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Posts Tagged ‘Americans’

Alright. For whatever reason, many people have been expecting me to post about the newly signed bill about Health Care Reform (I’ve already written one, here: A Response. This past Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed a revolutionary health care bill into law. This bill would increase coverage to several million people and would force health care providers to adhere to various regulations as set by the 50 different markets that will be developed by this health care reform. Why we are walking backwards into a country that is no longer united, I do not know. Perhaps it is because the federal government is too terrified to make a solid decision on abortion (the Democratic party is united… united so long as no controversial topics come up). Perhaps it is because America is incapable of learning from past mistakes.

Other noteworthy comments about the bill:

  • No Republican voted for the bill (in either House or Congress)
  • The bill passed by 7 votes.
  • People who refuse Health Care or take health care that is not accepted will be fined.
  • Of all the bills that have been introduced to reform health care, this is the hardest one for me to find online. It took me 2 hours to simply find it. What the hell. The name (the actual name of the bill) has changed enough times that keeping track of it is nearly pointless.
  • Hopefully people who have been following the bill(s) now understands how a bill is passed. Perhaps the one good thing about this bill is that it encouraged people to understand how bills are passed into law (although I’m more convinced that people just gave up).

But what I really wanted to talk about was not the health care bill. Today, I want to talk about this ridiculous obsession about the health care reform bill. There are other bills out there that the Houses have to vote on and there is other news out there. Instead, we spent all our time concentrating on this one bill, which well all knew was going to pass whether we liked it or not because the Democrats have an obscene majority in the House and the Senate. Democrats who are touting it off as a new revolutionary bill that is the equivalent to the Social Security Act clearly have not seen how Social Security has been driving our financial standing into the ground and also clearly haven’t taken a serious look at the cost of the bill. (Either that, or they just simply believe every word that the Democratic Party says.) It’s also pretty ridiculous to claim that there have been immediate economic consequences (negative or positive) since it was signed into law on TUESDAY. Any change is simply a result of people’s reactions to the bill, not the bill itself.
Republicans who are too pigheaded to see that we need health care reform are equally ignorant. At least the Democratic party is making efforts to improve our health care situation. The Democratic Party at least made several attempts to include things that the Republican party wanted, while the Republican party has done nothing to try and create reform. The non-bipartisanship of this law is not the whole fault of the Democrats, who have made continual attempts to appease the Republicans.

And it’s this drama that keeps the Health Care Reform bill/law in the news. Rather than concentrating on things we can change and things that are equally important, we default back into Health Care Reform.

Below is a list of bills and laws that are equally important and are greatly ignored by mainstream America.

  • S.773 – Cybersecurity Act of 2009 – Creates a Cybersecurity Advisory Panel and allows the Department of Commerce to act as a Clearinghouse. There also a mention of a scholarship in there for students who are interested in going into cyber security, and ideas for competitions that students can enter.
  • H.R.2847 – Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) – Signed into law on March 18, 2010. Reallocates money into House of Commerce and Transportation agencies. Also creates new incentives for hiring unemployed workers.
  • H.R.4213 – American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010 – Passed both the House and amended by the Senate (must be re-passed with the new changes by the House). It extends the current deadline to file for certain unemployment benefits. In total, the bill will cost $140 billion dollars, with NO plan to make up the money in any other way (at least the Health Care Bill[s] had various plans, although weak, to make up the lost revenue over a long period of time). [Credits to jmflora for catching my mistake]
  • H.R.3221 – Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 – Reallocates money from the Stafford loans and from programs that allow for government subsidies to support private company loans to put into the Pell Grant program. Increases money to advertising science, math and technology fields to Hispanics and Blacks (aka: more scholarship money for them).
  • S.1733 – Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (what is it with candidates for President who lost putting out bills on energy reform?) – Introduced by Senator John Kerry. Creates a nation-wide cap-and-trade program that would promote decreased greenhouse gas emissions.
  • H.R.1207 – Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 – Introduced by Ron Paul (the only Republican who supports this bill, mind you). Overhauls the current relationship between the Federal Reserve and the US Congress/US Treasury. Gives control to the Comptroller General, who will audit the Federal Reserve
  • H.R.226 – Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2009 – Stops the FCC from reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine, which required news broadcasters to present opposing views on controversial issues (the Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987).
  • H.R.231 – The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 – Creates new labels warning parents about the dangers of certain video games. The warning would read such (for games with a rating of above T): “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior”
  • H.R.414 – Camera Phone Predator Alert Act – Requires that all phones with a camera make a sound (like a click-click camera sound) when taking a picture
  • .

I’m not asking for society to follow all the bills being passed in the US Government. Just please be aware that Health Care Reform is not the only be all end all of topics. It is certainly not the only one that is up for debate in the Houses.

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More writing!

On Thursday, Feb 18, the Federal Reserve announced that it intends to increase its Discount Rate. I found this to be interesting, because I spent the greater portion of my senior year working on the Fed Challenge, and we (as a group) determined we should increase interest rates (the Fed, however, ended up dropping them even more). However, I’m pretty sure most people don’t actually understand what this means for the economy, despite it actually having a lot of economic significance.

I noticed that a lot of people like to say they understand economic policy of the government, but have no idea about the uses of monetary policy, even though it makes up half of our economic policy. Dammit, most people don’t even know the relevance of the Federal Reserve.

And, yes, I am fully aware that I have talked about this before. If you want a real quick explanation, you can go back and read my previous blog posts about the Federal Reserve:
1)The Real Quick (and, now that I look back, poorly written) Blurb
2)A Post About Possibly Shifting More Power to Congress and Away from The Federal Reserve

But going back to the original topic, I think it’s fascinating that the Fed decided to increase the Discount Rate. It’s an action that I’ve been hoping they’d do for quite some time in an effort to move towards a normal economic system. Hopefully this is a sign that the Federal Reserve tends to put some value back into our dollar, instead of continually plummeting the interest rate to pump more money into the economy.

However, I am curious to see how soon it will be until the Federal Reserve decides to bump their Reserve Rate up. The Fed has stated that they want to keep their interest rates relatively low, so that banks can still borrow money (Congress, on the other hand, likes to pump money into the economy with no direction or goal of using it to put the economy back on track), but I’m not sure if this increase will be enough to encourage banks and investors that the economy is actually improving. I’ll be interested to see when the Federal Reserve decides to increase their Reserve Rate, because it’ll be a good gauge of how well they think our economy is coming out of the depression.

The situation is twice as interesting since Bernanke is up for reappointment by the president, and I wonder if this decision will help or hinder his reappointment. Despite him being an appointment made by Bush, Obama seems likely to reappoint Bernanke for a second term. I personally feel that Bernanke is far too fearful of making significant changes, and that the Federal Reserve dances around too much and allows the economy to grow too much (resulting in a bubble burst and a recession), but past Fed Chairmen (*cough* Alan Greenspan *cough*) have been equally terrible. Perhaps if they didn’t worry so much about being reappointed, they’d be capable of doing their job.

And yet we see the same problems in government politics. Elected (and appointed) officials are so damn terrified about not being reappointed that they do a poor job because they’re too afraid to do anything. And, as a result, the economy crumbles because politicians have to listen to American society, many of whom think that by simply making more money, we’ll be a richer country.

Perhaps if Americans could realize they’re not as smart in Economics and Policy Making as they claim to be, they’d be more willing to learn and understand, and politicians could actually do their job. It’s funny to think that politicians get voted in because they suck at policy making (as much as Americans suck at political science).


Post-writing apologizes: I realize that this has become more of a complaint about how American people don’t understand economics/political science rather than an analysis of what the Federal Reserve Discount Rate increase actually means. I’m glad the Federal Reserve Discount Rate has increased, because it’ll hopefully trick the economy into improving and jump start loaning again. But most people won’t see the relevance in it since most people, wrongly, think the government has complete control over the economy. Silly Americans.

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