Category: National

Digital infrastructure at high risk

The unprecedented development of the internet during the 21st century has resulted in unique security problems for the government. Our digital infrastructure is at risk because the current policies designed to defend against cyber attacks are inadequate for a threat that is constantly advancing. Further, the lack of public knowledge on cyber security issues has also desensitized our awareness to criminal activity, reducing the effectiveness of our preventative measures and jeopardizing our economic and national security interests. President Obama’s recent directive to review the nation’s cyber security policy resulted in a strategy intended to address cyber attacks at large: improving resilience to cyber incidents and reducing the cyber threat. While the effort is marginally better, the strategy is insufficient. The problem is that our lack of preventative measures means that current cyber security policies rely upon cyber attacks to occur, first, before a defense can be mounted. This is because Continue reading

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Ready or Not?

Elections are over and now there is no question that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will go into implementation. H.R. 3590 was nothing if not controversial. Introduced on September 17th 2009, signed by President Obama on March 23rd 2010 without bipartisan support, and upheld by a surprising 5:4 majority in the United States Supreme Court two years later on June 28th 2012, the Affordable Care Act has come a long way. Schoolhouse Rock never let on that it took Bill that long to become a law, and while some would have preferred it, not everyone was cheering when Nancy Pelosi came running down the capitol steps spreading the word that Bill passed.

While most Americans would agree that some type of healthcare reform is necessary, it is a drastically different story when it comes to how to reform healthcare, thus strong arguments were expressed for and against PPACA. Yet, polls are still showing the public to be very much torn on the issue of healthcare reform. Consider a Gallup poll taken following the SCOTUS ruling. The poll attempted to gauge the public’s perception of how Continue reading

Reflecting on the GOP

With only a few days remaining until the election is decided on Tuesday next week, I reflect on a long campaign trail that has been among the most divisive elections to date. If President Obama wins, he could face the prospect of a much tougher second term as Republicans struggle to accept yet another loss from the Democratic incumbent. But should this be the case, Republicans have a great deal of internal restructuring to do before the 2016 election comes around. As witnessed throughout these past four years, the GOP has been anything except consistent in their party ranks. From the emergence of the Neocons  at the start of George W. Bush’s first term in office, to the moderates, the extreme right fundamentalists, the libertarians, and recently, the Tea Party activists, Republicans have yet to agree on a common party identity that they can all rally behind. This is problematic because while it might be clear to them that President Obama’s policies are not the way to go, it’s not entirely clear to everyone else what the Republican vision of the next four years in the US ought to be.

We also shouldn’t forget to mention what an utter disaster the Republican primaries turned out to be. Barring aside Continue reading

The first presidential debate hurdle

All eyes were on the Denver University arena last Wednesday for the first presidential debate between President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Pre-debate polling had consistently been showing Obama with a slight advantage. The day of the debate, Rasmussen polling showed Obama two percentage points ahead of Romney with 49 percent compared to 47 percent of likely voter support. How much of a difference the first debate will ultimately have on the election is up for deliberation, however, the Rasmussen poll shows that Romney and Obama’s positions have now flipped with Romney leading 49 percent to 47 percent. Sunday’s poll is the first to Continue reading

Understanding the middle class vote

With November 2nd just around the corner, President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are doubling down on campaign efforts to gather support from a broad base of Americans. While the two parties typically cater to different demographics, this year both held conventions focused on reaching the ever growing number of self-identified independents, more specifically, the 35 percent within the middle class.

Vying for the votes of the same crowd, both parties attempted to surge ahead of the other coming out of their conventions by clearly distinguishing their roadmap for the nation from the other party. Republicans stressed that Continue reading

Brian from Ohio: A tale of sound and fury, signifying nothing

For all the talk by political pundits about how this election will be decided on important issues like the economy or health care, you’d be hard pressed to find evidence that candidates actually have anything substantive to say on those issues if you looked solely at the ads they pay for. Examples are the easiest (and most entertaining) way to illustrate this, so take a look at a 30-second ad paid for by the Obama for America campaign, available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgjTYFE2aYc&feature=share&list=PL7D1934B46A0575CE.

Here is what the advertisement tells the viewers: Brian from Ohio was an autoworker who got laid off and was worried about how he would support his son and wife. President Obama restructured the auto industry, thereby providing Brian with a job that he is extremely grateful to have. The story is simple and given to viewers with Continue reading

The Impact of Deficit Financing

More and more people have become familiar with the impact that Federal Reserve policy has on the economy. It’s easy to latch on to popular criticisms which deliberately leave out finer details for the purpose of saving time. We’ll now look into some of these finer details to more clearly understand the process by which the Federal Reserve finances the federal deficit, and then we’ll examine the consequences that deficit financing has on the economy.

The U.S. federal government ran a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit in 2011, and we should expect a similar number for 2012. In order for the government to borrow 1.3 trillion dollars, the U.S. Treasury must issue 1.3 trillion dollars of debt by selling notes, bills, bonds, and securities. The federal government then takes the money made from those treasury items and Continue reading

Voter ID laws disenfranchise Americans

Republican legislatures throughout the country have been pushing for Voter ID laws to stop what is, according to them, an epidemic of voter fraud.  Studies conducted on the subject of voter fraud reveal that this, however, is not the case. A new study published by News21 found that voter fraud rarely occurs in the US, with only 10 documented cases of in-person fraud recorded in the US since 2000, which, split between the 146 million registered voters, equates to about one case per 15 million people. Voter fraud occurs more commonly with absentee ballots or voter registration, neither of which would at all be impacted by the enacting of Republican sponsored legislation. The reason in-person voter fraud is so rare is because of the large risk and small reward associated with it. For example, the punishment for fraud in Connecticut for those ineligible, or those voting twice, is Continue reading

US Olympic athlete’s display of two flags sparks debate on patriotism

The Olympics is a time when national pride runs high as people from all around the world watch and cheer for their country in this spectacular sporting event. In these moments, athletes often show off their national flags as a sign of pride for the country they are representing. Leo Manzano, an athlete representing the US, decided to hold up two flags when winning the silver medal: one of the US, where he grew up, and the other of Mexico, where he was born and is currently a citizen, despite leaving at an early age. This display of dual patriotism drew controversy among the public with people criticizing Manzano’s dual display, while others viewed it understandably given his dual identity as a Mexican American and his roots in both countries. The athlete later went on to say to the media that he was Continue reading

Shooting down gun control

Sur Samtani joins us as a Politikon writer from UCLA. As an Economics major, Sur’s expertise is reflected by his technical and methodical approach to public policy issues. As a close friend and colleague in previous endeavors, we are grateful for his contributions. His bio will shortly follow. 

In light of the recent Colorado theater shooting, many anti-gun activists suggest that we should take a deeper look into gun policy in the U.S. They worry that purchasing automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles with powerful armor-piercing bullets has become too easy. Rather than asking the question, “Should we have stricter gun control in the U.S?” we should ask, “What would happen to the U.S. if we created laws that restricted the purchase of assault rifles?” The biggest problem with gun control is that its advocates assume that killers won’t find alternate ways of killing, and equally concerning is the fact that advocates also don’t anticipate killers finding another way to obtain guns.

Those people who wish to take a moderate stance on the issue often say that they just want to make it harder for criminals to obtain the most powerful weapons available. Such reasoning implies that Continue reading