Get Out and Vote
We live in a society where everything is moving faster and faster. We are accomplishing feats in technology never thought possible 20 or 30 years ago. For some people, that can’t be said about our political system. Some people believe that it takes too long for politicians to make decisions that could ultimately benefit society. Politics are changing every day the only issue is that these policies for changes might also bring negatives that can last for a long time.
When you think about politics and politicians these days you look for rapid changes in socioeconomic factors that are in effort to change our country, hopefully for the better. What we don’t realize is that when a change like this occurs, many immediate side effects aren’t the most beneficial. We all want our politicians to change the country as soon as they get in office. Whether they are Republican or Democrat. In order for them to do these things they need to weigh on how it’ll not just their supporters, not just the whole country, but the entire world. Politics work both ways as a trickle-down system to you and me but also a trickle-up system to global politics and relations with other nations.
A big part of the 2016 election was promises of change. Both parties banked on the opportunity to give rapid change to the country. Both parties were some of the greatest two extremes we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Whether you swing left or right, Hillary or Bernie, Trump or Cruz each person promised vastly different things.
The economy is a huge factor in making political decisions these days. When bills and laws are being passed the effect on the economy is one of the key factors politicians look at. Sometimes the economy is the reason things don’t get passed. The economy of the country is much like a business. If the country isn’t going to make money in a decision it won’t happen.
Since Trumps election and later inauguration, he promised to bring back American jobs and re-inspired the idea of Made in America for many people. His plan since entering office was to bring back companies that have gone offshore. Companies in the modern era are always trying to produce the same quality goods for a lower cost. One method our government does when trying to bring back jobs to America is to impose tariffs on imported goods. When tariffs are tacked onto imported goods like steel, for example, the price goes up. Since companies look for cheaper means of production they turn to domestic companies. This causes a boost in the domestic steel industry because there is more need for cheaper steel. The greater demand also increases a need for more workers in specific industries.
This then effects the domestic markets for steel since American steel producers and manufacturers can control the supply of steel. Since more people are coming to these companies for the goods they produce, they can create scarcity and drive prices up to meet the growing demand.
Not only is the steel industry effected by the sudden tariffs but also other industries such as the production of metallurgical coal. In the article “Trump’s Steel Tariffs Could Hurt U.S. Coal Companies.” In the article it states that Trump’s 25 percent tariff on steel from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union would hurt demand for steel in the U.S. These countries also buy 40 percent of the U.S.’s metallurgical coal, which is the substance used in making steel. Since there’s a dip in the demand for foreign steel it would lead to a dip in the demand for metallurgical coal.
Another aspect these things carry with them are the effects on the global economy and the relations with other countries. In the same article it states that Mexico fired back with tariffs of their own as well as Justin Trudeau’s opinion of the tariffs being, “totally unacceptable.” He also went on to say that Canada buys more U.S. steel than any other country in the world. Statistics show that he isn’t wrong either. Canada is first on the list with Mexico being fourth.
One major side effect of all this is the idea of a trade war. As of right now we are in the midst of a trade war with China. In efforts to curb the massive amounts of Chinese goods imported into our country, the American government imposed strict tariffs on Chinese goods and has even threatened that they’d take them even higher. China can use this opportunity to oust America from the center of the global economy and slowly but surely replace us. China currently is starting to build a reputation of free trade in efforts to build a moral high ground as America continues to shoot itself in the foot. As these events unfold we can start to expect vast changes in the world economy as we continue to destroy our reputation with tough tariffs.
Another issue that was key in the 2016 election was the topic of immigration. Since as far back as we can remember immigration has been a huge forefront of the American political system. Both parties also had radical policies based on immigration. Hillary wanted a more open policy when it came to immigration whereas Trump wanted a more closed off border system, especially with his wall that he went on about consistently throughout his political campaign.
Another thing that the government can do in the business industry is to implement policies that change the social behavior of the business environment. The government could impose taxes on businesses that use harmful fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources while also giving tax benefits to businesses who use renewable energy. This is called a market catalyst. The intention of a market catalyst is to allow tax exemptions for particular sectors for investors to take interest. When entrepreneurs start up a business or take risks in investing, they put in a huge amount of their time and money in order to see their investments pay off in the end. When the government increases taxes on startups and increases the amount of certifications needed to invest into a business, entrepreneurs lose interest. A reduction in private investing shrinks the available funds needed to run a business and in turn may lead to people being laid off. The major downside to this is that imposing taxes or more duties on a sector that are more than necessary will make investors not eager to buy.
One such market catalyst that is talked about in the article, “The Market Catalyst Nobody Is Talking About,” talks about how in September, the Federal Reserve was scheduled to reduce the holdings on its balance sheet by $50 billion per month. Which is $20 billion more than from April to June of this year. Generally, when the Federal Reserve talks about its holdings it means the money it keeps aside so it can reinvest the principal from its maturing securities. The intention behind this reduction of holdings was because the economy has been relatively steady and growing The Fed took this opportunity so that it can lay off on some of its holdings in order to use that money to invest into the economy. When the Fed’s balance sheet is reduced and at the same time the central bank is raising interest rates adds an unnecessary element of complexity to the monetary tightening process, as stated in the “Business Insider” article, “There’s one big problem with the Fed’s plan to unwind its gigantic balance sheet.” It goes on to mention that officials themselves acknowledge that they are less sure about the impact of a reduction in asset holdings on financial conditions than they are with the more familiar tool of an interest rate increase.
To add to my previous point, government spending is necessary for the U.S. economy to run properly. How government spending works is that the government gets money from taxation to spend how it chooses on putting it back into the economy or reinvesting it in order to make profit. Without it the country couldn’t function. There is no disagreement there. Any increase in taxes will strongly discourage them from doing so. When government spending increases, the limited pool of government savings is dipped into. This leads the government not to have less money to reinvest and to make a return on their investments.
One change a lot of voters, especially younger voters, look for when voting for politicians is an increase in the minimum wage. Along with the minimum wage the government is also responsible for permit regulations and trade regulations. For example, periodic health inspections must be carried out in all restaurants. Businesses might spend a lot of money and time to comply with regulations that ultimately prove to be ineffective and unnecessary. The classic job application question is something that comes to my mind when thinking about this, it goes, “How would you respond to a policy at your place of employment if you thought it was ultimately unnecessary?” Sometimes things like this do happen. Businesses have to make decisions to follow these policies or try to get away with bending the rules and run the risk of getting caught and having to pay a boatload of fines or end up losing the business altogether.
Workers, especially younger ones that just entered the workforce such as myself, constantly ask for higher wages. When voting for local and federal politicians they look to see their stance on minimum wage. They hope that the politicians will increase the minimum wage to something that is more sustainable for the long run. Ultimately, businesses cannot afford to pay every worker a minimum wage of 15 dollars or so an hour. When talks about raising minimum wage arise, businesses tend to look to automation for to replace human labor. Machines are also far cheaper than human labor and managers and CEOs do not have to worry about the machines getting sick or underperforming.
Workers do deserve equal payment and treatment from their higherups. My dad is retired now but as a business agent he was responsible for putting people to work and making sure that the people that worked under him were fairly represented by their contractor. He was the voice for his guys and they looked to him so that any concerns they had could be brought to the higher ups. Strict regulations on their work sometimes made it hard for him to have to tell his guys. Sometimes he’d organize strikes out front of businesses that weren’t promoting fair labor practices. Fair and effective regulations, however, promote business growth.
In some cases, rapid immigration policies are needed in order to provide rapid economic growth. Back in 2015 the German government did something that was unprecedented and was unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. The German economy was one of the strongest in the world at that time and it was growing rapidly. Eventually it reached what economists call equilibrium. Equilibrium is a point in which the national economy cannot expand anymore unless one of two things happened: more people got pregnant, or people entered the country. In the article, “Immigration boosts Germany’s economy,” details that as of 2016 Germany’s revenues were higher than expenditures for the third straight year. Since the German birthrate was also slowing down there was no other way for the country to increase their already booming economy unless they brought in people through immigration. Back in 2015 many things were happening in the Middle East and people could not stay where they lived any longer and needed to migrate somewhere else. Germany decided to take advantage of the opportunity and bring in these refugees in order to provide the workforce with more people. Since more people entered the workforce, Germany would see a boost in their economy. A crucial chunk of Germany’s population comes from a migrant background today and the number of foreign specialists in Germany’s key industries really add to the point that immigration is benefit for society.
One major issue to all of this is explained in the article by Jan C. Ting in his article, “Downsides of High Immigration,” “How will we provide good jobs, good educational opportunities, good health care, and good housing for 129 million additional residents given our current track record? How many more vehicles will be added to our highways? How many more millions of barrels of oil will we have to import from the Middle East, or extract from deep-water wells drilled into the ocean floor? How many more millions of tons of coal will have to be burned, or nuclear power plants built, to generate electricity for another 129 million people?”. What Jan C. Ting is trying to get at is the fact that many other factors are in play when we bring people into the country. We want to help people in their time of need, but we seem to forget the direct costs and downsides to these solutions. A house, a car, food to eat, clothes to wear, and proper education is crucial for everyday living in modern day America. In cities some of us can get away with using public transport but in places like the suburbs of Glassboro, having a car is crucial for survival. Also, these people need to have some sort of ESL (English as a Second Language) class in order to be able to communicate with people in their lives and careers. In some cases, they may need to go through extra schooling if the career they want is one in a specialized field. If these things aren’t met immediately then people who spent their lives trying to escape hardship and poverty might enter their new lives only to be in poverty again.
Generally, when politicians promote ideas of change and drastic overhaul in certain sectors of our lives all they really do are just promote hopeful thinking and end goals they’d like to achieve for the betterment of our people. The issue is that they generally want to provide these changes as quickly as possible in order to have us benefit much faster. But most politicians aren’t stupid. They realize that in most cases that if they were to do such changes as soon as they can without weighing all the options, both good and bad, that they can rush into things that are ultimately negative and often, provide immediate consequences to their actions.
We can now assume that when promises aren’t met immediately, instead of thinking of them as false campaign promises that in the end, they saw the counterintuitiveness of a quick policy change that could lead to more harm than good for the American people. The irony is that we will still get mad no matter what choice our politicians make because we, as a society, can never truly be happy. Come election time we will still be complaining about the false promises that our politicians could not make, and we will still be asking for them to fix our broken system. This is why the 2016 election was one of the most important ones in recent years. Both sides were fed up with how things were being handled in some way or form. Both candidates gave us their goals and whether Trump has made on all of his promises he’s given us or Hillary would’ve made on hers we’d still be arguing about our representation and inequalities that our politicians failed to give to us. The 2016 election is also one of the most important ones since it got more people than ever interested in politics. More people than ever saw the importance of voting and what it means for the future of our national and global politics. It also means that in 2020 there will be more people than ever that will really investigate how politics work and who can achieve the most for them in the government. Whether or not that means Trump will get a second term is up to us a little less than 2 years from now to decide.
Perhaps the true nature of counterintuitiveness when it comes to policies that come into effect is not due to the politicians but ultimately due to how much we know, or in this case don’t know, about what truly goes on when making decisions on important topics for our country. It also raises the point that in order to counteract this: we need to be informed about what we stand for first of all, second, we need to also see the cons to the things and how a rapid change in policy might be good for some people but for more people it is not, and lastly we need to vote with an understanding that the “false promises” of politicians not ending up coming to fruition is not due to them necessarily being a bad politician (though exceptions do occur) but perhaps it may end up shooting the American people in the foot.
We all need to get informed about what goes on in today’s world. We have the privilege to access unlimited resources for knowledge in the palms of our hands. Take a minute or two a day to read the news on your phone. Follow some politicians and news outlets on social media. A good way to cater the news to a Millennial/Gen Z audience is make it so they can customize how they see it. Most older generations harp on the issue that we don’t know enough about the world today to make important decisions. If politicians and news outlets make their news able to be customized to how it is presented they can expect to see more interest from younger generations as that information becomes easier to access. We have the ability to erase the counterintuitiveness that is ever present in politics. It is not as hard as some people think to make a change in this world, whether you’re young or old.
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