Current Events: Economy, Austerity, and Elections
Hello, my magnificent Sparklers! Before we jump into the news of the day, a quick announcement: this column is officially a series! I know, I’m excited too. If you need a second to calm down, it’s ok. I’ll wait. So from now on, you can expect a piece on current events (hopefully) every. Single. Week. Let the celebration commence! But first:
-Both France and Greece had elections recently; France for the president, Greece for the Parliament. In France, right-wing incumbent Nicholas Sarkozy was defeated by socialist (aka tres left-wing) candidate Francois Holland. Similarly, a right-leaning parliament in Greece was replaced by a more left-leaning one. As far as impact on the United States, these elections have a lot to do with the economy.
Some background: Europe, like the U.S., is in a recession. In some countries, like Greece, Spain, Ireland and others, it’s worse than it is here. When a recession hits, there are two major ways for the government handle it: austerity measures or Keynesian spending. Austerity measures mean the government tightens its belt and slashes spending. It’s supposed to inspire confidence in businesses, and encourage them to lend and hire. Keynesian spending involves the government, as the name would suggest, spending large sums of money on social programs like welfare. Austerity measures are right-wing, Keynesian spending is left-wing. Generally.
To get back to the Europe—both Sarcozy and the right-wing Grecian parliament were employing austerity measures. Now it looks like they may be heading in the other direction. However, many economists agree that this will be a step towards economic success, and will positively impact the economy here at home. Yay!
-In other news (and twelve gold drachma to anyone who made it through the wilderness and that lengthy economics bit), Obama kicked off his reelection campaign with rallies in Ohio and Virginia. I’m not going to go through a rundown of Barack vs Mitt right now, because we’d all be here until Thursday, but you can expect more election stuff as we get closer to the big day. To bring up one social issue (of many) at stake in November, vice president Joe Biden said the other day that he was pro same-sex marriage, and Obama has, extremely hesitantly and in no certain terms, agreed. To be clear: Romney would be against same-sex marriage. And, heaven help me, if anyone uses this controversial, relevant, interesting social issue as an excuse to go on an anti-gay tirade, to use a choice phrase of Auntie's, WE WILL HAVE WORDS. And the Punishment Salmon will be EMPLOYED WITH VIOLENT FORCE.
Since we’re already talking economics, let me just add: Romney would favor tax cuts for the most wealthy people in the country and austerity spending, while Obama would raise taxes on the wealthy and put more money into social programs. Tell me in the comments: who are you behind? This is a big deal, folks. The election matters.
One final note: as this is only my second column for this series, I’m not really sure yet what you guys are most interested in. The economy? Politics? Social issues? Foreign affairs. Help me help you, guys, and let me know. Finally, I’m starting a new thing: I love, love, love debates, so brownie points (I’m trying to come with a better name—these are my version of Dan Points) to everyone who comments with somethin' good. Get arguing, folks—but remember, keep it respectful!
Image of Nicolas Sarcozy from SplashNews
We're really excited to finally have a Sparkler series about current events; hopefully these posts can help all of us stay more informed about politics and world news! How do you feel about everything that went down in the past week—the French elections, Joe Biden's public show of support for same-sex marriage, etc?