Monthly Archives: October 2012

Local election essential to determining economy’s future

Often ignored in the tumult of a presidential election are the numerous elections that will determine the composition of our legislative body. These elections are as important as the presidential race — if not more important — and should not be taken lightly. According to the polling average, 76.8 percent of Americans disapprove and only 15.4 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.

This election is a chance to change that. The past two years have been colored by intense congressional gridlock. The debt ceiling debacle in August kicked the can down the road to the deficit reduction supercommittee, which failed to achieve a compromise that would balance the budget, since Democrats refuse to cede spending cuts without increasing taxes and Republicans refuse to increase taxes. This, among other things, has imposed upon us a dangerous set of circumstances called the fiscal cliff. Continue reading


No lack of parties for voters to choose from in November

Pennsylvania are four presidential candidates representing four different parties. They are Democratic Party nominee President Barack Obama, Republican Party nominee Mitt Romney, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.

But there are even more political parties out there than you or I have ever heard of, one being the Socialist Equality Party that has been putting up flyers around campus. There’s also the Constitution Party, the Justice Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, and the Reform Party, started in 1995 by Ross Perot, who gained 20 percent of vote in the 1992 presidential election as an Independent candidate.

Yet despite all this, people complain daily about the injustices of the two party system, and how they’d vote for Johnson if he just had a chance of winning.
If we have a two-party system, then it’s entirely self-inflicted. Political parties aren’t even mentioned in the Constitution, and there’s absolutely nothing systemic about two-party dominance. Continue reading


Economy must be top issue for young voters

The overwhelming sentiment among my peers when I talk about this election is as follows: “Well, I’m disappointed in Obama, but I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for a Republican.”

When asked why, they will almost always reply, “Well I just can’t vote for someone who’s against gay marriage and pro-life.”

Are we really that naive? I’m a strong libertarian. I think the government shouldn’t be able to tell you what to do with your money, and I also think the government shouldn’t be able to tell you what to do with your body or who you can marry. Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. But the view of most young voters is currently the status quo, and it takes absolutely no leadership, conviction, audacity, or skill for a politician to take a stance for or against either of those two issues. They’re not changing and everyone knows it.

Continue reading


Quantitative easing will make recovery difficult

The Federal Reserve recently announced its third round of quantitative easing, otherwise known as QE3. Quantitative easing is defined by The Washington Post as “an unconventional monetary tool used by central banks to stimulate the economy … [the Federal Reserve] can buy up assets like long-term Treasuries or mortgage-backed securities from commercial banks and other institutions.”

QE3 amounts to printing finite and predetermined amounts of money. The first round was worth $1.4 trillion and the second round worth $600 billion. What makes the third round so scary is that the whole “predetermined quantity” aspect now goes out the window. With QE3, the Federal Reserve has committed to buying $40 billion in mortgage backed securities per month for an indefinite amount of time, causing it to be dubbed “QEternity” by publications such as Barron’s.

Printing money in methods like QE3 is often the last refuge of failed republics. This choice indicates that we are certainly not in a good economic spot, and things will probably worsen. The most surprising thing about QE3, however, is that several officials within the Federal Reserve don’t think it is going to make anything better at all.

According to Reuters, chairman of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Mark Plosser has said he “believes that increasing monetary policy accommodation is neither appropriate nor likely to be effective in the current environment.” Similarly, when the massive QE1 and QE2 programs as well as the Operation Twist (which was basically cover for more asset buying) have managed to fail this whole time, it’s likely that QE3 will not be the magical exception.

Short-term inflation can often create the illusion of demand. Bolstering one failing sector in the short term will, at the very least, prevent things from getting worse between now and November.

Maybe Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, like most Americans, just wants to keep his job. Continue reading