Sunday, February 8, 2009

Across the Atlantic and still opining...

Aberdeen is a great city.  The University system is a bit different and of course the size of the student body here is much larger than back at St. Olaf yet there is still a community feel here at Hillhead Halls and on campus.  Thought the academic culture is very different.  Students are expected to take even more initiative and read more outside to cultivate their individual interests. Or so I am told.  Honestly, it has been a little frustrating to work out a schedule that works.  All of my political science courses were scheduled on the same time on Friday and my advisor didn't know.  I have some time though to work it out and hopefully get on the right track. So all in all I have been going through a lot of transition, yet there are some great people here.  I enjoy pub crawls and attempting to understand the Scottish accent.  I also hope to do some more traveling and of course get some photos for all of my loyal followers and readers.  

Of course, The Pragmatic Idealist is of course a platform of opinion. So I will keep up with American politics.  Many of you may be saying to yourself...."Well of course Jason will follow American politics...." I just have to add that British politics is if not more enthralling.  Either way I do have some thoughts on the current stimulus plan.  Congressional Republicans and their leadership including the historic choice of Michael Steele as RNC Chairman are truly swimming against the tide.  Now I am not going to argue against tax cuts, for they can stimulate the economy.  Yet Obama's plan has tax cuts, yet the reason why the original plan was so expensive was that President Obama and Congressional Democrats understand the meaning of a federal stimulus package- that investment is made to foster employment and capitalization. The plan was going to foster employment through infrastructure (both in terms of transportation and access to utilities, also I am sure that I don't need to remind my readers or followers of the news that the investment in public education and alternative energy that Obama and Congressional Democrats are set to make in the coming year will also bolster our tenuous economy). Republicans who say that the package is too expensive are the same group that did not realize that the War in Iraq, the Bush Tax Cuts, an attempt to privatize Social Security, or a potentially less progressive tax policy were fiscally irresponsible.  So I am not too sure if the American people should follow their advice.  I am not saying that Democrats are more fiscally responsible.  All I am saying is that this is an investment we need to make as Americans.  The Republicans who have lofty dreams of balancing the budget or representing the interests of American taxpayers need to come back to reality and realize that a balanced budget is impossible in such a weak economy and that taxes no matter how low cannot be paid if the American people are not employed.  If the economy is to actually improve for today and tomorrow it requires- a new economy with alternative energy that hires the American people and make up the trade deficit and a public education system that serves all American children and creates the next generation of innovators.  The changes that Republicans have forced onto the stimulus does not make the investments necessary to create the aforementioned new economy.  President Obama has said that this is an opportunity.  Republicans are wasting this opportunity to forge the next economy and alter the failing state of American schools.  Liberals believe in this investment and it is what America needs.  I believe that Obama should forgo the bipartisan approach that has weakened the bill and that to which too few Republicans have joined him.  It is a time for progressive legislation. The stimulus should be larger and Republicans should stop obstructing the process.  This investment now though difficult may lead to a time in which fiscal responsibility is more than just a tag line. 

1 comment:

Danni Egan-Wright said...

Hey, Jason! I saw your blog posted on Facebook. Looks like Aberdeen is very pretty! Does it rain often? Rennes is ridiculous.

I haven't been doing very well keeping up with US politics, but I get some exposure from French media. I'm trying to follow French politics, it's quite a handful. No one likes Sarcozy. And the nation is on strike right now because of the economic crisis... there were actually students barricading the building where I have class this morning. Yet as an international student, I have the right to attend class. Quelle chance!