Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Need For More People

In this article, they are saying that if we add more people into the United States that it will help boost the economy above other countries like China. If the United States wants to retain economic power, Charles Kenny said that we must make or import more people into the United States. If we import these people, not only do we gain people, but other countries lose these people making our gain even better. Importing people not only helps our economy, but it saves money because we won't have to raise a child. Children cost a lot of money, so the less the children, the more money we will have in the economy. Kenny believes that we need to quicken our per capita gross domestic product over China's if we want to have any economic power. When first reading this article, I was confused because I thought that the more people, the less jobs there are. Which I thought would weaken our economy even more than it is now. The more people there are in the country, would mean that there is more money circulating in the economy. This would definitely help ourselves get out of the recession and into recovery.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is Education for Everyone?

This article elaborates on the veiled jabs between GOP candidate Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama. Basically, Santorum implied that advocating college education for everyone is rather ridiculous. I completely agree. Everyone in the US does not have the resources or the money to go to college. That is just a fact. President Obama, an advocate of Keynesian Economics, believes that in order for the economy to prosper, one must spend more money than is available to jumpstart the economy. President Obama has shown a vested interest in this theory to pick America up out of the recession, but thus far has not delivered in the least. But where does education come in?
If you think about the current job market, it is a really scary place. The market is highly competitive for a variety of reasons. People have to get higher education (aka College) to have a shot at getting a decent job. However, there are two major flaws to Obama's educational aspirations. Where does all of this money come from and why would a burger flipper at McDonald's need an expensive college education?
In my humble opinion, college has, and will continue to be a place for people that are aspiring to do great things. As the job market insists on having the best workers, college can continue to increase their premiums because it has become a necessity instead of a luxury. If colleges increase their tuitions, then how is the average Joe going to afford it? The only way college students from low income backgrounds can afford college is through governmental assistance programs, which are a luxury of living in a capitalistic society. However, government assistance can only go so far before it becomes overbearing and ridiculous. Where does that 'line in the sand' lie? Who knows? One thing is for sure; if Obama believes education will solve all problems, he will have a long list of donations from the federal government to make, a list that will never cease to expand the current debt of the US economy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"The Dis-United States of Gas Prices"

This article describes the disunity of fluctuation of gas prices in our nation. Many have heard that the national gas price average will reach five dollars by the end of the year or even by summer. This article explains the possible confusion of why some cities have gas prices much lower than the national average of $3.65. Transportation, machinery, and money all play a huge part in the oil drilling process. Our country is obviously not in ideal financial condition which makes it difficult for transportation to occur. This is the main reason for gas prices in the central U.S. being cheaper. The crude oil simply cannot be efficiently transported to where it needs to go. Will this issue cause population demographics to change, and/or migration?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Breaking the 1 Percent

This article describes how the working class in Sweden and Norway was able to take the power from the 1%, the extremely wealthy, and change the country in favor of the 99%. Both countries had extremely bad poverty prior to the 1930s, when the power changed in those countries. People had to leave the country to avoid starving to death. The people used non-violent means to remove the "1 percenters" from power. The working class created a strong economy which "eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a matter of right and created a system of full employment.". The standard of living is very good there. Production is primarily publicly owned, taxation is very progressive, and increased government regulation of the private sector. In 2008, Sweden and Norway were perfectly fine, while the US began to struggle with a recession.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Government Intervention for the Nation and the Individual

This article talks about the annoyances of going to a necessary government office - the DMV. People may think that the government may be unnecessary because the free market renders it so, but most probably because of the inconvenient experiences one has to deal with. The United States is a mixed economy system. Government intervention is included for a reason. The government helps regulate helps the weak that can not produce, and has some other benefits. However, can’t these government interventions be made pleasant for people? Rather than merely doing something that has to be done, workers at a DMV should be more welcoming to people. The government needs to interfere, that is understood. But shouldn’t these interferences be made the most beneficial for people? Government intervention helps the country as a whole, but can help people individually on a daily basis, as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Are We Stealing Jobs?

In this article, they are talking about how a department store moved from Iowa City to the one next to it, Coralville. Moving this department store doesn't change much for the good. The location might change, but not many new jobs are created. Mostly jobs are just switched from one person to the next because of the change in location. Also more money is being spent on moving the department store, then the department store seemed to be making at that point in time. The Sycamore Mall is losing one of the department stores that makes money in their area. This devastates not only the mall, but the people working at the mall. Von Maur was bringing in some type of business into the mall, but now that is taken away causing less people to shop there, which causes more people to lose their jobs. Cities stealing from one another does not help the economy right now. We need to be creating new jobs, not stealing old jobs from other people who live in our area. This competition between cities to see who gets what store just causes more money to be spent and no one getting any new jobs. Also the stores won't make as much money as they are hoping for because they have to shut down business, so they can move the store front. It is predicted that not all of the money lost will be recovered from moving the department store.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Retirees are Scarce

This Article explains the cruciality of expanding jobs in America because elderly people are, to put it simply, not retiring in the usual amounts. Due to the stock market crash in 2008, many Americans are still living in fear. This fear is manifested in many different avenues. One of these avenues is in the retirement community. People that are now hitting the 65 range are normally labeled as retirees because they typically retire in their golden years. This is no longer the case. Elderly people are actually going out of their way to keep their jobs in fear for what another stock market crash would do to their wallets. Why is this important? Well, if there are limited job numbers in an expanding population and the older people are not giving up their jobs for younger people to take over, there is a slight problem. In this recession, where President Barack Obama has attempted to create more jobs for the lower class Americans, the job market is becoming more and more competitive. Now, you can barely get a job as a file clerk without having a bachelor’s degree. Even more pressing is the idea that working class Americans are finding it harder and harder to find a job. When the unemployment rate is steadily increasing, despite government funding, we are in a tough situation.

Another interesting factor is the fact that the housing market has declined in the past years. We are currently on the cusp of a rise in real estate, but not yet. Many retirees, who planned to sell their house for a profit, now have to sit on the piece of property to wait for the home to turn profitable again. This puts the housing market in a bad place as well. Without considering the consequences, I thought retiring was just a typical practice. Now, it has become more of a luxury. In harsh economic times, it is easy to overlook the elderly people because of technological innovation and new sciences; however, we need to put our brains together to find out how to solve the retirement issue. Is it a problem for the federal government to address, or is it more a change in attitude? Only time and more paychecks will tell.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Much is Your Safety Worth?

This article is about a little, 9 year old girl that was punished for lying about eating candy bars, and as a result, passed away. Her grandmother and stepmother forced her to run for three hours straight without water. If these sorts of crimes are happening everyday, perhaps not all as cruel, how do they affect the economy? Police officers, judges, courts, and prisons are all necessary for these crimes to be punished properly. Also, all of the elements listed cost a great deal of money. For each and every crime to punished to the most reasonable extent, the country would probably go deeper into debt. This article is about prisons that hold too many prisoners and as a result must release criminals because there is not enough funds to hold that many. If our safety is so costly, who determines the least harmful criminals? Our nation's companies and businesses have been laying people off for more than 4 years now. As of current, we are in "recovery", if our economy "double-dips", is there a possibility of law enforcers being laid off? If that occurs, our safety will only lessen.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Benefits of Living Under a Highway?

Places like New York have the highest living costs. One reason, of course, is scarcity. The demand for living space in this area is so high because of the nice views and other benefits there are. How to increase the amount of living space in the city? This article talks about combining bridges, or highways, and incorporating other aspects to them so that they can be used for more than one thing. This also relates to maximum efficiency in a way, because something is being used to the best of its ability. Why just use a bridge or highway to merely go from one place to another? What if, in New York, more apartments were built underneath bridges? Architects nowadays can design masterful plans to make this idea feasible. Those that lived in them would still get a great view and those types of benefits. Adding these would increase the amount of living space, helping the fact that good places are scarce. It also uses the bridge or highway to its full potential, as a bridge or highway can do more than just get people from place to place. It does not only have to stop at adding apartments, things like shops and restaurants can be added as well. A mere highway could suddenly turn into a large metropolis area and reap other economic benefits as well.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


This "Calvin and Hobbes" comic takes shots at a few different groups who are often blamed for the economic problems in this country. It satirizes government subsidies, Unions, and CEOs. First Calvin mocks the ridiculously high salaries and bonuses that CEOs and company presidents often give themselves. Also, Calvin , playing the CEO of his business, is against government health and safety regulations that would cost him money. "Caveat Empor" means "let the buyer beware" in latin, an effort to save money. But when his company starts to go under because of his incompetence in running a business, he runs off and begs for a government subsidy, represented here by his mother. Who you assume will subsidize Calvin's Lemonade Stand. He then plays the role of employee, since he is both the sole employee, investor, and CEO of his lemonade stand. Calvin pokes fun at the unions who demand high wages, and benefits. These all combine to hurt the consumer, when prices go through the roof, such as if lemonade was $15 a glass. Obviously it is all exaggerated, but it shows how these different groups of people, when acting irresponsibly, can hurt both the consumer and the economy as a whole.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day: Good or Bad?

Have you ever just stopped and thought about how much money is spent on holidays? Days like Valentine's Day, where it seems like tradition to buy your loved one candy or flowers. Valentine's Day is one of the most expensive days of the year, especially this year as said in this article. Valentine's Day is the day where you show your loved one how much they really mean to you by buying them cheap candy and flowers. This holiday should be more than just buying gifts. In this article, it shows how much money is spent on candy, balloons, and flowers. The only good thing about Valentine's Day is that more people become employed towards this time of year because of the demand for flowers and candy. This Valentine's Day has been the most expensive Valentine's Day is the past decade. This is good for the income of these businesses like the florists who deliver flowers and the restaurants that house the dates. Valentine's Day can seem like it's a pointless holiday because all people do is buy candy and flowers, but really this is helping the economy not only buy bringing in money, but also causing employment to rise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Housing Market: Reduced Sizes, More Expectations

This Article explains how housing markets are changing to suit the demand of homeowners in modern times. The sizes of houses are reducing, but so are their price tags. People expect more for their money, but let’s establish what more means. More does not mean more space, but rather it means people are expecting more amenities, such as energy efficiency, and ecologically friendliness. As the years go by, people are willing to pay a premium for their house if it houses all of the necessary energy efficient technologies.

After the stock market crash in 2008, home buying has decreased significantly. People stopped buying and started renovating. However, over the past year, homeowners are becoming a little less cautious and are starting to invest in the housing market again, but at what cost? People have started a trend to buy smaller, cheaper houses that are more energy efficient. Average housing sizes have decreased, but the amenities have increased. People are expecting new homes with great insulation, energy efficient appliances, and new windows. While everyone's next though would be solar panels, the technology is still too expensive for consumers to demand and the companies to supply. Basically, builders are supplying the needs of their homebuyers by giving amenities without a significant price increase. How will this affect the expectations of homeowners?

In my opinion, smaller, efficient housing is most likely the best thing for our planet. Older homes are hurting the environment more than they are helping and homeowners are starting to realize this. The housing market is rebounding quickly. Who knows what's next? The main concern with the new housing market is the higher expectations for a cheaper price. Builders are losing their profit margins with more cautious buyers. Hopefully, the building industry will continue their environmentally friendly trend into the future, but at what cost?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Will you be my Valentine?

This article discusses the increase in flower sales on Valentine's Day, which is obvious. The article goes on to discuss the convenience that has developed with online sales. While economic stability is fairly poor at this time, it is comforting that each holiday brings with it some kind of profit for retailers. For example, the Superbowl brings beer and snack food sales, Halloween brings candy sales, and Christmas is obvious. While American's do not have a favorable economy right now, they haven't quite learned not to indulge when the moments strike. People may be tight on money, but a holiday is a holiday. Besides people spending money themselves on holidays, countless organizations work to help people during holidays to still have more than needs. Whether you're buying goods for yourself or getting it from someone, the economy still experiences a slight boom. Retailers should use these holidays as an advantage to fuel their stability.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Popularity of the iPhone

Sprint hasn’t been doing so well. However, things are going to change, since Sprint has recently added the iPhone to the list of products they are going to sell. Demand for Sprint products hasn’t been very high, as they constantly report having had losses in profit. There’s a positive and negative to getting the iPhone. The negative is that getting the iPhone has its own costs. Each iPhone will cost roughly $200 more than other smart phones. Profits aren’t really expected to show up until 2014. The positive is that profit is expected. The constant reports of net losses will cease. Sprint will change their demand line by adding a very popular product to sell. By popularity. Adding the iPhone will initially have a decrease in profits, but in the long run, it will greatly benefit the company.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

App Economy

This article discusses the nearly 500,000 jobs created in the US alone from app development. But how profitable and stable are these jobs? An app has to make into the top 100 list in the online store before they start making any real money. That's a pretty slim chance when you look at the thousands and thousands of new apps every day, most of which nobody buys. Besides, how many different apps do you even use on a daily basis? Only a handful most likely. There is nowhere near 500,000 people needed to make the apps people actually use, most of those 500,000 people just put out shovelware crap, hoping to get lucky. It's like saying that playing the lottery is your job. In 5 years, I bet 90% of these jobs won't even exist any more. Apps will still be around then, but they won't be the fad they are today. They will just be another tool that people take for granted.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are Super Bowl Commercials Worth the Money?

Every year during the Super Bowl, I would watch the commercials to see which one's were my favorites. This year just happened to be the Oikos yogurt commercial featuring John Stamos. In this article, they ranked the top 5 and the worst 5 commercial on this year's Super Bowl. This year, it cost about $3.5 million for 30 seconds of commercial time. This seems like a large amount of money for thirty seconds of air time, but to the companies, the money is worth it, if their commercial is memorable and makes people want to go and buy their product. This year though, there wasn't any truely memorable commercial like the classic Coke commercial with Mean Joe Green, so why did these companies spend so much money on a commercial that will flop? In this graph, it shows how much these commercials cost since 1967. The prices for the commercials are getting more expensive meaning that the companies need original ideas that will last a life time. To start this they need to figure out what product they are going to try to sell, who their targeted audience is, and how they are going to get the attention of this audience during the Super Bowl. This year's GoDaddy's commercials were focusing on exploiting sex to get the attention of males, which is a good idea, but not everyone who watches the Super Bowl will want to buy that product based on the commercial. Some companies go for the humor aspect like in the Doritoes commercials. Humor is more likely to affect a wider audience and they're product will most likely sell better than the GoDaddy's will. The decisions these companies make are based on what they feel is the best choice to get their product to sell and how to get the money back for buying the air time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Alzheimer's Patients Face New Diagnosis

This Article explains the dichotomy of thought in the medical field over the classification of Alzheimer patients. New studies and medical studies have tried to change the majority of Alzheimer’s patients to be labeled as Mild Cognitive Impairment patients (MCI). While this seems to be a medical breakthrough, it really is just confusing the industry. The medical professionals behind this study are trying to further separate two diseases that are almost exactly alike. In my opinion, there really is no difference between mild Alzheimer’s and MCI, but some professionals say otherwise. "We are really now working on trying to identify exactly where people will fit in the continuum of Alzheimer's disease," Thies said. Thies is a medical professional advocating the split of disease between the two entities. He says that many patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease are misdiagnosed. However, a study shows that 99.8 percent of Alzheimer's patients that were labeled as mild carriers of this disease would be changed to MCI patients. They would no longer be classified as Alzheimer's patients. While this seems to be very easily changed, it isn't.

If this classification process was instituted, the cost in millions of jobs, millions of donation dollars, and medical dichotomy would fully change the economy. Alzheimer's currently affects almost 3 million people in the United States. A significant change in insurance policies and medical care for that many people would have drastic effects on the economy. People would buy into the fallacy that MCI and Alzheimer's are actually two separate diseases, whereas in reality, they are actually just different stages of memory loss. In my opinion, until more research is done, no change to Alzheimer's patients should be publicized because the American public is known for buying into lies and without realizing it, changing the way they live to substantiate these lies.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Necessary Changes?

This article is about Walmart, one of the nation's biggest multi-purpose retailers, changing the duties of it's greeters. Some people may shrug at the thought of the greeters having to move into the store and help customers. It is more than just their move into the store, it is their abilities. Most of the greeters are retired, aged people trying to bring in a little extra money or help pay something an expense. Perhaps they are retired from their former occupation that they could no longer do because of age, and now Walmart wants them to do strenuous tasks instead of happily greet customers? While in the article, Walmart says that they asking for physical effort from these elders, but only to help customers find items. Is taking this relaxing job away from our nation's senior citizen's worth the customer service? If they cannot do their new job properly, the nation risks many elders to lack income and possibly not have enough to get by with medical bills and other necessities.
Whether or not what Walmart is doing is right, there is still question on why so many retired-aged people are in the work force? If people of these ages are still having to work now to pay mortgages and put grandchildren through school, what will happen when the "Baby Boomers" get to the age of retirement? The time is quickly approaching, is it a Social Security issue that older people are still working? This article brings up more than only the controversy of Walmart's changes, but also older people taking up jobs and what may cause them to do so. There are many possible reasons for this, all of which come from the economy. Lack of means in Social Security which causes older people to find jobs, but also takes job opportunities away from working aged people.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Decrease in BMW demand caused by a head-scarf

Auto writer Merve Sena Kilic from Turkey unknowingly started an uproar in the head-scarf debate in her country. For an episode of a TV show, she was driving a Mini, wearing a cream and brown head-scarf. Later, a picture of her in the car appeared in a magazine, causing a stir. Soon after, a call was received from Mini and BMW, saying that the picture in the head-scarf was causing an image problem for the company. Much public debate ensued.
We can look at the economic impact of BMW through this incident. A sponsorship deal for the driver was said to end four months sooner days after the incident. Also, people got angry and said they would never buy a BMW or sell their Minis.
The popularity of BMW went down, due to this incident. Popularity is a big indicator of demand, and it is interesting to see that popularity could suddenly swing to much lower than it previously was due to one event that isn’t related to the product whatsoever. Sometimes the most unexpected things can hugely affect the demand of a product.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

1 Crisis Away From Poverty

According to this article, while here is a relatively small number of Americans who live under the poverty line, about %15. However, nearly half the country is just one bad crisis away. If someone has a medical issue, lose their job, etc, they would be under the poverty line. Many peoples' lives could be turned upside down very quickly. They would quickly go into debt, lose their home, and barely be able to scrape by. Many would resort to payday advance loans, which can be very bad. They have extremely high interest rates, and the people who get them often cannot afford to pay them back. People end up in a cycle of debt they cannot escape. A potential cause of this is a lack of financial education in US schools. Many people don't know how to spend responsibly, and live above their means.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jobs During the Recession

The demand for jobs have been increasing because of the number of jobs lost during the recession. In this article, it shows 5 American cities that have been devastated by recession. These five cities have had barely any job recoveries if any. In cities like Flint, Minnesota, where their economy is primarily based on the automobile industry, the products are scarce, but the demand for the products are scarce. Not many people are looking to buy new cars right now because of the recession, which is hurting Flint, Minnesota because of this the number of jobs recovered are little and the poverty rate has increased. The increasing of the poverty rate put them at one of the worst rates in poverty in America. In Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, most of the jobs lost were government jobs in education because of the budget cuts. If we can't even recover the government jobs, how are we going to recover jobs in private businesses when they aren't given money by the government? People aren't buying as many products as they used to, so small businesses have had to close down and the people who worked there lost their jobs. The demand for jobs is high, but the amount of jobs are low, so we need to create more jobs like bring the factories to America like we said in class. This increase of jobs will help the economy even though the cost of the products produced might increase a little bit. The more jobs created, the better chance the economy will get out of the recession.