This semester, I am enrolled in a course on Public Policy and the International Economy and we participate in a weekly forum on a variety of topics. I included an excerpt of my most recent response to a question posed regarding new challenges facing our society as we approach the 2012 election.
Obama’s State of the Union speech last week touched largely upon factors that have contributed heavily to our sluggish economic recovery, one of the biggest culprits, he noted, was the increase of economic inequality the has steadily grown in the United States since the 1960’s. A multitude of American federal taxation blunders exacerbated this disparity between economic classes in our society, most notably within the past two decades.
While the federal tax system in our country was initially progressive, it became decreasingly so especially under the later Bush administration. Between 1996 and 2006, a period when the top 0.1 percent of filers experienced an almost two-fold increase in income, the Congressional Research Service’s report, found that poorest 20 percent of tax filers saw their incomes fall by 6 percent, increasing income inequality both before and after taxes.
Additionally, corporate income tax as a percentage of the federal revenue has remarkably decreased, with corporate taxes decreasing from 33% of government revenue during the 1940’s to a meager 10% in 2000. Increasing the corporate tax rate would be a step in the right direction for the United States and would decrease some of the unnecessarily large bonuses and rewards doled out to “the 1%” or top executives and other business leaders.
Bottom line—Government inaction on income inequality needs to cease. I could only imagine that this issue and the related tax policies will remain at the forefront of this year’s presidential campaign.
Romney’s victory in the Florida primary demonstrated a successful alteration of campaign strategy and effective adjustments from his efforts in The Sunshine State during the 2008 election. Romeny captured many of the conservatives nestled in the panhandle of the state while suprisingly capturing a bastion of moderates farther South near Miami. It’s no suprise that Florida constitutents are looking for change in policy, especially given the severity of the housing collapse in their state and a chronic unemployment level that has largely remained stagnant during Obama’s administration.
As a current Hoosier, I felt obligated to include the link to a recent Wall Street Journal article that accurately sums up the renewed vigor that Indiana University has demonstrated this year for its beloved basketball team. It is a catharsis that I couldn’t be prouder to experience and a sense of pride that is emanating from our Midwestern state across the country. With eager anticipation, I look to the future months in hopes that our squad gains momentum and accelerates towards the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
Check out the WSJ article below and let’s GO HOOSIERS!
As news surfaced this weekend that Facebook is preparing to release its IPO, I can’t help but question if CEO Mark Zuckerburg and his cronies have misjudged the life cycle of their organization and missed out on offering their IPO at the company’s peak. As a recently discovered Twitter enthusiast, many of my friends are quickly converting over to the witty social media site that, in my opinion, does a better job aggregating content and allows you to interact with friends, companies and organizations more directly. In fact, my Facebook usage has decreased largely this year, and while I still take a gander to peruse my friends’ latest photo albums, Twitter has won my heart and slowly stolen my social media usage. With analysts estimating public investment into Facebook from 75-100 billion dollars, it’s undeniable that the company is still fervently growing. But the real question remains, did Facebook miss out on releasing at its peak or will they recapture social media users like me with their innovation and creativity?
Yesterday marked the annual State of the Union speech given by the President and there was a general sense of public anticipation for Obama’s message along with curiosity as to how he will map out the remainder of his term and upcoming campaign agenda. The majority of the speech was used to solidify last year’s message, the reassurance that we are, in fact, emerging from a recession, but in order to further propel growth and recovery forward, we must reduce the problems created by income disparity and commerce. The State of the Union speech is always a bit contrived and forced regardless of administration, but I thought Obama successfully outlined his agenda while strategically targeting the middle class and swing states that will inevitably be critical come November.
The Romneys finally released their much debated tax returns for the past two years and the country is breathing a collective sigh of relief that this matter can be put to rest and the GOP can focus on actually choosing a candidate. However, I found it quite interesting to realize that the Romneys disclosed income of $21.7 million and $20.9 million 2010 and 2011, respectively, with Mitt and his wife, Anne, doling out nearly 7 million in taxes to the government. Also interesting to note was the nearly $8 million dollars tithed to the Church of the Latter Day Saints, of which Mitt is an active member. As the Romney’s gave more to their church than they paid to the federal government in taxes, it’s undeniable that religion is still an “elephant in the room” for the GOP in selecting Mitt as a candidate. Is our society ready for a Mormon president? Only the remaining primaries will tell which path the Republicans head towards.
As a lifelong Chicagoan, there seems to be no escape from the infamous Chicago political machine—the powerful patronage system that has become a trademark of our city and the state of Illinois, as a whole. Thus, it didn’t surprise me back in 2010, when a scandal erupted involving state legislators doling out general assembly tuition scholarships to children of family, friends, campaign staff and donors. However, today, a recent article published by the Better Government Association, found that mechanisms put in place since 2010 to prevent such blatant favoritism are still not effective as evidenced by the discovery that State Rep. Robert Rita gave one of his tuition waivers to the daughter of Rita’s friend, 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, to attend University of Illinois in Champaign. When will these politicians learn? In Rita’s district only 1/10 constituents has a college degree and it is without a doubt that some deserving student in this district had a higher financial need for the nearly $37,000 scholarship. But yet again, we see the cronyism that is so distinctively Chicago. They say some things never change, and it seems like Chicago politics is one of them.
It is with great sadness that I mourn the passing of my grandfather, Alvin Delau, who left us last week at the age of 86. A man of pride, morality and class, I will always remember him most importantly as a World War 2 veteran and a representation of one of the finest generations in American history. According to the United States Department of Federal Affairs, roughly 850 WW2 veterans now die everyday and it is with the heaviest of hearts that I mourn the recent loss of my family. As they say, Once a Marine, Always a Marine. You will be missed.