Thursday, September 21, 2017

DACA

DACA
Parker Heidorf
One of the most controversial decisions from the Trump administration in recent weeks has been rescinding (or trying to rescind, maybe?) the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, program. DACA provides 884,661 undocumented teens and young adults with protection from deportation and economic opportunities. DACA does not offer citizenship, but does give permission for recipients of the program to apply for work permits, bank accounts, credit cards, etc. This would a major mistake, not just because of the continuing anti-immigrant policies of the administration, but also the impact on the economy.
DACA recipients, also called “Dreamers”, have made a significant economic impact since President Obama signed DACA into effect in 2012. According to Newsweek, after being accepted into the program, Dreamers see an average hourly wage increase to $17.46 from $10.26 when undocumented. 72% were in higher education and nearly 80% acquired a driver’s license. According to a study done by the Immigration Policy Center just a year after the program was put in place, 61% of applicants got their first job. 54% opened their first bank account. 38% got their first credit card. And the numbers have only climbed since 2013, with the number of Dreamers rising every year by the hundreds of thousands. The overwhelming majority of Dreamers are productive members of society that we should be building upon, not demolishing and deporting. Image result for daca
If DACA were to be discontinued 6 months from now, all Dreamers could be immediately deported. That would be no small cost, according to Newsweek losing DACA would lose the U.S. a total of $460 billion in GDP over the next decade. Not to mention the 700,000 jobs at risk over that time period as well. For a ‘jobs candidate’, you think it would be a top priority for the President to keep around a program that brings in anywhere from 150,000-400,000 potential workers annually (Year-by-year numbers). However, DACA has been used as a bargaining chip to get the minority Democrats to budge on other stalemates in Congress. It is a misuse of a blooming program that represents what the United States has been built on, immigrants looking for a new start and the hard working middle class consumer.

Works Cited

Berman, Russell. “Trump Reverses His Stand on DACA.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 14 Sept. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/daca-deal-or-no-deal-trump-democrats-dreamers/539784/. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.

“DACA Performance Data.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 8 June 2017.

Glum, Julia. “These 15 statistics will teach you what you need to know about DACA.” Newsweek, 5 Sept. 2017, www.newsweek.com/dreamers-daca-statistics-trump-deadline-657201. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.

Gonzales, Roberto G., and Veronica Terriquez. “How DACA is Impacting the Lives of those who are now DACAmented: Preliminary findings from the National UnDACAmented Research Project.” Immigration Policy Center, Aug. 2013.

Kopan, Tal. “DACA decision appears to shift to Congress.” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Sept. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/09/04/politics/daca-congress-trump-decision/index.html. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.

i-Phone X

By: Sophia Rahman

Earlier in the month of September, Apple unveiled its newest products including: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8+, the Apple Watch 3, and the hyped iPhone X. To most of the world’s surprise, Apple’s iPhone X will be selling at a hefty price of $999. While many people are hesitant to invest in the new phone, others are preparing to jump on board and buy it once it is released to the public.
According to Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans own a smartphone and that “smartphone adoption has more than doubled since the Center began surveying on this topic in 2011.” That means that Apple will, if not yet, have a shrinking demand if they are unable to tap into a new consumer base. Therefore, the obvious benefits to Apple launching the iPhone X at such a high price is that it enables them to charge a higher cost for future products. Although it may seem illogical to have such a high priced item, it is actually the perfect strategy based on their current business needs. With an already large consumer loyalty base, Apple has been able to create the new iPhone with various intriguing features including face recognition and an all around edge screen that has drawn in more consumers at a high price knowing that it will be at high demand.
             
In addition, Apple’s brand has been able to largely influence their product’s consumers. Traditionally, demand for a product increases as the price of the good decreases yet Apple’s iPhone X proves otherwise. Apple has been able to create a situation where this does not apply. Specifically, with the announcement of the iPhone X, demand has increased despite their high prices. This is a result of the instilled status factor that is associated with owning an Apple product. In the world, there are more than 7 million iPhones in use, with that said, Apple has already dominated a high percentage of smartphone usage (Fortune). Also, Apple is able to leverage their brand as a status symbol to increase demand among America’s youth. A recent study done by investment group, Piper Jaffray, 76% of teenagers in America own an iphone. Therefore, this new product is bound to continue propelling their brand as people strive to own an iPhone.
Furthermore, with the high numbers of iPhone users, Apple’s goal in releasing the iPhone X is to create a new consumer base for their highest end product. They are able to do this by using their clout to motivate fans of their brand to purchase their product. In introducing a high priced product line, they will be able to set up consumers for future products that will also be pricey (Forbes). In addition, because high prices are associated with scarcity consumers will rush to invest in the product.
Lastly, America’s economic freedom allows people to tap into their internal desire to differentiate themselves. Apple, unlike traditional investments, has created the perception that owning an Apple product is the equivalent to investing in one’s own worth. Owning an Apple product has become associated with high class status, therefore owning an iPhone is in a way symbolic of achieving the apex of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and being a self-actualized person. America, as a developed country, has allowed people to meet their basic needs enabling them to splurge on their wants including technology like the iPhone X. In this sense, Apple has positioned itself positively when people are considering other ways to invest their money. As said before, many Americans purchase iPhones. Therefore, it can be assumed that many Americans view iPhones as a better opportunity cost and now that the iPhone X has been launched, Americans will be lining up to purchase one, further proving that the iPhone is valued more than another option.
In conclusion, Apple has made a big splash with their announcement. From a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense to give the iPhone such a high price. On the contrary to what critics might say, it’s likely that Apple will succeed by exploiting our natural inclination to better ourselves and fulfill our desires.


Works Cited
Armstrong, Paul. “Apple Introduced iPhone X For One Reason And One Reason Alone.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Sept. 2017.

Reisinger, Don. “Here's How Many iPhones Are Currently Being Used Worldwide.” Apple iPhone Owners: Here's How Many iPhones Are In Use | Fortune.Com, Fortune, 6 Mar. 2017.

Smith, Aaron. “Record shares of Americans now own smartphones, have home broadband.” Pew Research Center, 12 Jan. 2017,

Startlr. “Startlr.” Startlr Tech Blog, 12 Apr. 2017.

Full Cost Pricing: A Key of Sustainability

Full Cost Pricing: A Key of Sustainability
Alison Zigler
As our population on Earth continues to grow, so does our demand for resources. However, these resources that humans continue to consume, such as oil, food and gas, all have severe effects on our environment. The search for solutions and trade-offs to our environmental problems has led to proposed social science principles of sustainability. One of these principles is full-cost pricing, which is a practice that includes the harmful environmental and health costs of producing and using goods in the market price. Many economists believe that our failure to include these harmful costs in the market price of goods and services is one of the major causes of environmental problems (Living in the Environment). Therefore, full-cost pricing should be instituted in the United States, the biggest consumer country, to give American consumers better information about their lifestyle choices. Will it be hard? Yes. But, it just might be a key to protecting our environment and paring down our ecological footprint.
Today, the market price that we pay for a product or service usually does not include the external cost, or the harmful, environmental, or social effect of producing and using an economic good. This results in many hidden costs. For example, the video, “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers”, describes how the internal cost, or the direct cost paid by the producer and the buyer, does not account for the full price of producing a hamburger. The video explains that an item as simple as a hamburger has many hidden costs, such as land, food and water for raising the cows, the methane emissions, the pollution from transporting the beef and other necessities, and the greenhouse gases caused by raising beef. The infographic to the right shows how much resources are required to make just one hamburger. However, Americans eat three times more meat than other people across the globe without even realizing the full price of their food. If they did and cut out just one burger per week, it could would remove as much greenhouse pollution as taking their car off the road for 350 miles. In addition to the environmental impact, people may not also realize the external costs of medical bills. Studies show that eating too much red meat can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes (The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers). If the full-cost price of hamburgers was included in the market price, people would be able to make more informed choices about what they are consuming. This also is true for many other consumer goods such as cars and electricity.
Full-cost pricing would reduce resource waste, pollution and environmental degradation. So why aren’t we using it? Well, first of all it’s very hard to estimate the total cost of products and if we could, market prices would increase, creating a lot of backlash and opposition from the public. In addition, many companies that provide these environmentally harmful products, such as the Koch brothers, can use their political and financial power to obtain government subsidies that help them avoid including the full cost of their products (Living in the Environment).
Despite the challenges and uproar that full-cost pricing would create, it needs to be established in the United States to reduce our environmental impact and inform consumers. Without it, we will remain trapped in detrimental hidden costs without even realizing it.
Works Cited
Miller, G. Tyler, and Scott Spoolman. Living in the Environment. Boston, MA, Cengage Learning, 2018.
Prevention, Rodale Inc., 2017, www.prevention.com/inspired-bites/2012/06/27/eat-meat-an-insightful-infographic/. Accessed 16 Sept. 2017.
theifilestv. YouTube, YouTube, 1 Aug. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut3URdEzlKQ. Accessed 16 Sept. 2017






Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Economic Effects of Harvey & Irma

The Economic Effects of Harvey & Irma

The hurricane season has already wrought havoc and harm across the United States. Hurricane Harvey killed about 70 people in the Southwest last week, leaving tens of thousands homeless and spreading toxic chemicals throughout Texas. After devastating the Caribbean, the monstrous Hurricane Irma is expected to bring suffering to residents of southern Florida. Americans across the country are feeling the impact of these natural disasters economically as gas prices skyrocket, agricultural land is destroyed, and unemployment claims spike.
Gasoline prices are soaring toward a two-year high with the Labor Day driving rush approaching after Hurricane Harvey desolated the Texas Gulf Coast. With about 15 oil refineries closed as of Wednesday due to extreme flooding, gasoline prices are continuing to rise with the national average now at $2.43 per gallon (Bomey). In the short-term, panicked Texans are keeping their tanks topped off, this sudden demand further decreasing the gasoline supply. There were multiple reports about long lines in front of 7-Elevens throughout Texas, as drivers waited two to four hours for every pump. One positive externality created from this natural disaster is a website called GasBuddy. The website recently activated an online gas availability tracker throughout Texas, encouraging drivers to report gas stations that are out. In the screenshot of GasBuddy, red indicates all of the gas stations that drivers reported as being out of gasoline. Green indicates gas stations that have gasoline in stock.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma threatens to destroy Florida farmlands which may affect U.S. food prices and farmer finances in the months and years ahead. Trailing only California in produce growth, Florida has a significant impact on American grocery stores. The state accounts for about 10% of America’s fresh fruits and vegetables (Bjerga). However, the scarcity created by the storm has pushed prices for oranges and other citrus products higher this week. If the storm continues toward central Florida as forecasted, it could easily rip oranges and grapefruits from their branches, demolishing years of hard work and dedication by thousands of farmers. From an agricultural standpoint, Hurricane Irma marks a huge negative externality, limiting resources across the U.S. in the long-term.
Both Hurricane Harvey and Irma have the power to slow economic growth by one percentage point as measured by GDP. In fact, initial unemployment claims climbed to 298,000 last week after Hurricane Harvey hit the Southwest—the highest reading since April 2015 (Soergel). With a decrease in production and an increase in unemployment, it will be difficult for those affected by the storms to find a place to work. However, outside of the storms, the U.S. labor market remains in solid shape allowing businesses the opportunity to hire more workers. Additionally, the federal program of DUA (Disaster Unemployment Assistance) will help to provide temporary financial assistance to individuals affected by either natural disaster. Altogether, DUA benefits are available to workers in 39 Texas counties, making these natural disasters slightly easier to recover from financially. As seen in the picture, Texas residents who lost their home due to Hurricane Harvey are offered a temporary shelter until they can get back up on their feet.
Up to this point, in the weeks following both Hurricane Harvey and Irma, economists continue to predict an increase in national gas prices, a decrease in production and shipment of agricultural goods, and an even higher unemployment rate as tens of thousands are left without work. As the saying “guns or butter” goes, the U.S. government must choose to invest in rebuilding the agricultural economy thus removing the havoc caused by the two storms.

Works Cited

Bjerga, Alan. "Hurricane Irma Threatens $1.2 Billion of Florida Crops." Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 06 Sept. 2017. Web.
Bomey, Nathan. "Hurricane Harvey Pushes Gas Prices near Two-year High." USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 30 Aug. 2017. Web.
"Disaster Unemployment Assistance: How Workers Can Access the Program After Hurricane Harvey." NELP. National Employment Law Project, 7 Sept. 2017. Web.
Koenig, David. "Tourism, Agriculture Businesses Brace for Irma's Impact." ABC News. ABC News Network, 8 Sept. 2017. Web.
Mosier, Jeff. "How Panicked Drivers Are Making North Texas Gas Shortages Worse." Dallas News. N.p., 01 Sept. 2017. Web.
Shepherd, Todd. "Analysts: Hurricane Harvey Could Slow Economic Growth by Full Percentage Point." Washington Examiner. Washington Examiner, 10 Sept. 2017. Web.
Soergel, Andrew. "Storms Cloud Economic Growth." U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, 08 Sept. 2017. Web.

Foxconn

Elly Fox

One of the most recent activites of Wisconsin has been the Foxconn Bill to bring in a new LCD flat screen factory in the Racine/ Kenosha area. This is a big change socially, politically, and economically for Wisconsin and has been talked about both positively and negatively; however, there are more negative comments towards the new facility. With the thousand acre land loss and the enormous investment Wisconsin has to make, this is a tragic event for the state. The Foxconn LCD flat screen factory coming to southeast Wisconsin has has more negative impacts on the state, and less positive changes. (For anyone unfamiliar with the Foxconn Bill and would like to learn more, here is a video)
Wisconsin was chosen for the factory placement for reasons of space and location, but most importantly, the money they were willing to give up. The first offer from Wisconsin was $3 billion in tax dollars which was a positive response for Foxconn. The first and most important choice that Wisconsin has needs to be put up between the marginal cost and marginal benefit; they need to contemplate if the $3 billion tax dollars and a total of $10 billion investment is worth the benefits. Most likely the officials conducted a cost/benefit analysis that entailed the multiple details of losing this valuable land to gain jobs and money. Unfortunately, it seems that people aren’t willing to consider the negative externalities and are searching for the positivity that could arise.
The most obvious positive outcome for this is that the scarcity of jobs has risen to a lofty level for the country and to this area of Racine/Kenosha. Rachel Martin, American journalist at NPR, speaks in a report on the Foxconn Bill: “The president spoke of at least 3,000 jobs but as many as 13,000 jobs” (Wisconsin Public Radio). Not taking a side, Martin -- like the rest of us -- was searching for the positivity and the numerous amount of jobs that this plant can create. With this many jobs, people from the Milwaukee and Chicago areas can gain employment and support their families. The question leads to: what kind of workers are Foxconn looking for? Described in “The Tech Skills Gap Will Test Foxconn’s New Wisconsin Factory” in Wired, “They are, instead, part of a new generation of advanced manufacturing jobs, requiring high levels of engineering skills—skills that are still sorely lacking in the American workforce”. Hopefully Wisconsin will be able to find people in this field, otherwise the numerous amount of jobs will go to waste.
Although this factory has a perfect location for the employment need, one of the reasons it has been chosen for Wisconsin ( instead of another Midwest State), is because the consumer surplus was gaping. More specifically between Wisconsin and Illinois, Chicago Tribune states, “Foxconn chose the state that has stable government, healthy finances and pro-growth policies for employers. Illinois has none of the above. This state is deep in debt and badly run”. Since Wisconsin was so willing to let go of $3 billion up front, the state was chosen immediately. Why might have Wisconsin done this? Was the state in that much need for money and jobs? One of the major trade-off’s that Wisconsin has to make is giving up the 20 million sq. ft. of land for the hope of success within the new factory. Personally this trade-off is a terrible act; however, the economists who are seeing the money over land are the people supporting this idea. The more socially optimal use of that state’s resources includes wasting the earth; however, if Wisconsin wants efficiency from the environmental perspective, they must think about the land going to die and habitats they will destroy. Of course with the land loss in mind, the opportunity cost is unlimited because that space could have been used for anything; in an environmentalist's perspective the opportunity cost should be leaving the nature how it is.
The Foxconn Bill was developed to put Wisconsin ahead on the charts and in the economy, but will the state survive this disaster? Perhaps the economy will thrive off this addition to the state; however, the negative impact on the people and environment will be too great to sustain. The LCD flat screen factory Foxconn intends to build in southeast Wisconsin will produce more negative impacts than positive changes on all pedestals.

  

Works Cited
Board, Editorial. "The next Foxconn and Illinois: Here's Why Wisconsin Will Be the State Growing More Taxpayers." Chicagotribune.com. 04 Aug. 2017. Web. 08 Sept. 2017.
"Electronics-Maker Foxconn Plans Wisconsin Factory." NPR. NPR, 27 July 2017. Web. 08 Sept. 2017.
Lapowsky, Issie. "The Tech Skills Gap Will Test Foxconn's New Wisconsin Factory." Wired. Conde Nast, 26 July 2017. Web. 08 Sept. 2017.
Reuters. "Incentives Galore." Foxconn: Apple Manufacturer's Wisconsin Incentives Revealed | Fortune.com. Fortune, 31 July 2017. Web. 08 Sept. 2017.

Todaystmj4. "Foxconn Bill Held before Public Hearing." YouTube. YouTube, 03 Aug. 2017. Web. 08 Sept. 2017.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

United States Bid for the 2026 World Cup

Jaeger Hoang
United States Bid for 2026 World Cup
Every four years, 32 nations put forth their best soccer players to compete in the World Cup. The FIFA World Cup is one of, if not the biggest sporting event in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people come from all across the world in order to attend the high class games and to have the once in a lifetime experience in the World Cup atmosphere. With the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups already decided for Russia and Qatar, the United States has proposed to team up with Canada and Mexico for a bid at hosting the 2026 event. If North America does in fact win the bid and end up hosting the World Cup, the country’s economies will be impacted greatly.
The positive externalities of hosting are plentiful. Although the costs of building the stadiums will be very high, the opportunities provided by them will bring in lots qualities that attribute to economic growth. Many jobs will be created through the construction, vendors, and maintenance of the stadiums. Along with job creation the revenue generated by stadiums will also be a huge plus to having to build stadiums. Ticket, memorabilia, and concessions sales will all contribute to that revenue and with the amount of fans attending the games, the stadiums will become profitable in a fairly short amount of time. These sources of income can also continue after the World Cup is over through lending the stadiums to local pro teams and hosting other entertainment events like concerts. According to FIFA host regulations, the countries hosting are required to build stadiums with capacities of 40-80 thousand people. With the capacities so high, more people are bound to attend games and spend money on the main sources of income. Taking the average ticket prices and multiplying it by the capacity of the stadium brings the total ticket sales for one single game to about 36 million. For the 2026 World Cup there will be 80 games and the total ticket sales peaks at a total of over 2 billion (Liu Economics). These numbers are just based on averages so the potential total income from ticket sales alone could be even higher. One of the biggest ways the World Cup can benefit the country’s economy is by stimulating and increasing the amount of customers seen by surrounding businesses. The event, like said before, brings in hundreds of thousands of people from across the world. Their presence in the country will only mean that there are more customers to serve. Hotels and restaurants are two types of businesses that will be affected the most by hosting. Everyone will be looking for a place to stay in the US and they will be looking for the best places to eat in the hosting cities. These businesses will in turn see dramatic increases in income, which will in turn also increase the profits they make. Even after all of the international visitors leave, people will still be going to the host cities to go to the entertainment events at the stadiums, so surrounding businesses will still experience higher rates of traffic than before the stadiums will be built.
Along with the positives, there will also be some major negative externalities for the hosts. In order to build the stadiums, local and national governing bodies will need money to pay all expenses off. This means that citizens of the areas around the stadiums will most likely find an increase in tax rates. Whether it be income tax, property tax, sales tax, or whatever other taxes that are most common in the area, they will all be increased in order to account for construction and maintenance. Disagreements over the taxing will become a problem, but it is necessary in order to make the World Cup a reality in North America. Also the high concentrations of international World Cup fans will make cities much more crowded and busy than before. Traffic will increase both on the roads and walkways resulting in increased times of travel. Citizens will again be affected as their daily routines will need to change in order to accommodate for the dramatic increase in traffic. Finally the cost to run the stadiums is very high. If the cities are to maintain and continue using the stadiums even after the World Cup has concluded, then tax rates and other expenses will remain higher than before. The government will need to cover the deficits caused by the construction and make sure that the stadiums are all paid off, another thing people will disagree on greatly.
Although there are some negative externalities caused by hosting the World Cup, the positives provided for the North American economy are far more in quantity and effectiveness. The increase in taxing and the high traffic that will be brought by the World Cup will be made up for by the jobs that will be created, the dramatic sales increase that will occur, the stimulation of surrounding businesses, and the overall attention that will now be brought to the nations. All in all, the World Cup will be a big positive to the economies of North America.
Works Cited
"Concepts: USA + Canada Joined Bid for 2026 World Cup." FOOTY FAIR. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2017.
Das, Andrew. "U.S., Canada and Mexico Announce Shared Bid for 2026 World Cup." The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Apr. 2017. Web. 01 May 2017.
Goff, Steven. "Analysis | United States, Canada and Mexico Joint Bid Will Be Favored to Land 2026 World Cup." The Washington Post. WP Company, 09 Apr. 2017. Web. 01 May 2017.
Rosenblatt, Ryan. "What Will the next American World Cup Look Like?" SBNation.com. SBNation.com, 15 July 2014. Web. 01 May 2017.
Sport, PA, Stephan Uersfeld, ESPN Staff, Associated Press, Doug McIntyre, and Tom Marshall. "U.S., Mexico and Canada Officially Launch Bid to Co-host 2026 World Cup." ESPNFC.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2017.
Wahl, Grant. "USA's Joint Bid for World Cup '26 Could Come in April." SI.com. Sports Illustrated, 25 Mar. 2017. Web. 01 May 2017.