative that the bride receive gold gifts, wear gold jewelry, and shop for gold accessories.

    The rising global gold prices contributes to macroeconomics, a concept we have been studying in class. An undependable economy oftentimes causes concern over paper money (which used to be backed up by gold) and its worth. People find comfort in the fact that gold and other precious medals have a solid value, and will invest in them as a means of redirecting their wealth from the unstable value of paper money.

    Maria Yao, 6th

    In the budget cutting plan, Republicans have demanded harsh sacrifices from most vulnerable citizens,but they also decided to leave a big,wasteful government spending:the Pentagon budget.For the military spending,it turns to be $7.5 trillion over the next dozen years (does not include the spending on fighting), president Obama was going to take $7.1 instead, however, those $4 billions are necessary,even though the country doesn't need to fight big wars, additionally, the country cannot afford more than that.
    I felt nervous every time I read the things about the unbalanced budget and the excess deficit---the national debt is increasing tremendously,I really hope President Obama's new budget plan would slow down that rate,even though it's a whole lot of money again in his new plan. The annual budget has grown by 50% in the past decade, and it's even more than those from the $1 trillion spent on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We all know that the previous president, George Bush, has indeed left many of the budget problems to Obama once he retired,his tax cutting is considered "politically smart but not economic smart", should people put most of the blame in Republicans? Since they try to make high rank people of the society to become more dominant,and caused the unbalanced budget,too much deficits, and put American economy on risk? We may not know(even though you want to blame republican), I don't know if the government shutdown this time could help much about saving the money.
    Jessica Yin
    7th period


    New Hampshire’s Senate voted Wednesday to pass the bill which overturns collective bargaining and turns the state into a right-to-work state. This makes it the first in New England to be right-to-work. Senator Raymond White, a Republican, said that he believed that the issue is about freedom of choice over paying union dues. Mark MacKenzie, president of the New Hampshire American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, said that it was an attack on the middle class’s ability to negotiate in a state which has not been hit that hard by the recession. The bill is expected to be vetoed by the governor and then overridden by legislators, making it New Hampshire law.

    This is exactly what we talked about in class. The right-to-work states do not require union membership, and therefore the unions are much less powerful. Republicans in majority are now doing everything they can to weaken the unions, as that is not one of the ideals they support. I believe that workers need a way to stick up for their own rights. I do not know if the way they currently go about it is the best way, through collective bargaining, etc. but we cannot let our workers fall into poverty. I think that in the Republicans’ zeal to jump the economy they are leaving some of the lower class members of our population behind. Perhaps these new laws will help businesses do better, but the average middle class consumer will now have more trouble paying for the goods and will have to spend less. This is exactly the opposite of what our economy needs.

    Chiara Salemi

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    Hannah Blackburn
    7th pd.

    Political turmoil in Bahrain has taken a toll on union workers. The government is moving quickly to a totalitarian state. Bahrain's oppressive government is firing General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions (GFBTU) members: 750 union workers and half the union leaders have been fired. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said in a report that even more union workers have been fired for being involved in union activities to support peace and democracy. Yesterday, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) filed a complaint that Bahrain violated the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement by attacking union workers and firing union members for peaceful protests. The UN is getting involved, too, by sending a mission from the International Labor Organization to talk with Bahrain's president about the attacks on union members.

    It makes strategic sense for Bahrain's president to attempt to eradicate the unions if he wants complete power. In any totalitarian state, a group of people with a common purpose and goal is a threat to the regime. Thankfully, there are so many groups going to Bahrain to investigate and, in some cases, speak with the president. I think unions are great ways to protect workers from major abuse. Unions might be able to help a lot in third world countries where child labor is a problem. The union could help rat out companies who use child labor, and could help the unemployed find work.


    The budget debate that became fully engaged last week is about far more than accounting and arcane policy disputes. What is under way now is the most fundamental reassessment of the size and role of government. It deals with the balance between personal responsibility and private markets on the one hand and public responsibility and social welfare on the other. The Democratic and Republican Parties have their own internal tensions to address as the debate goes forward in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail, but in its early stages at least, its liberals who are on the defensive. The aging of the baby boom generation and the costs of maintaining Medicare and Social Security have put the two pillars of the social welfare system on the table for re-examination. The growing weight of the national debt has given urgency to the question of whether the government has become too big and expensive.

    The only way we can really reduce our debt is cut federal spending. The only reason the government is becoming too big and expensive is because we are using our money on these huge ideas when we are deep in debt. I’m not discouraging new ideas, but I’m just saying that we should not be focusing on them in a time like this. 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 money 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. It would be even better if we just use less money.

    Chris Barth

  40. Tanner Gardner-7th Period

    President Obama proffered his opinion on rising oil prices at a speech in Virginia.
    "It is true that a lot of what's driving oil prices up right now is not the lack of supply. There's enough supply. There's enough oil out there for world demand," Obama said. But
    If supply is solid and demand is solid, how can it be that oil prices are skyrocketing?
    "The problem is ... speculators and people make various bets, and they say, you know what, we think that maybe there's a 20 percent chance that something might happen in the Middle East that might disrupt oil supply, so we're going to bet that oil is going to go up real high. And that spikes up prices significantly." One possible explanation for higher prices is
    fluxuation of costs can also cause economic losses when macroeconomic frictions prevent rapid changes in prices for final goods or for key inputs, such as wages. When a nominal increase in oil prices threatens purchasing power, the adjustment process is slowed, with multiplier effects throughout the economy.
    Considering the harm to the American economy that high oil prices bring, and considering the attention that the administration is now paying to speculators, might changes be on the way? Following the 2008 oil price boom, when crude hit $136 a barrel and gas hovered above $4 a gallon, Congress introduced nine bills to end speculation. It is unknown whether the Obama Administration or the divided Congress has plans to take up the matter, presumably after the budget talks are ended.

    I wonder if Obama is keeping troops lingering in the Middle East to keep the oil supply steady and in turn our economy. Maybe that's why he's not making good on his promise to withdraw US forces. It seems like the masses are conditioned to not even question whether we even need oil, just what the prices should be. Their minds are boxed in. I think we should follow the example of the place where this article came from: San Francisco. Car protests have been held there since the 70's. There’s something to be said for local public transportation.


    According to economist Professor Dany Quah's calculations, "'the average location of economic activity' ... has been moving further east". This "center of gravity" was aruond the Mid-Atlantic in 1980 but has since moved, as a result of East Asia's economic success, towards eastern Europe around Helsinki and Bucharest. Professor Quah predicts this "center" to be in Indochina by 2050.
    I think that the ability to predict where the world's economic center is is interesting. Using this, businesses can plan where to center efforts for different branches of their companies. This is also useful because this aspect of the economy is not totally unpredictable, a concept that frightens many people.

  42. Sam Freedberg
    6th Period
    Prodded by growing public frustration over sharply rising gasoline prices, the Justice Department on Thursday announced the formation of a team -- the "Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group -- tasked with the goal of ensuring consumers are not victims of price gouging.
    Gas prices exceeding $4 per gallon or higher are "tough" for most Americans, President Barack Obama told an audience in Reno, Nevada. "We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain."
    "This gas issue is serious," the president said. "It hurts."

    I think that these gas prices are really hurting America. right now, we need to be putting everything we can into alternative energy sources because $5 a gallon is ridiculous. I think this group will accomplish something and hopefully save America from extremely high gas prices

  43. Eric Plevy

    CEO’s now earn around 343 times more than the average worker. AFL-CIO has discovered a 23% increase in the pay of CEO’s from 2009 to 2010. Other companies, such as, plan to eventually gather statistics from all 500 companies. This organization is run by the union and wants to exploit the economic gap between CEOs and workers. This awareness can help to raise the wages of hard workers.
    Although a CEO may have a high up position in a company, they do not have to do the intense labor that the average worker must perform. It is completely unfair that one who does more work is payed less. There are more lower clansmen than upperclassmen. The government is meant to content the majority, and in this case, would be the workers. I believe it is truly unfair that our country pays the lesser-working minority more than the harder-working majority. I would not blame underpaid workers to go on strike in order to receive the money they deserve. This relates to what we are doing since unions are trying to raise awareness in order to gain higher salaries that CEOs are stealing from these hard workers. The importance of this is that these workers could easily go on strike and could trigger a national strike amongst workers uniting to fight the high wages that CEOs recieve but may not deserve. Without properly functioning companies, there cannot be a properly functioning country.


    Jackson Wright
    6th period

    Recent polls In the country show that people have their morales at an all time low under the current economic conditions. Latest polls have shown that amid rising gas prices, bad unemployment, and unrelenting budget debate, he united states citizens are not happy. Much of the country has disapproved Of how Obama has handled latest economic issues and are waiting for an upturn to help out their morale.

    I do not believe that people of the states understand that this is not Obama's fault as he has done his best to pull us out of this economic recession he was thrown in to. George W Bush run a surplus into a huge deficit with his terrible administration and Obama now has to pull us out of it. I think Obama is doing his best and is a good leader doing his best.

  45. Julie Wulforst
    Period 6

    Gases have been increasing dramatically over the last few months. The weird thing is, gas prices are only 7% than the all time high, while oil prices are 24% lower than the all time high! So we ask, why is gasoline so expensive, when oil is so far off its record price? The answer is the price of oil has very little immediate effect on the price we pay at the pump. Gas and oil prices do not go hand in hand, and the price of gas is often a few weeks behind the price of oil. Currently we're buying a gallon of gas for 78 cents more than what refiners are paying for a gallon of oil. Over the last 29 days, the average price of gas in America has risen 29 cents.

    This relates to what we've been studying in class because it is about a limited resource, scarcity, and a market in which there are only a few providers. The price of gas really effects the whole economy because people won't do things like make unneccessary trips to the mall "just because", or travel unless they have to. This summer, gas is expected to surpass $4 a gallon, and the amount of travel will decrease immensely. Our nation, as well as the entire world, really need to come up with alternative solutions to gasoline, for the economy and for the enviroment.

    By: Alex Grosskurth
    period 6
    Oil prices have been going higher and higher recently. When it used to be 3.20 a gallon its now almost four dollars a gallon. China has begun using more oil, before they would buy ten million barrels a day, now its 10.2 million barrels each day. China also consumes more per capita than the United States. China's recent consumption hike is due to the fact that they use petroleum much more because some of their coal plants were shut down. China has become the main consumer of gas in the world, and its hard to meet the world's demand with all the oil being demanded. The IEA has said that every country with oil is going to have to do more work and by the year 2035 we will begin using less oil and we will slowly use less and less. China has begun to prepare for this by creating a storage facility that can hold 281 million barrels of oil.

    Oil and oil prices are definitely serious problems in our world right now. Oil is a limited resource and we cant take it for granted and we need to look for alternatives before its too late. If the only time they predict that we will begin using less oil is 2035, theres a problem. Continually drilling for oil is not going to help us either. No matter how much oil we find, it still doesn't aid the enviornmental aspect of the problem. We need to invest in clean energy so that gas price fluctuations won't affect us nearly as much as this in the future.