I was reading a Foreign Policy blog post this morning when I came upon a startling fact: international issues are a priority for less than two out of ten Americans. More than eight out of ten, on the other hand, cited domestic policy as their number one voting issue.
The findings, from a Washington Post-ABC News poll, got me thinking: do Americans care about the world anymore? Have domestic hot button issues — underemployment, slow or negative job growth, immigration, gay rights, contraception and reproduction, Occupy YouNameIt — taken over the political main stage and left the burning issues of the international landscape — fraudulent Russian elections, the Syrian crackdown, European disintegration, the transition of the Libyan government, clashes in Somalia, the DRC, and Sudan, to name a few — high and dry? And maybe, dare I say it, could that be a good thing for the United States?
Almost two months ago I posted an entry decrying the shift in American politics from a focus on unemployment to one on the debt and inflation. Aside from a parenthetical reference to the troubles in Europe I focused upon the unfortunate changes in the United States. Now with the possibility of a break-up of the Euro seeming ever more likely by the day lets look at the role of ideological inflation hawks in creating the present situation. In April and July the European Central Bank (ECB) raised its benchmark interest rate 25 basis points (0.25%) due to its fears of increased inflation above its Euro zone target level of 2% (never mind the fact that others were arguing that the apparent rise in prices was simply a temporary commodity blip). At the same time new governments in Europe (and in the United Kingdom) pushed for what they called “expansionary austerity.” Continue reading
Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) ran a successful campaign with the motto “Let’s Get to Work” in a state whose unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Throughout the campaign, he promised he would create 700,000 jobs in addition to state economists’ forecasts for a natural growth of 1 million jobs. As it turns out, he was just kidding. This indifference towards people in need isn’t surprising, coming as it is from the man who made his millions in the fraudulent for-profit hospital business. Continue reading
$55 billion dollars, according to a new report released by consulting group Geopolicity. The report reveals that Egypt, Syria, and Libya were hit the hardest financially by the protests in North Africa and the Middle East. So what do these astronomical prices mean for the region now? Continue reading
Over the past two and a half years inflation and debt hawk economists and economic theories have dominated the national (and recently international) public and pundit debate on the economy. Shortly after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill) conservative economists pointed to rising interest rates as a sign of future inflation and government crowding out. Along with the rise of the Tea Party and the resurgent electoral prowess of the Republican Party this assertion has been at the core of the national debate over the need to reduce deficits and our long-term debt. Continue reading
It is a long accepted fact in the United States that drug companies are the most profitable business in the country – bringing in well over 640 billion dollars each year. It is also accepted, though not as widely spoken about, that the cost of researching and developing life-saving medications is very high. Oftentimes conversations about drug company earnings go without proper acknowledgement of this fact. And yet recently, new studies and the release of increasingly advanced medications has once again raised concerns that the price of drugs – especially those developed to ease the symptoms of prolonged diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and HIV – may be so high that Americans coping with the diseases will be denied access to the medications. Continue reading
In December 2001, Argentina’s economy collapsed and the streets of Buenos Aires erupted in riots. The government abandoned an experiment called “convertibility” (in which the value of the Argentine peso was made equivalent to that of the U.S. dollar), froze millions of bank accounts, and fell back on foreign debt. Tens of thousands flocked to European embassies to flee the country, groceries became bereft of food, and the government went through five presidents in only ten days. Today, this kind of chaos may ensue in another country: Greece. Continue reading